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Take a good look at your self. Look at your reflection in the mirror. What do you see? A self portrait is a study of yourself both physically and emotionally. What is your natural gaze? How do you see yourself in the world? Making a self portrait is an opportunity to spend time with yourself mapping your physical image, but also your interests, feelings, fantasies, and your moment in time. Take a moment to assess yourself with this Find Your Strength Assessment. A self portrait is a picture or image that you make which expresses the depth of personality. Artists and designers make self portraits as exercises in expression and character portrayal. Self portraits can tell a story (narrative). They can express a fantasy side to a person’s alter ego. A self portrait can be a metaphor for the essence of a person.

Strike a pose! Reveal yourself!

Activity 1 – Narrative Self Portrait

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Tell your story. The saying goes that every picture is worth a thousand words. This is your opportunity to reveal your persona through storytelling. Imagine your face surrounded by a calendar of your birth, the first flower you picked, your first bike, your favorite dessert, your hobbies. This look at your self entails drawing those things unseen yet collected in the reservoir of your memory. Perhaps your pose or gaze will change to reflect observations of all that you are or dream of being. A narrative self portrait should reveal your past, present, and possibly your imagined future. Take hold of the reins of time and harness all that you are! Those who are bold, will seek out another medium to try to see what truths it can reveal!

Identify yourself!

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Activity 2 – First Look Self Portrait

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With a piece of paper and a pencil, sit in front of a mirror and take a long, close look at yourself. Look at the shape of your face. See your geometry! Is your face an oval, a square, a diamond? Look at the shape of your hair and how it frames your face. Can you see your ears? Now look closely at your eyes, your nose, and your mouth. Measure the thirds of your face: the distance between your chin and the bottom of your nose, under your nose and the line through your eyebrows, from your eyebrows to the top of your forehead. Map your geometry. Add lines to capture your definitive shape of your expression. Add shading to build volume and depth. Let your emotions dictate your reflection. Express yourself!

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Activity 3 – Fantasy or Abstract or Metaphorical Self Portrait

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Ever imagine you were a lion tamer, an astronaut, a world leader? Ever think of yourself as a form of weather? What color(s) do you think you emit? Now is your chance to change your image…become whoever you want to be, wear what ever you dream of wearing. This third self portrait of your choice celebrates the often unseen or not before known side of your personality. Change your hair; change your clothes. Speak to your inner soul! Chart a spectrum of colors, shapes, textures.

Reveal a new you!

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Activity 4 – Mental Map Self Portrait

Mind mapping is a way of recording how we perceive ourselves and how we know ourselves. It can reveal the invisible parts of our character. Creating a mind map as a self portrait helps to organize and compose ideas about yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, your interests and aspirations. Mind maps can help to generate, visualize and structure our character and outlook. Organize the elements of your from the most to the least important. Think about the spaces between or positive and negative images of the areas that have built up as spaces that might represent things you do not yet know about yourself. Make a mental map of yourself as a representation of who you and what your want to do.

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Activity 5 – Word Portrait

What’s in a word? A word self portrait is a good warm-up activity to capturing your personality! Write the letters of your name vertical on a blank page. For each letter, think of a word that describes who you are. Take aphoto (a selfie) or draw your portrait. Post yourself in the gallery!


  • A frame of a single image is the limits of its?
  • A composition has defined edges.
  • Symmetry means balance.
  • Contrast is when images blur together.
  • When you look at a composition, your eyes can move around.
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