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Students will create work based on the art of New York Based contemporary portrait painter Kehinde Wiley. Students will be able to create their own patterns, use a grid system to enlarge a drawing, and create a self portrait using graphite.


In this lesson students will...

-  create a self portrait in graphite.

-  be able to create a value scale in graphite and understand the use of value in their self portrait.

-  understand pattern and be able to make their own.

-  be able to create and use a grid system to enlarge a drawing.

-  be introduced to the art of Kehinde Wiley and be able to compare techniques in his work to their own. 

Tools & Materials

- Pencils
- Markers
- 8.5 x 11 in Printer Paper
- Two sheets of drawing paper (Larger than 8.5 x 11in, grid can be adapted for available supplies.)
- Camera
- Printer
- Transfer paper


Kehinde Wiley - A New York-based African American portrait painter who is known for his highly naturalistic paintings of African Americans in heroic poses.

Graphite - A gray, crystalline, allotropic form of carbon that occurs as a mineral in some rocks. It is used as a solid lubricant, in pencils, and as a moderator in nuclear reactors.

Grid technique in portraiture - In portraiture, a grid is used to create a map for the artist to draw the figure block by block.

Contemporary - "Right Now". A contemporary artist is an artist that is working right now.


1. During the first days of this lesson, the student will see a presentation on the art of Kehinde Wiley. The student will use these days to explore pattern and create a sketch of a pattern that they want to use on their final piece.

2. Students will use one of the large pieces of drawing paper to finalize, draw, and color their final pattern. The pattern needs to fill up the entire page and be colored with marker. (You could also use watercolor or paint depending on the grade you're adapting this lesson for.)

3. When the pattern portion of the project is complete, the student will be taken in the hall and a photo will be taken of this student. This photo will then be printed out.


4. The students will be instructed on how to lay the photo on top of transfer paper and create a contour line drawing. They will be shown how to trace their important features to aide in drawing their portrait.

5. When this is done students will use a ruler to create a one inch grid over their drawing.


6. Students will label the grid on one side with letters and one side with numbers to create a coordination system.


7. Students will then be instructed how to use their grid system to draw their photo using graphite pencil.


8. After the contour lines are copied they will be shown how to create value using graphite and create a value scale.

9. When students have completed their portrait they will cut it out and place it on the bottom of the drawing paper that was inked or painted with pattern. They will be instructed to cut out pieces of their pattern to overlay over their portrait, much like Kehinde does in his work. 

10. The student will glue all pieces of their portrait down and attach their overlay.

South Carolina Visual Arts Standards

Standard 1: The student will demonstrate competence in the use of ideas, materials, techniques,
and processes in the creation of works of visual art.

VAH2-1.1 Recognize and analysis the similarities and differences between materials, techniques,
and processes in works of visual art.

VAH2-1.4 Apply materials, techniques, and processes with skill, confidence, and sensitively
sufficient to make his or her intentions observable in the artwork he or she creates.

Standard 3 The students ill examine the content of works of visual art and use elements from them in creating his or her own works.

VAH2-3.2 Explore the sources of the subject matter and the ideas in a variety of works of visual


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