Explore Artists

Kids Love to Paint Self-Portraits

All children love to draw self-portraits and painting portraits can be done in different art styles. It can be realistic or completely abstract.

Here we visit three artists who draw portraits in completely different styles.

Modigliani portraits for kids

Amedeo Modigliani (Italy, 1884-1920) was a famous expressionist abstract artist. He was an Italian artist but stayed and worked in France. He had a troubled life because of his poor health and monetary condition.

Modigliani portraits are simple, yet it clearly expresses the personality of his subjects. His paintings and sculptures show a great influence of African masks. The oval faces have a graceful appearance and a subtle expression. Modigliani portraits can be easily recognized by their elongated necks, slouching shoulders, angular noses, sharp chin, almond-shaped eyes and button-like mouths. The faces were mostly tilted at an angle. Many times, the almond shape eyes did not have any iris or pupil.

Now that you have visited Modigliani’s art, it is time to make your own art.


To merge colors in acrylic and create a face. Children ab the ve age of 10 can create a portrait in his style.

Divide the page into three equal parts, one for the face, one for neck and one for the torso. Use shades of yellow ochre, burnt sienna, and white to create tones of the face and neck. Make the colors warm and earthy. Blend and layer the colors.

Here my 10-year-old created her portrait when she saw Modigliani’s portrait.  She made a longish face and merged colors to create the highlights on the face. The background was also created to blend into the foreground.


Sandra Silberzweig

We visit our next artist is Sandra Silberzweig (Canada, born in 1960s). Her portraits are in typical folk art style representing colorful Goddesses. The portraits are created in contrasting colors merging together and highlighted with bold, black outlines. Black is judiciously used to bring other colors in focus. They are then decorated with dots and dashes, spirals and zigzags.  Children of all ages would love to paint in her style.

For our art project, we will create a simple face. We will have lines to break the face into shapes which can be colored with two-three colors.

You should also visit Tom Fedro’s portraits. You would see a rainbow of colors in these portraits too.

Julian Opie

Now let’s create a portrait in Julian Opie style. Julian Opie (London 1958) is a contemporary artist who uses his very own graphic style to paint his portraits. His art is a combination of minimalism and pop art. In Minimalist art, the artist uses minimum content and form to represent the subject. Opie went to Chelsea School of Art for his art education. He became known in the art world through his painted metal sculptures.

Opie beautifully combines technology in his art. His portraits have very little details. He usually has two dots for eyes and two dots as the nose, a long upper line and a short lower line for the lips. What changes in his portraits are the hairstyles and accessories and the color of the skin and the hair. Opie got his inspiration to create his characters from Herge’s Tintin.

Art lesson Objective

Here we will draw three faces to show a young girl, a middle aged lady, and an old lady.

We will only use a marker to draw the faces. You can choose to paint and highlight the portraits as you see in Julian Opie’s paintings. See an image or draw anyone around you. Notice the shape of the face and the hair. Draw it with bare minimum lines. The jaw line makes a difference to understand the age of the girl.

You will find a lot of videos on youtube which shows how to create these portraits using Julian Opie style.

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