Native American Portraits (by 5 and 6-Year-Olds!)

19 kindergarteners were so proud today when they made these Native American Indian Portraits, based on a drawing in Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Faces.

Ed Emberley’s books are a wonderful way to approach drawing with young children.  He breaks down all of the things that kids like to make – faces, animals, fire trucks – into basic lines and shapes, making drawing fun and giving kids lots of confidence.

Lines & Shapes ArtLines & Shapes IndianI showed the kids these shapes and lines and asked them what they saw.  Thought I was being cute when I wondered out loud if anyone could see a Native American face.  When several of them said, “Yes!” it kind of messed up my big reveal :) – this guy I’d made on a Word document just using the shapes toolbar:

Anyway, the kids started with an 11×15 piece of watercolor paper, a black Sharpie and a rectangle cardboard template for the face, just to give them a starting point for size.  They followed a directed drawing lesson (step-by-step instructions with me drawing at the same time), and then colored in the hair with their Sharpies.  Next step, they had fun with washable colored markers.  (Any washable marker will do, but my own children insist that Crayola Pip-Squeaks work best).

I encouraged them to keep their marks big and loose, reminding them that the colors would smear in the next step.
Step 1 - black Sharpie drawingStep 2 - Color in Hair with SharpieStep 3 - Color with washable markersStep 4 - Add water with brush

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, with a brush and water, they turned their drawings into beautiful watercolor art.  Each child had a brush and folded paper towel.  Their work was dry enough at the end of our 45 minutes to mount on black paper (12×18 trimmed for a frame).

Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Faces Art LessonAn explanation of the lesson was attached to the back of the frame and the kids added their names in silver metallic Sharpies.

A great art-themed companion book to this lesson would be When a Line Bends…A Shape Begins.

I am so pleased with these results, as were the young artists.  Thank you, Ed Emberley!Native American Watercolor #6Native American Watercolor #5Native American Watercolor #2Native American #1Native American Watercolor #3Native American Watercolor #2Native American Watercolor #8Native American Watercolor #18Native American Watercolor #18Native American Watercolor #11Native American Watercolor #10Native American Watercolor #4Native American Watercolor #7Native American Watercolor #13Native American Watercolor #14Native American Watercolor #17

Native American Watercolor #16