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Self-Portrait Pop Art Project For Kids

We love a good self-portrait art project and this Pop Art lesson for kids is a classic that families will cherish for years to come.

color pencils and line drawing of woman on table.

We know that drawing people can be hard, especially if you are a middle school artist. This art lesson uses a quick drawing technique to help kids draw people while having fun with color.

This lesson is perfect for 5th grade and above. You can modify this drawing in all sorts of ways to fit your needs.

Why You Will Love This Art Idea


  • KID FRIENDLY – This art project is great for 5th grade and up. Using our easy drawing transfer helps build confidence in drawing people.
  • EASILY CHANGE SUBJECT MATTER– If your child doesn’t want to make a self-portrait, you can easily use a different image.
  • TEACHES ART HISTORY – You can teach as much about the Pop Art movement as you would like. We like looking at Warhol’s portraits as inspiration for this art lesson.

Supplies You’ll Need

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*For best results, we love using these Scholar-grade colored pencils with a blending pencil.

Pop Art Self-Portrait Tutorial

Step 1: Draw Three Equal Rectangles

Divide your paper into 3 equal sections. If using a 4 x 6″ picture, measure 4″ over on the top and bottom of the page and then draw a straight line. Repeat from the other side.

two images of hand holding pencil to draw straight line with a ruler.

Step 2: Draw 3 Self-Portraits

You can choose to use our simple portrait drawing idea, or you can freehand them yourself. Here are the basic steps to get an easy line drawing from a picture.

4 images showing how to get a portrait sketch using pencils and a picture.
  1. Scribble graphite onto the back of the printed picture.
  2. Tape your image on your first rectangle.
  3. Use a sharp pencil to trace all important details.
  4. Lift the paper to see your drawing.
pencil self-portrait sketch.

Step 3: Trace The Drawing With A Permanent Pen

Use a permanent marker to trace details. Erase extra pencil lines if needed.

hand holding eraser to remove pencil lines on ink drawing of a woman.

Step 4: Begin To Use Colored Pencils

You can add any type of color theory or ideas to this project. Sometimes we will have students pick primary or secondary for the first rectangle, cool or warm for the second and the third rectangle to be their choice.

three drawings of a woman with color vocabulary on it.

When giving guidelines for the Pop Art self-portrait, I don’t include the background in the color requirements.

colorful drawing of a woman.

FOR BEST RESULTS: After doing this project for years, we have found students have the most success when they color their portraits in this order: clothing, hair and then skin.

Step 5: Use Contrasting Colors For The Backgrounds

We encourage 5th-grade and middle school students to pick the medium they want to use for the backgrounds. Normally they can continue to use colored pencils or watercolor paint in a contrasting color and/or design.

self-portrait art projects with watercolor paint backgrounds.
Note: If using paint, wait until the other 2 are dry to paint the middle rectangle.

Tips

  • Even though you are tempted to lift the paper, don’t until you are completely done.
  • You can make the coloring as advanced or simple as possible.
  • Keep the eyes balls (not the iris or pupil) and teeth white if they are showing in the project.
  • Encourage kids to design their clothes or change anything in their drawings to add a unique touch to their art.
pop art self-portrait art project.

The drawing on our middle one was a little skewed, but that can happen! So don’t get discouraged! We may cut these to have smaller self-portraits instead of a triptych.

color portrait of woman.

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More Fun Art Projects For Kids

We have several art projects for kids based on famous artists. Add your own twist and ideas inspired by some of the great. Here are a few of our favorite for upper elementary and middle school art.

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