NESA is regularly updating its advice as the coronavirus outbreak unfolds. Get our latest COVID-19 advice

This webpage has been archived to prepare for transfer to the new NESA website. Reference to syllabus outcomes and content on this webpage may not be current. Teachers are encouraged to visit the Key Learning Area page for recent student work samples on the NESA website.

Assessment Resource Centre (ARC)

  1. Stage 3
  2. Creative Arts
  3. Activities
  4. Visual Arts: Cubist inspired self-portrait
Print this page Reduce font size Increase font size

Visual Arts: Cubist inspired self-portrait

Grade Work Samples
End of Stage 3 (end of Year 6)
Grade A Pat  
Grade B Taylor  
Grade C Ricky  
Grade D Frances   Shannon  
New Work Samples

Foundation Statement strands

The following strands are covered in this activity:

Visual Arts

Description of activity

Students create a cubist-inspired self-portrait.

  1. Students sketch an impression of their own face from two viewpoints (profile and frontal view) on each half of a page. The two viewpoints meet or overlap in the centre of the page.
  2. They use shapes to represent some facial features and also use line to displace alignment of these features.
  3. Students then decide to use either the 'blue' (melancholic) or 'pink' (cheerful) period of Picasso’s career on which to focus their own work.
  4. They use the chosen 'blue' or 'pink' period to influence their use of line, composition, design and texture to help reflect these moods.
  5. Students then colour their work according to the identified period, focusing on the balance between harmonious and contrasting colours to guide the viewer’s eye, and the use of tone and light.
  6. They fill the face and background with colour.
  7. Students then spray their work with hairspray or fixative to seal the colours and prevent them from smudging.

Suggested extension activities

  1. Students write a description of their own (or another’s) artwork, including information about how tone, line, colour, composition and materials have been used and arranged.
  2. Students name a technique that they (or the artist) have/has used to represent subject matter in the artwork and explain how they made it, (or may have made it), and the effect the technique has on the meaning of the work.

Suggested materials

Reference to the works of Picasso and other cubist artists, large art paper (A3), lead pencils, erasers, black crayons/charcoal, warm and cool colours (chalk, pastels, craypas), hairspray/workable fixative and protective sheeting or newspaper.

Prior learning

This activity is a small part of a unit that involved research about famous artists and their styles or movements in artmaking. The Visual Arts focus in this unit is on students' experiences in creating, modeling and using various techniques to develop their understanding about colour, tone and representation of subject matter in their own and others’ artmaking. Students have an understanding of how different visual qualities (colours, tones, shapes, lines etc) and techniques can affect the overall mood of a work, and how this can ultimately influence the audience’s response to the work. Students have been exposed to the work of Picasso, including his portraits, as well as the works and techniques of other artists. They have made expressive and abstract artworks. Students have been encouraged to express themselves and explore various moods through their use of line and colour as an alternative to representing things exactly as they appear. Teachers or guest artists have modeled portraits of other teachers in keeping with the style of the task, as an introduction to the activity.


Making (VAS3.2)
Makes artworks for different audiences assembling materials in a variety of ways.

(Extension Activities)
Appreciating (VAS3.4)
Communicates about the ways in which subject matter is represented in artworks

Criteria for assessing learning

Students will be assessed on their:

  • use of different artistic concepts (eg colour, tone, light, scale) and exploration of how these may be used as symbols to represent selected subject matter
  • investigation and manipulation of different painting and drawing techniques to represent the subject matter of portraits in a Cubist style.
Print this page Reduce font size Increase font size