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Käthe Kolwitz, Self Portrait with Supported Head, 1989-91

In this post, you’ll find lessons and activities that focus on exploring facial expressions and conveying emotion throughout different media, including drawing, collage, and assemblage sculpture.  

Understanding and depicting facial expressions is crucial for students as it enhances their ability to interpret emotions, fosters empathy, and enriches their visual storytelling skills. By noticing how features change as expressions shift, students can learn to convey these emotions effectively in their artwork, deepening their connection to the feelings and lives of others.  

Käthe Kollowitz: Expressing Emotions 
Find inspiration in Käthe Kollwitz’s portraits which vividly express the emotions of her subjects. Then, draw your own facial expressions that convey a range of emotions, while observing the subtle changes in features. 

Collage Masks: All About Us 
Masks allow us to explore different characters and emotions. What kind of expression would you like to show? In this activity, use torn shapes to create masks with various facial expressions and explore how different shapes can come together to depict emotions.  

Assemblage Sculptures 
How do artists transform everyday materials to make expressive sculptures? In this unit, students will explore found objects and create assemblage sculptures that convey emotion through facial expressions. 

Daily Sketch: What do our hands really look like? 
Humans express themselves in many ways, including through hand gestures. In this lesson, closely observe and draw your hand. Then, try drawing it in an expressive gesture and consider how its position conveys different feelings.