I sure love self-portrait projects! I've done lots at all different levels, and I usually tweak them a bit each time. For these ones in first grade at Brimfield, we talked about the Mona Lisa and Leonardo da Vinci. We read Who Stole Mona Lisa by Ruthie Knapp. The book tells about the painting and da Vinci with a nice story format that the kids liked. They were absolutely fascinated with the theft and recovery of the famous painting.
We drew the faces together with a step-by-step teaching approach. The kids then used crayons to mix colors for skin tones and hair. They finished the artworks with watercolors that they also layered and mixed to get just the right colors!
One of my favorite moments during this project was when Alhareth came up to me and told me how much he loved his artwork and that he thought it was better than the Mona Lisa. I told him that I liked his artwork better too and took his photograph. Here is the proud artist with his masterpiece: