Back – Painted Portraits

By Kate Gorely

In this post teacher Kate Gorely demonstrates how to create portraits using an effective back painted technique. A great activity to explore less traditional portraiture methods that is suitable for a wide range of primary age groups.

Notes for Teachers




a portrait drawn on acetate with simple colour palette

I used this session at the very beginning of a project on portraits. We found it very useful to really look at our faces and where our features are. Where abouts on our faces were our eyes and lips? Where are our eyes in relation to our ears? It also gave the children a boost in confidence in producing something original that looked like them. They were able to make choices in how they posed for the initial photograph, which colours they used and what texture added. The result was that each portrait was unique and personal.

This back painting technique could be used for other projects too – such as landscapes, illustrations and architectural drawings.

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