THE SKIN YOU LIVE IN
by Michael Tyler, illustrated by David Lee Csicsko
The Skin You Live In is a delightfully rhyming picture book celebrating diversity, and encouraging self-esteem in it’s readers by playfully exploring the concept of skin color, and the ways in which all children are unique yet similar.
In this lesson plan, students create a lively self-portrait in cut paper collage inspired by Csicsko’s quirky, cheerful art, and choose their own unique skin toned pencil to accurately reflect the color of their skin.
Grade level: 2nd – 4th
Time required: 2:45 min class periods
Students celebrate diversity and self expression by creating a self-portrait collage inspired by the book The Skin You Live In, by Michael Tyler.
Faber-Castell World Colors – Colored Pencils
Faber-Castell Construction Paper
National Core Art Standards—
Anchor Standard #1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work
Anchor Standard #3: Refine and complete artistic work
Anchor Standard #5: Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation
Anchor Standard #8: Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work
Anchor Standard #10: Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make art
Vocabulary: self-portrait, diversity, compose, stylize, complimentary, contrast, elements, assemble, highlight
1. Brainstorm with your students about the many fun and imaginative ways there are to express their personal interests, favorite occasions and activities in their self-portraits. Consider clothing, accessories, and weather (umbrellas or snow could be fun!) Children will be sure to surprise you with interesting and unexpected ideas!
Have students do a loose sketch of their idea on a piece of copy paper to use as their guide.
2. Next, have students carefully choose their colored papers based on the ideas in their sketch, including a 9 x 12 piece of background color that will compliment the other color choices in their art. Show how to consider complimentary colors and contrast- dark against light.
Offer copy paper to use for the crisp whites of eyes and other details.
Have students chose the skin toned pencil color that they think most closely matches their own skin.
3. Begin the art by demonstrating how to break down the basic elements of their portrait into simple stylized shapes, and then cut them out of colored paper. Have them use the off-white construction paper for skin as a base at this point, (students will color it later).
Discourage too much drawing, and instead, show how to go straight to cutting their shapes from paper. This method most always results in a much more spontaneous, playful look, with imperfect shapes adding unexpected character and fun.
4. Instruct students to continue to design and embellish their portraits with their own unique ideas. Encourage a clean, bold, graphic look.
Next, have students color their skin with their chosen pencil, and then begin to loosely assemble the pieces of their portrait. Show them how to make eyes come alive with a white highlight, and demonstrate how to play with the final positioning of pieces to create cute and funny looks and expressions with eyes, eyebrows, crooked mouths, shoulders, etc. Glue pieces into place.
Tip: Mounting the portraits on larger black paper will make them pop, perfect for displaying in the art room or your next art show!
To download a .pdf of the World Colors Lesson plan, click here.
Lesson plan by Janis Doukakis
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