ROOT VEGETABLE PORTRAIT – Inspired by Giuseppe Arcimboldo

Students use Model Magic to create a variety of root vegetables and then use them to create a portrait in the style of Italian artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo.

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ROOT VEGETABLE PORTRAIT – Inspired by Giuseppe Arcimboldo


  • Crayola Model Magic - Primary Colours and White
  • Crayola Construction Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12")
  • Crayola Scissors
  • Crayola Washable No-Run Glue
  • Tag Manilla Paper - Medium Weight - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") - 1 per student


Step 1
  1. View the painting by Giuseppe Arcimboldo.
  2. Look closely at the details.
  3. What do you notice?
  4. What kinds of plants do you see?
  5. How has he used them to create a portrait?

(Autumn, by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, 1573 - Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons)

Step 2
  1. Choose a vegetable and place it in your workspace.
  2. Mix primary colours of Model Magic to make the colour you need for your vegetable.
    - red + yellow = orange
    - red + blue = violet
    - yellow + blue = green
    - red + blue + yellow = brown
    - white + colour = a lighter colour
    - different amounts of a primary colour will change the way the colour looks
  3. Look closely at the real vegetable and try to make yours look the same.

Step 3
  1. Cut a head shape about 15 cm wide and 19 cm long out of a piece of manila tag paper.
  2. Include a neck.
Step 4
  1. Glue the cut-out head to a piece of construction paper.
  2. Arrange your root vegetable forms on the cut-out to make a face.
  3. Try placing the forms in different ways until you have a face you like best.
  4. Glue the vegetable forms in place.
Step 5
  1. Place your portrait at a distance and view it with fresh eyes.
    - What do you like best about your portrait? Why?
    - What kind of personality do you think this person has?
    - What do you see that makes you say that?
    - How is your portrait like Giuseppe Arcimboldo's?
    - How is it different?
Illustrated Crayon Character