Self-Portraits vs. Selfies
With the popularity of social media, we live in a society that has become “selfie-obsessed.” Selfies allow individuals to manipulate an image of themselves as they strive to achieve the perfect rendition of how they want others to see them. For many, these images of self are used as a way to receive validation from their social circles. The big difference between selfies and self-portraits is, in general, we create a self-portrait that reflects how we see ourselves, not how we want others to see us. By studying our reflection, we become more aware of what makes us truly unique and special. Self-portraits allow us to explore the concept of self, and are a personal way for us to express ourselves.
Children and Self-Portraiture
Beginning at a young age, children practice drawing what they see. In many cases, children reflect what they see in their homes (e.g., family members) in their early artwork. Children who are just discovering who they are enjoy creating a representation of themselves on paper. Why is this an important activity for our children? For starters, drawing at a young age helps develop fine motor skills, as well as increases our ability to observe and focus. So when we ask them to create their self-portrait, we are getting a look at (even at a very basic level) their sense of self. Basically, we are able to see them the way that they see themselves. We are looking at our child through their eyes. In addition, drawing ourselves is a key part of learning and childhood development. Here are some important reasons why you should encourage your child to create their self-portrait.
- Drawing a self-portrait forces your child to spend time studying their reflection. We all look different, and differences can be a great thing. By focusing on what makes them unique, children learn what makes them special.
- Children learn basic math skill development such as shape recognition when they create a self-portrait.
- Children learn to represent themselves in a way that shows us what is important to them. For example, a very happy child may draw themselves with a smile that spreads from ear to ear. A child who likes having a face filled with freckles may exaggerate the beautiful spots on her face. Children will see the beauty in their reflection as they take the time to replicate it on paper.
- Self-portraiture teaches children about differences. Viewing self-portraits made by other children can teach our children to respect the differences in our appearances.
- Children learn from history. Over centuries, many great artists have reflected on their own image and how they see themselves. As your child works on creating their own self-portrait, it’s important to show them samples of some of the great artists of our time, such as Vincent Van Gogh or Pablo Picasso, and how those artists chose to represent themselves in their art.
- Practicing self-portraiture over time can show your child how they are changing. Their faces are getting longer. Their cheeks are becoming less round. Their eyes are becoming sharper.
- Practicing self-portraiture is a way for children to learn to appreciate their own beauty.