INSPIRED BY CHUCK CLOSE – Self-Portrait, Colour, Pattern, Shape

Students study the work of Chuck Close and then use markers to create a self-portrait inspired by his style.

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INSPIRED BY CHUCK CLOSE – Self-Portrait, Colour, Pattern, Shape


  • Crayola Super Tip Markers - 50 Count
  • Crayola Colours of the World Markers - 24 Count
  • Crayola Sketchbooks - 1 per student
  • Crayola Marker & Watercolour paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12")
  • Crayola Washable Glue Sticks
  • Rulers
  • Pencils
  • Erasers


Step 1
  1. Sort your markers into groups of 3 light, medium and dark colours you like.
  2. Practise working on a small grid making shapes and patterns the way Chuck Close does.
    - repeated squares
    - triangles
    - lozenges
    - right-angles
    - ovals
  3. Think about how to make some areas dark and other areas light.
Step 2
  1. Work with a partner to take pictures of each other.
  2. Pose in the style of Chuck Close.
    - close-up front view
    - serious expression
    - head and shoulders only
  3. Resize the photo so it is 11.4 cm x 15.2 cm (4 ½" x 6").
  4. Cut it out and glue it into your sketchbook.
  5. Use the grid system to enlarge the photo to 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12"). (See the Picture This lesson plan available on this website.)
    - draw a grid with 1.3 cm (½") squares on top of the photograph
    - assign a letter to each column of the grid
    - assign a number to each row of the grid
    - draw a grid with 2.5 cm (1") squares on the 20.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") paper
    - assign matching letters to the columns of the grid
    - assign matching numbers to the rows of the grid
    - use the letter/number combination on the photograph to find the corresponding section on the larger grid
    - draw
    the shapes you see in each section of the grid on the photograph in the corresponding section of the larger grid
Step 3
  1. Colour each square in your drawing using the colour combinations you created.
  2. Use shapes, colours and patterns to create contrast.
  3. View your finished portrait with fresh eyes.
    - How is it like the work of Chuck Close?
    - How is it different?
    - What do you like best about the drawing? Why?