Reverse Acetate Portraits ~ Year 5-6 Art lesson

Once I worked how to do a reverse acetate portrait, I got Year 5/6’s to do one; the Year 6’s were displayed at Graduation. This is a relatively easy process and in most cases successful! Win-win!

Students were photographed to include head and shoulders to the chest, and printed out in black and white on A4 paper. Next, a piece of acetate was taped (just at the top) over the photograph, so they could lift it up and flip it over.

Using a black permanent marker (we used Fine Point Sharpies) students trace around their face and features, hair, clothing, etc, and if they flip the acetate over so it is on top of the back of the photo (white paper) they will see if they have missed any lines. If not they leave it flipped over- photo will be face down and this is the REVERSE of the acetate sheet- the side that you paint on. Their outline is on the other side (the front).

On this reverse side of the acetate, students used either warm or cool colours to paint just the hair, clothing and lips and eyebrows if they wanted. They could mix colours and add white; best to do a second coat so that the paint is not transparent. Of course you can use other colour schemes- primary, complementary, analogous. We didn’t have a lot of time left for colour theory!

Next step it to make some painted paper in the opposite colourway than the portrait (cool>warm, warm>cool). You could use gelli plates to make prints, but we just painted the paper, and whilst wet used texture combs to drag through the paint to create something interesting lines ( wavy, swirly, straight) and blending different colours a little.

WARM COLOURED PAINTED PAPER USING TEXTURE COMBS

All that needs to be done to complete the reverse acetate portraits is to slip the painted paper under the acetate sheet (the painted side is on the reverse). I left the photo attached and for display, a card frame was added plus a backing sheet, and Yr 6 students decorated it with their name and the year for Graduation.

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