Egyptian Chalk Portrait Art Lesson
My goal for last week’s art lesson was to tie in our history unit on Ancient Egypt and introduce students to a new medium. The program Art Attacks that I have mentioned before has an excellent sixth grade project for making Egyptian-style portraits using liquid glue and soft chalks. These chalks can be a little messy, but they enable even the most amateur artist to create a rich and lovely finished product.
To begin the lesson I showed students the Art Attacks video demonstrating the process. I then gave each of them a sheet of black paper and some pictures for inspiration. Some of these came from the Art Attacks program. Others I collected or printed from the Internet. As students drew their portraits in pencil I reminded them not make any details smaller than an area they could fit their fingers in.
When the sketches were complete, they used liquid glue to go over the lines. At this step it is important to emphasize not to drag the top of the glue bottle on the paper, but instead to hold it slightly above, producing a nice, even line. One thing that makes it easier is having students stand over the project instead of sitting in front of it as they do this step. After the glue was applied we set the projects aside so they could dry for a day.
The next time we went to work on our projects it was to color in the sections using soft chalks. This provided me with a great opportunity to demonstrate how to use highlighting and shading to give depth to each piece. I showed them how to blend the colors as well, and they did a fantastic job. (It’s helpful to have paper towels nearby so students can keep their fingers clean, but keep water away from the project since it can ruin them.)
Once all the portraits were finished I hung them in the hallway above a table showcasing the Egyptian sarcophagi and collars they made earlier, along with some other “artifacts” from our history class. All of the students seemed pleased that they were able to create such wonderful pieces of art.