Begin class by showing students slides or pictures of painted portraits. This will work best if the students do not know the subjects of the paintings. You might do this by projecting images onto a screen or by taking students to the local museum or art gallery. Also, it is not necessary to use portraits, just as long as the paintings represent individuals in some kind of environment. The focus of this lesson is going to be composition, or how to represent three dimensions on a two–dimensional plane. For each portrait, have students write down their impressions of the subject: Who are they? What is their occupation? What are their interests? Where are they from? Where are they going? Have students discuss their impressions of each subject with a partner.
How do we represent three dimensions in two–dimensional space? How does a symbol work in a piece of visual art? In literature? How are compositional elements in painting and writing similar? How are they different?
by David B., pp. 17–27
What are David's and Jean Christophe's interests and fascinations? What do their interests tell us about their personalities? Why does David fixate on his grandfather's experiences in World War I? Why is Jean Christophe obsessed with Hitler? What sorts of visual symbols does the author use in this excerpt?
Homework – Drawing Exercise 8
Create another self–portrait, but this time place yourself in the middle of some kind of scene or action. Include details that symbolize different facets of your personality. Your picture should tell a story about you, just like the portraits we saw at the beginning of class.