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Pastel Portraits | Drawing Projects

Pastel Portraits

Total Time Needed: 1-2 Hours

Expressionist artists use soft lines and color to create a mood - in addition to the actual image they're drawing. Try this simple technique for making your own expressionist portrait or self-portrait.


  • Wide-tip black marker 8 1/2- by 11-inch sheet of paper
  • Clear tape
  • 8 1/2- by 11-inch sheet of acetate (available at copy shops and craft stores)
  • Oil pastels, such as Cray-Pas
  • 9- by 12-inch sheet of colored construction paper


Pastel Portraits - Step 1

1. With the marker, draw a large face on the paper. Go over the drawing a second time to make sure the lines are thick.

Pastel Portraits - Step 2

2. Tape the clear acetate on top of the drawing. Use the pastels to color in the face on the acetate, but leave all the black lines uncovered.

3. Remove the acetate from the original drawing and tape it over the construction paper. Add more detail with the pastels if desired, but be sure to leave some places where the color of the construction paper can show through.


If your child is reluctant to draw freehand, let her use an image from a photo, magazine, or coloring book. Just outline the details of the face with the marker before taping the acetate over it. For more of a challenge, give your child a handheld mirror and let her try sketching a self-portrait.