Art Lesson Plan: Torn Paper Collage Portrait

Torn Paper Collage Portrait

Submitted by: an TeacherArtExchange list member
Unit: Collage - Portraits (Option: Digital Photographs - Self Portraits)
Grade Level: Middle School
Time: 3 to 4 class periods



  • Given tools, teacher demonstrations, 1-2 class periods, examples, discussion, and visuals, the students will create a collage using modern fashion models as inspiration.

  • Show value with torn paper work with color plan

  • Art Appreciation - Pop Art - Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein - Fauves (Matisse and others)

  • Students will discuss career of fashion photography. Look at media of advertising


One photocopied face per student (or Digital photographs of students). Various scraps of colored paper, (foil, Construction Paper., Tissue paper. etc.) Glitter. - Glue Sticks. or White Glue., or even Mod Podge. Paint, Brushes. for application of glue.


. .



Portrait Collage, Value, Shape, Space (positive/negative), Color, Emphasis, Contrast, Unity


This lesson came from Arts and Activities magazine - original lesson author not know at present. See Expression Magazine March/April 2003 (This magazine is no longer in existence but you can visit the archived site). See Chuck Close Handmade Pulp Portrait "Georgia" -  See Detail. Also Andy Warhol Celebrity Portraits.



Alternate Lesson from Dick Blick - Torn Paper Portraits

Instruction/Motivational Strategies:

  1. The students will be shown colorful and unique portraits of artists such as Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, Vincent Van Gogh, and Henri Matisse. (Especially Portrait of Mme Matisse With Green Stripe by Henri Matisse)

  2. Demonstrate process.

Instructional Preparations/ Suggestions/ Safety

Prepare photocopies - or digital photographs for each student. The vocabulary terms should be written on the board and discussed as students are viewing the works by Picasso, Klee, etc. Display portrait images around the room.

Student Activities/ Procedures:
1.The teacher will lead the students in a discussion about the human face and how it has been portrayed in art throughout history. We will view works by a variety of artists.

2. We will discuss the use of color by these artists. (This will add to their knowledge about some of the elements of art). New terms will be added throughout the instruction.

3. The students will be instructed to create a collage using the face as a base.

· They will use only small (no bigger than your thumb) torn pieces of paper

· To cover the face completely

· To divide the face into several sections of color.

· To leave part of the eyes exposed.

4. Upon completion the students should emphasize the nose and mouth with mediums of their choice. Finishing touches of glitter can be added around the irises of eyes and lips.

5. If the student wishes they may extend the face design onto another plane by adding extra pieces and gluing to a bigger sheet of paper.

Note: It will be interesting to note the differences in faces even when students choose the same photocopied face for a base. This lesson can me made more meaningful by having the students do self portraits (take digital photographs while working on a previous project - print off black and white as large as possible on 8 ½ x 11 (21.5 x 28 cm) paper - or larger if large print format printer is available). Another option might be doing photographs of Heroes. Students could combine collage words of character traits their heroes possess.

Mark Alan Anderson did portraits using digital photographs. they printed them off using "photocopy" filter. Portraits were used for handmade book covers (image to come).


  1. Did students fill the space? Is there contrast between positive and negative space?

  2. Did students show a range of values in creating their portraits? Did they show originality in embellishing portraits?

See Rubric designed for this lesson



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