3D Picasso Self Portraits: Elementary Art Lesson Plan


This lesson plan is ideal for 4th and 5th graders but could easily be adapted for older or younger students.


Reproductions of Picasso’s cubist portraits

Art Materials:

  • paper
  • pencils
  • erasers
  • markers
  • mirrors or photos of students
  • tracing paper
  • scissors
  • pop up glue dots or double-sided adhesive mini foam pads (used to create 3-d effects)
  • black construction paper (optional)
  • glue (optional)


  • line: a mark made by a tool on a surface
  • shape: the appearance of an object as defined by its outline
  • abstract: art where the subject is color, line, and shape rather than recognizable forms or a picture you can identify.
  • Cubism: an early twentieth-century movement in painting and sculpture in which objects were represented abstractly by geometrical forms.
  • self-portrait: a portrait of yourself created by yourself

Motivation For Lesson:

Students view the work of Picasso and learn about abstract art. The teacher demonstrates how they will turn self-portraits into abstract works of art by changing the size of various facial features and using lines to separate sections of the face.


Students will create a self-portrait in the style of Pablo Picasso with six sections that are 3-D. The portrait should include their head, neck, and a bit of shoulder and students should also fill in the background.



1. After the motivation, students begin by drawing a self-portrait. (using mirrors or a photograph of themselves as a reference) Students should study and pay attention to shape which they will later abstract.

2. Once their portraits are complete, the teacher should look them over, and then offer suggestions on how to make them more abstract.

3. After abstraction, students color their portraits with markers. They may choose to outline the various shapes with black or another color, but it is not a requirement.

4. When students have completed coloring their portraits, they must select 6 shapes to trace, color, cut out and add pop up tape to.

5. After their portraits are finished, they can be mounted on black construction paper for a more finished look.

Student Work