Class Self-Portrait Collage

This mural, a collage of all my 5th grade students and their teachers, brought lots of "oohs” and “aahs” at my school’s silent auction last night. I don’t know who had more fun, the kids tracing and coloring their pictures or me pasting it together to see the final effect.
1. I started with a gesso-covered 36" x 48" stretched canvas. I determined that each student could have a rectangle about 3" x 5.33", and drew a grid accordingly with a light pencil.
2. I fortunately had digital head shots from all the students from a previous project. I scaled each down to fit in the determined rectangle size and printed them out in black and white. Each photo was taped to a piece carbon paper, and then both attached to a piece of dry wax paper. (You can find this at Smart & Final stores, or shop online here.) When the students traced their faces with a sharp pencil, the carbon lines transferred to the dry wax paper. The outer rectangle frame was traced also.The photo and carbon paper were removed when the tracing was complete.
3. My students used lots of Bic markers, which include some great skin tones. I advised them to color the in the large background areas first, such as their face color, hair and clothes. Lastly, the details of the face were traced with a very thin black Sharpie.
4. After cutting out all the finished rectangles, mix white glue with water to thin down. Brush the back of each paper portrait generously with the solution, along with the designated space on the canvas. Place and smooth with more glue solution on top. Continue until the portraits are in place. A spray sealer may be added after all the glue is dry.
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