TOM from Home: Contour Portrait (Grade 7-8)
Updated: Apr 15, 2021
An activity for participants to observe emotional expression in portraiture. An opportunity to investigate a person and personality from artistic cues.
This activity has been designed and created by Muriel Farmer, MA Candidate Nova Scotia College of Art.
Curriculum Notes: Activity participants will explore line, texture, value, and 2 and 3 dimensional spaces. Line and value are also explored by retracing a variety of lines including hatching for shading. Designed for Grades 7-8 (Age 12-14 years).
paper or sketchbook
pen or marker
This activity is inspired by two portraits by Tom Thomson, a self portrait and Study of a Woman's Head. Participants will be able to investigate different types of lines in portraiture ny exploring contour lines. The first activity is a challenge for participants to to trace Tom Thomson's portraits, and then recreate the portraits from memory with the reference out of sight. The second activity provides an opportunity for participants to observe details from three dimensional references (partners as models) and try to draw facial features and accessory details without looking on the paper.
Explore the portraits
What does Thomson have in his mouth? Why do you think he chose to add an object? How do objects portray a person's personality?
What type of materials do you think Tom Thomson used to create these portraits?
Who do you think is the woman? What do you think she is wearing? Where do you think she will go after modelling? What type of emotions are being expressed? What do you think Tom Thomson and the woman have on their mind.
Tracing and Memory Activity
Take a piece of tracing paper and set it on top of a print out of one of the portraits. With
your pencil trace Tom Thomson's lines. Follow his squiggly lines on the woman's clothes.
Did you notice how he used lines in different directors for shading?
Look at the tracings you have made, try to memorize them. When you are finished put the
images out of view. Now try to draw the portraits from memory. Do you remember the shapes of the faces? Were they oval or square?Did you remember the smoke from the pipe?
Did you remember their facial expressions?
Ask a friend or family member to be your model for this activity. Look at their hair, what
type of lines will you make to show texture? Do they have straight or curly hair? Are they
wearing any accessories like glasses or earrings?
Look at your model and draw their face without looking at the paper. Try to include details
like their hair and accessories. Don't forget to go slow and take your time when drawing.
What type of emotion does your model show? Are they smiling?
Try different positions for your sketching such as a side profile!
Share your creations with us @TomThomsonArtGallery
For more information on Tom Thomson visit this link