Micrography Portraits


 You never know what will be a hit with students. I have tried so many things that in theory seemed great, but turned out to be real duds in practice. That's one great thing about being a teacher. Things fail epically, and you just move on try something else. It also helps our students see that we're not perfect and that we only learn by making mistakes. That's at least what I tell myself when my grand plans blow up in my face.

 Sometimes you try something that actually turns out wonderfully. Enter micrography portraits. Micrography literally means "small writing."I have been coordinating a reading grant program for middle schoolers on Saturday mornings. We wanted to create something that would allow students to share about themselves in a challenging and engaging way.  Here are some of our students' finished portraits. I am obsessed with how well they turned out. The students loved creating them and they also loved hanging them to share with everyone else (which is not something that middle schoolers are always into, as we know).









Here are step by step instructions if you'd like to try this with your students, or just do it yourself or with your child. These instructions are adapted from this excellent post on micrography portraits over at Art.Paper.Scissors.Glue!

1. Print out a full size photo of someone's face.

2. Place tracing paper over the photo and outline the face and neck in black marker.

3. Transfer the outline to a sheet of nice white paper in pencil (It works well to do this over a window or light box if possible).

4. Come up with a list of 50 personality traits/hobbies/sayings/etc. related to the person in the photo.

5. Write the 50 words along the outline of the face/neck in pencil. Then go over the words with a thin black sharpie or pen.

I'd also recommend modeling all of the steps for your students by creating your own portrait. This project took us a few different sessions to complete. I'd also recommend breaking it up and only doing one or two steps per day. Writing 50 words about yourself would be a great first day of school activity!

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