This lesson was so successful the first time, that I decided to bring it back again this year as an introduction to drawing the human face. First students practiced and developed skills to identify and map out guidelines for correct facial proportions. Next they learned shading techniques to create values ranging from the darkest shadows to the brightest highlights. All of this was done with a regular #2 pencil!


Portraits were selected from magazines and cut so that students had to draw at least half of the face. The original picture was also limited to the torso or shoulders up (no full body images), and needed to fill the whole page. This allowed students to focus on drawing the face.


While many students searched through magazines to find an interesting or inspiring image, I provided photocopies of a few local Kauai surf heroes to choose from as well. Pictured above are Alana Blanchard and Leila Hurst, while the bottom images include Sebastian Zietz and Andy Irons. Other local surfing professionals included Dustin Barca, Bethany Hamilton, Malia Manuel and Evan Valiere.


Students really seemed to enjoy this lesson, and several students chose to draw more than one. I may bring this lesson back in the future with a different photo inspiration, like a “selfie”!


By Julia

9 thoughts on “Half Portrait”
  1. I really liked doing this project last year because it’s really cool how we used our eyes and carefully traced the other side of a magazine. I think half-portraits would make a great project again this year; the finished look is amazing. I also want to learn more about clay and painting.

  2. I really take inspiration from each of these drawings, and how it takes the realism aspect and drawing together. All of the drawing sides are really close to looking real!

    I hope to learn how to make clay structures this year, and I also want to get stronger on my creative side.
    Another cool thing we could learn is ‘Watercolor dripping’ basically letting water drip down a page; but you do it with a mix of colors and it starts to look pretty cool.


  3. I am really impressed by all of the texture and shading each drawing has. Also, I love the drawing of Andy Irons. To add to that, my mom went to high school with Andy and Bruce, and was really good friends with them. Now the 2 questions that I still have are: Do you guys cut the picture in half? Are we going to do this kind of art project this year?

  4. I think that these half-portraits are cool. I really like all the shading, drawing, and how nice they turned out.

  5. I never been good at drawing actual people, so I think these drawings are awesome.

  6. I love this art piece, I think it would be a fun project to do. I find drawing faces very interesting and would love to practice it. I hope this year I will be able to do something like this.

  7. These were so much fun last year, and I really like using half of real life, and half of your art. It is so cool! I also really like drawing portraits and things like that. This year I really want to do more painting in this class!

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