Body Self Portrait

The body is a tool that we use to explore the world around us. It grants us the ability to touch, see, smell, and hear all of the intricate beauties of life. Our body also takes on immense amounts of stress, whether it is physical, mental or emotional, our bodies are affected. It is important that we take care of them and understand how much we can learn from them.

Children are always touching things and getting into messes, and it's all simply because they are exploring and trying to make sense of what is around them. While I was in Thailand, I worked with an children from an orphanage. While we were there we completed a workshop that required them to trace their bodies and draw inside. We wanted them to focus on their eyes, mouth, ears, nose, etc. This allowed them to explore the creative process of drawing and creating a self portrait.

The reason I wanted to share this workshop with you is that it can be done with all ages, even adults. Working Outside the Box, an article written by Lynne Shallcross in 2011, describes how expressive art therapies are using this activity to "represent the inner turmoil, pain or traumas that may currently be negatively influencing one's life", It allows them to tell their embodied story via creative expression. Unlike the orphanage example, participants are asked to draw and paint their feelings, body parts, anything inside of the outline. This allows the participant to work through their life experiences and sense of self.

It is amazing that one activity can be used for so many different groups of people and can have different purposes as well.

To read the article:


Learning Objectives: Students will learn about the elements of the art form including:

  1. To play with line, colour and composition

  2. Free hand drawing

  1. Spatial organization: patterns, repetition

  2. The language of visual arts: shapes – rounded and angular