SELF-PORTRAIT – Seven Grandfather Teachings

Students create a self-portrait based on the students' understanding and life experiences with one of the 7 Grandfather teachings.

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SELF-PORTRAIT – Seven Grandfather Teachings


  • Crayola Oil Pastels - 16 Colours
  • Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12")
  • Crayola Fine Line Markers
  • Pencils
  • Erasers


Step 1
  1. Make a mind map.
  2. Begin with the 7 Grandfather teachings in the centre of your mind map.
  3. Brainstorm the Grandfather teachings using words, and drawings of the animals connected to each of the teachings.
  4. Reflect on personal life experiences that are connected to and exemplify the Grandfather teachings.
  5. Choose one life experience and use words/images to describe it.
    - What did you say?
    - How did you feel?
    - What did you do?
  6. Reflect on how your life is connected to the Grandfather teaching you chose.
  7. Share your reflections with a partner.
Step 2
  1. Begin your self-portrait by drawing a large oval about the size of your head on drawing paper.
    - lightly draw a vertical line dividing the oval in half
    - then draw a horizontal line dividing the oval into 4 equal quarters

Step 3
  1. Draw the eyes on the horizontal line.
  2. Use the eye as a unit of measurement, imagining the length of 5 eyes fitting across the face.
    - begin the eye by drawing an almond shape, then a small black pupil inside, and a circular iris surrounding the pupil inside the eye
    - the line forming the top of the eye is echoed by another line which creates an eyelid
    - leave a space that is the length of an eye, and draw the second eye
    - the eyebrows form a frame around the eye and echo the line of the eyelid above the eyes

Step 4
  1. Lightly draw a small horizontal line halfway between the eyes and the chin.
  2. This line crosses the vertical line marking the location for the nose.
  3. Draw a second horizontal line about halfway between the nose and the chin for the mouth.
  4. Create the nose by drawing a triangle shape with a ball at the end.
  5. The nostrils are made by drawing 2 brackets, one on each side of the nose.
  6. Keep your pencil lines light.
Step 5
  1. Draw the mouth on the horizontal line between the nose and the chin.
  2. Begin the mouth by drawing a bow-shaped line where the lips meet.
  3. Next draw 2 small circles below the line, and 3 small circles above the line.
  4. Lightly outline the outer edges of the circles forming the top and bottom lips.
Step 6
  1. Draw the top of the ear at the same height as the eyebrow.
  2. Draw the bottom of the ear at the same height as the bottom of the nose.
  3. Draw the neck from the ears down.
Step 7
  1. Choose a variety of cool colours to draw the background of your self portrait.
  2. Bring some of your cool colours into your face to integrate your self portrait with your background.
Step 8
  1. Cut a strip of drawing paper that is the same width as your self-portrait.
  2. Write about your life experience connected to the Grandfather teaching you chose.
  3. Use markers that are similar colours to the oil pastels to write with.
  4. Make sure your writing clearly reflects your life experience, and connects to the Grandfather teaching you chose in a meaningful way.
  5. Add drawings connected to the Grandfather teaching.
  6. Glue the strip of paper to the bottom of your self portrait.
Step 9
  1. Add an animal image to your background that is connected to the Grandfather teaching you chose.
  2. Make sure the colour you use to draw the animal shapes contrast with the background colours.
  3. Stand back from your artwork and view it with fresh eyes.
  4. Does your self-portrait reflect who you are?
  5. Decide whether you need to add more colour or detail to connect your artwork to yourself.
  6. Remember warm colours will come forward, and cooler colours will recede.
  • Subjects:

    • Language Arts,

    • Visual Arts,

    • First Nations, Metis, Inuit

  • Grades:

    • Grade 3,

    • Grade 4,

    • Grade 5,

    • Grade 6,

    • Grade 7,

    • Grade 8

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