Lesson Plan: Pablo Picasso Lessons

Pablo Picasso Lessons

Have some fun! Start with Greg Percy's song Picasso Polka. - do a little dance too!
"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." ~ Pablo Picasso


(Pablo Ruiz y Picasso), 1881-1973, Spanish painter, sculptor, graphic artist, and ceramicist who worked in France; the foremost figure in 20th-century art. Leader of the School of Paris, he was remarkable for his technical virtuosity, incredible originality, and prolificacy. Admitted to the Royal Academy of Barcelona at 15, he later moved to Paris, where he remained until 1947, then moving to the South of France. His early works, e.g., Old Woman (1901; Philadelphia Museum Art), show the influence of Toulouse-Lautrec. His production is usually described in series of overlapping periods. In his melancholy blue period such works as The Old Guitarist. (1903; Art Institute, Chicago) depicted, in blue tones, the world of the poor. His rose period is characterized by a lighter palette and subjects from the circus. In 1907, Picasso painted Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (Museum of Modern Art, N.Y.C.), the most significant work in the development of "Cubism" and abstraction, and a forerunner of analytic cubism. In the synthetic phase of cubism (after 1912), his forms became larger and more representational, as in Three Musicians (1921; Museum of Modern Art, N.Y.C.). In the 1920s he also introduced "collage". His second landmark work was Guernica. (Reina Sofía, MadridCentro de Arte Reina Sofía), animpassioned condemnation of war and fascism. In his later years, Picasso turned to creations of fantasy and comic invention. Working consistently in sculpture, ceramics, and the graphic arts, he continued to explore his personal vision until his death at 91.

picasso portrait

Self Portrait- 1907 from Olga's Gallery

This portrait represents the proto-cubist style -- a forerunner to cubism.

Picasso Discussion
More in Early Works
Photograph in later years (Site was down when last checked. You can find the archive here.

- This article is from Ask Jeeves Encyclopedia (no longer available)

Find out more from these sites:
Mark Harden's Artchive

Picasso Artist Study - A great resource from Squidoo.

Middle School Ideas Submitted by: Rebecca Engleman,
Cathedral Catholic School [Archive]
Lesson Plan: Picasso Meets Collage
Grade Level: Middle School (Elementary below)


Tempera Paint., Construction Paper., Scissors., White Glue., Oil Pastels..



Set up an eye appealing still life in the room.


After viewing and discussing the works of Pablo Picasso, this group of eighth grade students designed these still life compositions. They began by sketching a still life set up in the art room from observation. The sketch was painted with tempera paint using a flat style and a neutral pallet.

Collage papers were then created by mixing colors and creating texture by using sponges, spray bottles, and dabbing.  These beautiful papers were cut into the appropriate shapes by using the beginning sketch as a template. After the shapes were glued in place, oil pastels were used to create patterns and enhance the overall design.



Submitted by: Joan Maresh-Hansen, Author, Speaker, Consultant
Painting Like Picasso (Excerpt from ArtWorkBook www.artworkontheweb.com)
Grade Level:
Middle School and up


picasso picture picasso picture



Interpret images in a way similar to Picasso. Investigate human portraiture while understanding the transition from reality to abstraction.


picasso pictureTime Line: 15 hours


Tools and Materials:

Drawing Paper., Drawing Pencils., Colored Markers., Canvas. or Canvas Panels., Acrylic Paint., Brushes., Acrylic Gloss Medium., water containers.



  1. Discuss life and work of Pablo Picasso. Discuss terminology.

  2. View Picasso's "Girl Before a Mirror." Choose to either draw a reflected portrait of yourself or another person or three self portraits from three different views. Using markers, color these in complimentary colors.

  3. Simplify and alter your images. Tear it up, rearrange the parts, and glue the parts to a new background. Use this as a preliminary  plan for a final painting. Have fun while you investigate.

  4. Paint  sketch the image onto the canvas. Working in abstraction-images can be simplified and details omitted. Colors should be orchestrated throughout. Interest in work can be enhanced  with  a variety of  values (shades and tints)


In continuing the investigation of human portraiture, approach the facial features with a "loosened up" attitude- again borrowing from reality and moving into abstraction. Interpret a model under a spotlight with Oil Pastels. dipped in India ink.. A hard black outline is the result. Use unrealistic colors to fill in shapes. Incorporate collage - Still life of musical instruments.


Paper Portraits A La Picasso: Take a blank piece of Posterboard. (approximately 12" x 18" (30.5 x 46 cm) or use up the scraps). Plan at least four-six planes, fold or score the poster board where it changes directions. Make some of the changes on an angle rather than vertical. In line drawing, simulate eyes, nose, lips, ears, hair, etc. Apply paint or markers to further enhance. It should stand alone and be interesting from all sides and angles.

Terminology/Techniques: Picasso's Blue period - Rose period - Collage - Cubism
Analytical/Synthetic Cubism - Diversity - overlapping pattern


Film- "Picasso: The Man and His Work.." (See Part 2.) Also see "Girl in a Mirror" print



Elementary Ideas

(Below) Submitted by: Jeannette Anthos, J. H. House Elementary, Conyers, GA
Lesson Idea: Picasso Faces - mood/emotion
Lesson Plan available (on Artsonia)
Grade level: Elementary (this was fifth grade)


White Drawing Paper., Sharpie Fine Point Markers., Oil Pastels.


picasso picture picasso picture


For Jeanette's lesson (left), students looked at "Girl Before a Mirror". After a discussion of the work by Picasso, they drew their own Picasso style faces. They began with the shape for the face, then divided it to show a profile (multiple views). Students also drew the features in the style of Picasso. Once the faces were done, they added the hair to create flowing movement. They outlined with Sharpie markers. After a discussion on color plans, they were ready to color with oil pastels. See detailed plan on Incredible Art Department (copied with permission from Artsonia).



Submitted by: Tracey Albert, May Whitney Elementary
Lesson Idea:
Picasso self-portraits - mixed media
Grade level:
Elementary (this was second grade)
Lesson focus:
line, color, shape, balance, texture, unity, emotions


White Glue., Gold Metallic Markers. (or gold Puffy Paint.), Pastels., black Drawing Paper. (or any dark color)

After a discussion of Cubist style portraits by Pablo Picasso, students had the opportunity to create their own self portraits. Students drew on black paper (any dark color will work) - dividing the face to show multiple views and fracturing into shapes. Drawings were outlined with glue. After the glue was dry, students colored it with gold markers. Gold puffy paints can be used with similar results). Students colored their portraits with a limited color plan using pastels. Oil pastels also work well with this lesson. This lesson can also be done with plain glue on black paper - or using any color of puffy paint.


picasso picturepicasso picturepicasso picture


Submitted by: Judy Decker
Printmaking and Ceramics

Shown, student reduction print. Linoleum prints were rolled onto slabs to make vessels. Slabs were draped to shape (pots had football shaped base - with curved front and back). Some student made lids for their containers.

Two of my favorite Picasso portraits of women. Weeping Woman. was used for one side of the ceramic vessel above Pablo Picasso -Jaqueline with Flowers | Picasso's Weeping Woman- Ceramic example above used collagraph prints for the image.


Lesson Plans for Pablo Picasso


Interactive Web Site

Mr. Picasso Head - Interactive. Great Fun kids! Choose your face shape, eyes, nose and such - change colors, sizes, flip and rotate, too. This could keep you busy for hours - Tell mom you are doing your art homework (our secret). Teachers should preview gallery before sending letting students browse)


Incredible Art Department Lessons:

Elementary: Picasso Three Musicians by Kim Mulligan

Middle School: Portraits to Picasso by Holly L.

Middle School: Proto-Cubism - THINKING Like Picasso - Mark Anderson

Middle School The Human Head and Picasso by Stephanie Ignazio

High School: Cubism - A Fractured Reality by Ken Schwab


Elsewhere on the Web:

Middle School: Cubism Painting, [Archive] from Westmont School district in Johnstown, PA.

Middle School: Cubism Painting by Bunki Kramer, Los Cerros Middle School

Middle School: Crayon Cubism by Bunki Kramer, Los Cerros Middle School

Middle School: Picasso Style Self Portraits [Archive] by Michal Austin, Art Kids, Kansas



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