Friday, 15 February 2013

Year 1/2 Chuck Close Grid Portraits

By Nive (Year 2)

Lesson Background:
Well, it's a new school year and I have another gorgeous group of Year 1 and 2 students.  Amongst them are lots of keen and clever artists, and I am looking forward to creating many beautiful artworks with them this year.  I used this lesson 2 years ago with a Year 3 class and it was a great success so I thought I would attempt it with my younger class this year.  I think they have done themselves proud!
(Link to Year 3 artworks from 2011:  Original idea from "Art Projects for Kids"

Lesson Materials (per child):
-  1 A3 sheet of white card with a pale grid photocopied onto it (with a white border left around the outside of the grid)
-  A lead pencil
-  A rubber
-  Coloured progresso pencils (my school uses Koh-I-Noor 12 Progresso Woodless Coloured Pencils)

Lesson Steps:
1.  Discuss the life and art of the artist, Chuck Close. I used a PowerPoint presentation with a brief biography and photos of some of his artworks to do this.  We explored his style and techniques. 
2. Students were provided with the sheet of A4 grid paper.
3. I demonstrated how to draw a simple face, neck and shoulders onto the grid paper using positional language such as, "Mark a dot 6 squares up from the bottom in the middle.  Mark a dot 3 squares in from the top left and top right, then join the 3 dots together in a big U shape to make the head".  After the modelling of each part of the face, the students drew their own.

4.  The students then coloured in the lips red or pink and the eyes to look like their own.
5. We then revised the concept of warm and cool colours. The children created a list of these colours and then were asked to choose 2 warm colours for the face/ears/neck, 1 warm and 1 cool colour for the shirt, and 2 cool colours for the background. 
6. I then reminded the students how Chuck Close filled each grid square with patterns and shapes in his portraits and we discussed possible ideas for patterns and shapes they could use in each of their own grid squares.
7. The children then began to colour their artworks using their chosen patterns and warm/cool colour mixes with progresso pencils.  They were encouraged to ensure they left no white gaps and that they pressed firmly with the pencils to get a thick, vibrant colour.
8. When all the colouring was done, the students outlined the face, neck, shoulders and facial features using a black progresso pencil.

Student Artworks: (with more to come!)

By Paige (Year 2)

By Kimo (Year 1)

By Sophia (Year 2)
By Kayla (Year 2)

By Rohan (Year 2)

By Ben (Year 2)
By Austin (Year 2)
By Millie (Year 2)

By Ella (Year 2)

1/2B Gemstones Artworks


  1. Those are great!I like the use of hot colours on cool colours,letters and numbers(At least i think they're letters and numbers!).I also like how different they are,but they all still look great!By the way,who's Chuck Close?

    1. Gabe, Chuck Close is an American artist who creates a lot of very realistic and impressive paintings using grids- look his work up on Google images... pretty amazing!

  2. Joshua McGuinness3 May 2013 at 18:11

    You have a great picture Zander. I love it.

  3. They look good Mrs Baker