IF YOU COULD READ MY MIND – Emotions, Feelings, Line, Colour

Students create a layered self-portrait that opens to reveal 6 abstract designs that represent 6 different emotions - Sadness, Happiness, Anger, Fear, Calm and Love.

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IF YOU COULD READ MY MIND – Emotions, Feelings, Line, Colour


  • Crayola Markers
  • Crayola Scissors
  • Crayola Glue Sticks
  • Crayola Crayons - 24 colours
  • Crayola Sketch Books
  • Pencils
  • Copy Paper - 21.6 cm x 27.9 cm (8.5" x 11) - 2 pieces per student


Step 1


Use lines to express feelings, for example, instead of using the word 'angry' draw something that stands for angry – the way angry feels to you. This is called an ANALOG. Only use lines. Do NOT draw a picture.

  1. Divide a sketchbook page into 6 boxes.
  2. Write one of the following words at the bottom of each box:
    - Angry
    - Happy
    - Afraid
    - Sad
    - Calm
    - Love
  3. Start with one of the boxes, for example, Angry:
    - Close your eyes.
    - Try to remember the last time you felt really angry.
    - Feel it.
    - Let that feeling grow inside you.
    - Let it flow up into your arm and into your pencil.
    - When you are ready, open your eyes.
    - Make some lines in the box to show what this feeling looks like for you.
  4. Do the same thing for each of the other boxes.
  5. Share your drawings with 2 other people.
    - What do you notice about the drawings?
    - How are your drawings the same as the others?
    - How are they different?
Step 2
  1. Work with a partner.
  2. Use your devices to take photographs of each other against a light background.
  3. Resize your photo to 21.6 cm x 27.9 cm (8.5" x 11") and convert it to Grayscale.
  4. Use a photo editing software such as Photoshop to posterize the photo.
  5. Print a copy of the photo.

Step 3
  1. Trace the outline of your photo onto another piece of paper the same size.
  2. Divide the head area into 6 sections - 1 for each emotion.
  3. Make an analog design for each emotion as it feelsto you - 1 for each section.
  4. Turn the drawings into designs of shapes and lines.
Step 4
  1. Use crayons to colour your designs.
  2. Choose colours that match the emotions.
  3. Blend several shades of a colour.
  4. Vary the pressure as you colour.

Step 5
  1. ​Create a design in the white background of your photo that expresses your energy and personality.
  2. When you are satisfied with your work fold the photo in half, long end to long end.
  3. Cut your photo in half along the fold.
  4. Make crisp folds about 1.5 cm (.5") in along each outside long edge.

Step 6
  1. Apply glue along the back of one of the folds.
  2. Place the photo half on top of the design drawing.
  3. Line up the edges so they match the traced outline of your photo.
  4. Press the paper in place so it opens like a window.
  5. Repeat for the other side.
  6. Create a design that includes the names of the 6 emotions on the inside white flaps.
Step 7
  1. Place your self-portrait at a distance.
  2. View it with fresh eyes.
    - How do the colours and designs communicate ideas about emotions?
    - How does this work make you feel?
    - What did you learn about your own feelings?

    - What do you like best about your work? Why?
Illustrated Crayon Character