Kiddo Self Portraits

I’m always in awe of how a child views the world and themselves. Life through a child’s eyes is magical, new, and inspiring. To get a better glimpse of how a child views the world ask him/her to draw a picture. Usually you see pictures of flowers and people holding hands. Somehow when we become an adult we loose that. I can’t remember the last time I held my friend’s hand, can you?

Hoping to capture a bit of such sweet sincerity, I asked the children at my daughter’s school to create a self portrait. Before I asked them to get started drawing, I showed a little slide show of some famous self portraits from artists. Here’s a highlight of the portraits I showed them…


Here’s a couple interesting portraits. Are they of the same person? Would you guess they are done by the same artist and how old do you think the artist(s) are/is? Which piece was made first?

This self portraits are actually by Pablo Picasso. The first was a drawing (with crayon), was created 1972. The more realistic painting was created in 1901. The kids were amazed that the same artist created these portraits. Isn’t it interesting to see how Picasso’s style changed from a very detailed, realistic painting, to more sparse yet accurate depiction? Comparing the two I can see they are indeed the same subject, just very created in two distinctly different styles.




This self portrait was made by Frida Kahlo. Frida story is one of bravery, overcoming adversity and strength. Born with polio and spina bifida, Frida often wore long skirts to cover her deformed legs. When she was studying medicine, she got in an auto accident. The tragedy left her with many broken bones and a mangled body. She came home in a full body cast and to pass the time she started painting. She once said since she was often alone, she paints what she knows, she paints herself.

We also talked about her Mexican heritage and some of the kids wanted to know about her mustache (of course! I love how honest the kids were). We talked about how she had lots of dark hair and how a self portrait should capture our likeness. We also talked about diversity and how each of us looks very different from each other.

Also, in the painting the background shows that Frida is outdoors. We talked about how we can choose where we are in our portrait and what we’d like in the background. That too gives the viewer clues about who we are.

Working with children and self portraits is also a great self esteem booster. Children identify with their image, their mood, as well as their likes and dislikes. Through the use of crayons and colored pencils the children were able to create their personal story. And the results were fabulous!



Since this was a class project, I made a canvas where all of these portraits could be presented as a collection.









I then laid out where each image would be on the canvas and painted a black grid so each image would pop against the black background.








After a series of mod podge coats and then coats of polyurethane, the collection of self portraits is complete.  The artwork was then put up for auction at the school’s silent auction.