Self Portrait Art Lesson for Elementary Students: Nate Williams



Below you’ll find an easy step-by-step tutorial video for a self portrait art lesson for elementary students. It mixes very simple profile drawings with creative writing, and was inspired by an amazing artist and illustrator, Nate Williams.

Nate Williams Self Portrait

Nate Williams Tutorial Video

This self portrait art lesson for elementary students was inspired by the artist Nate Williams. It asks students to draw a simple profile of themselves and fill it with simple descriptive words. Variations of the hair and clothes are encouraged, but the basic idea is to literally fill their head with things that are important to them. Nate Williams is an artist and designer who creates illustrations and hand lettering for magazines, books, packaging and advertising. His clients have included some pretty famous names, like the Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Target, New York Times and Coca Cola. Nate’s whimsical style of drawing is perfect for young artists to imitate because it is so simple, yet so creative. You can check out more of Nate’s work on his website HERE.

The one tip I would emphasize is that the portraits look best when the letters are as big and varied as they possibly can be. Students can use initial caps, all caps, cursive, any style at all. This is one time when they can break away from all the writing “rules” they usually follow, and try something new. As a teacher, I would go so far as to give students extra credit for every different lettering style that shows up in their drawing. A lack of emphasis about this will tend to have them go on auto pilot when writing, and fill in each area the same way, as if writing on ruled paper. This is one time to encourage them to literally get creative with their writing.

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Nate Williams Boy Coloring Page

self portrait art lesson for elementary students Coloring page, available as a free download.

Nate Williams Girl Coloring Page

self portrait art lesson for elementary students Coloring page, available as a free download.

Materials for a Nate Williams Portrait

  • Drawing Paper. This is the good stuff you can buy in bulk for a good price.
  • Pencils. Don’t waste your money on the cheapest brand. These make nice dark lines.
  • Black Marker. A permanent marker will give you a nice dark black color.
  • Crayons. I like this non-toxic brand that is made from beeswax, not petroleum by-products.
  • Note: All of the above are Amazon affiliate links.

Directions for a Nate Williams Portrait

More Self Portrait Art Lesson for Elementary Students

back to school art projects
My Goals Self Portrait
Portrait drawing for kids
Half Portrait Tutorial
Draw Like Picasso

Student Inspiration

Cards by Maddic, age 5 and Clark, age 6
Self Portrait with markers, crayons and watercolor, by Kayla, grade 4



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