This Eye Self-Portrait Easy Distance Learning Lesson has been a huge hit inside and outside of my classroom! Help your students learn how to express themselves with this guided eye drawing tutorial. Students start with drawing a basic eye with shading and then branch out with self-portrait symbols that describe who they are. You can keep this simple and stick to just pencil shading, or have your students level up and include colored pencil blending.
Last March, this was my most successful and most commonly chosen artwork during our first Covid 19 shut down. We went back to school face to face in August, but I saved this lesson just in case we shut down again. Students love drawing eyes and exploring their creativity with the self-portrait symbols in the background. I love to show them self-portrait artists such as Frida Kahlo, Shirin Neshat (the school appropriate images, of course!), and Vincent Van Gogh.
Value Scale & Eye Shading
I always start students out with a value scale. If we are in class, we do this in our sketchbooks together. If we are distance learning, I help students through Google Meets and also using this tutorial.
Students really enjoy learning or reviewing this skill. It has such instant gratification for hesitant students who never thought they would be able to shade.
Next, we sketch out eyes in our sketchbook using this tutorial:
If we are in the classroom we do a practice eye in all pencil in our sketchbooks. We apply value referencing the value scale and sphere shading from earlier. If I am short on time, we may jump right into shading and blending with colored pencils. We had a historic October ice storm in Oklahoma City this year, and so there were a few steps I had to skip last time I taught this.
This PDF has been super helpful not only in the classroom but also for distance learning. Not all kids have access to the internet at home and this has been a lifesaver to send home when students are quarantined are when we shifted to full virtual.
Download the free PDF!
If we are in the classroom, we do a practice eye in our sketchbooks first using colored pencils using this tutorial.
However, my school district just transitioned to 100% virtual after being face to face since August. I have had plenty of students quarantined and working at home, so at least I have a little bit of practice! My school encouraged us to keep things simple, so I am teaching this pencil only self-portrait eye drawing. I like that it scaffolds basic art techniques with self-expression. Colored pencils are optional, but I like to think that all students can be successful with just a pencil.
I like to include a brainstorming activity where students make lists of their favorite things. You can dig as deep as you want, or keep it basic and lighthearted.
Download the PDF overview:
Check out this lesson variation with watercolor backgrounds:
Try out this colored pencil dragon eye option! My students have loved branching out and trying different animal, manga and fantasy eyes.
I hope you find this Eye Self-Portrait easy distance learning lesson useful! All of my resources are free and adaptable for whatever situation you find yourself in 2020 and beyond!
What are your tried and true distance learning lessons? I’d love to hear from you!
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