Lesson Plan: Picasso Faces - Oil Pastels Drawing

Picasso Faces


Submitted by: Jeannette Smith Anthos
J. H. House Elementary - GA, United States
Grade level: Elementary


Before Lesson:

5th grade students learned and discussed the artwork of Abstract artist Pablo Picasso. The students created a collage of Abstract and/or Cubistic Faces emulating Picasso’s style. The main objective was to let our imagination run wild with the many possibilities. We looked at Picasso’s painting "Girl Before a Mirror.". for inspiration.


Procedure (what you do)

**Before we created our image, we looked at Picasso’s painting "Girl Before a Mirror.". We described the various things we saw (lines, shapes, colors, etc.), and we discussed what we thought the painting was supposed to be about. Some students speculating that perhaps the woman in the mirror looks different because she sees how she looks on the inside. Wow! They got deep with it! -- The students didn’t find out the name of the painting until after the discussion.

  1. We started by turning our paper horizontal and drawing a face shape (using pencil) in the middle of our paper. It was emphasized that the face can be ANY shape; it doesn’t HAVE to be oval.

  2. 1

    The students had to draw a "profile" line going down the middle of the face, thereby making the face look like it was actually 2 faces-a profile view, and a front view.

  3. The students then added facial characteristics, eyes, extra nose, mouths, emphasizing the use of SHAPES, and really putting their imagination to the test. They could add one ear, two, or none. It was totally up to them.

  4. To tie our composition together, the last part was to draw hair. It was specified that the hair must lead from one side of the paper to another. By this I mean the hair had to connect to each head, thereby making the composition flow. We discussed the various types of lines that could be used to make hair.

  5. We traced our entire drawing using Black Sharpie.

  6. We then outlined our drawing in Black oil pastel, to make it stand out more.

2 Materials (what you need)

There are 86 pieces of art in Jeannette's Artsonia gallery. Click here to view the complete gallery.


Discussion questions

What do you see? What kinds of shapes are there? What kinds of colors are used? What do you think this painting is supposed to be about? Why do you think Picasso painted this way?


Follow-up activities
A Quick entry in their art portfolio (they bring to art class each week) about their "Picasso Experience." How did it make them feel/ Did they like drawing like this? Basically a brief reflection on what they had created.


3 Content area vocabulary
Elements: color, line, shape
Principles: repetition, rhythm, unity
Art History: abstract, Cubism, Pablo Picasso


Curriculum standards
1-E (5 - 8) Students select media, techniques, and processes; analyze what makes them effective or not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of their choices.
1-G (9 - 12) Students apply media, techniques, and processes with sufficient skill, confidence, and sensitivity that their intentions are carried out in their artworks
4-D (5 - 8) Students know and compare the characteristics of artworks in various eras and cultures.
5-E (5 - 8) Students analyze contemporary and historic meanings in specific artworks through cultural and aesthetic inquiry.
5-F (5 - 8) Students describe and compare a variety of individual responses to their own artworks and to artworks from various eras and cultures.


4 Evaluation

  1. Did students successfully show multiple views of the face - in the style of Picasso? Did they show emotions?

  2. Did students effectively use the elements and principles of design to create a strong composition of three faces? Does the composition show unity?

  3. Did students gain and understanding of the work of Pablo Picasso?




Picasso's "Girl Before a Mirror,"

Femme au Balcon, c.1937 Print by Pablo Picasso..

"Girl With Red Beret." by Pablo Picasso.



Picasso (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists). - This is the popular children's art series books.


Who Was Pablo Picasso?. - Picasso continually discovered new ways of seeing the world and translating it into art. A restless genius, he went through a blue period, a rose period, and a Cubist phase. He made collages, sculptures out of everyday objects, and beautiful ceramic plates. This book covers these phases.



Picasso Artist Study - A great resource from Squidoo.



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