In our family, we really love Shakespeare. We may not always understand what the heck we’re reading, but we’ll look it up and either laugh or roll our eyes – or continue to plod along in our blissful ignorance.
You see, I’ve always adored English Literature (I actually switched my major in college from Interior Design to English Lit) so making sure my kids had a good grasp on Shakespeare was important to me from the very beginning of our homeschooling adventure.
We’ve read the plays, acted them out, watched the movie versions, and most importantly, attended ‘live’ performances on a regular basis. (For some FUN ideas to teach Shakespeare to your kids, pop over to my other blog, Flourish.)
We even have our own little “Bard” — (yeah, we’re that family):
So, I thought it would be fun to show you how to create your own little Bard. (I mean, who doesn’t want that gorgeous face staring at them everyday?!?!) Forget about Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Oberon, Titania and Puck… I’ve created a step-by-step tutorial of a mixed media “portrait” of the man himself!
Gather your art supplies and let’s pay homage to the Bard of Avon…
You will need:
- 8×10 canvas or canvas panel (these are cheap to keep on hand)
- Acrylic paints in the colors of your choice (these are my favorite “student grade” paints)
- Decorative papers and/or pages from an old book
- Mod Podge
- Paint brushes and/or sponge brush
- Black Micron artist pen or extra-fine Sharpie
- Sharpie Marker (white, water-based)
- Shakespeare PDF
Step 1: Paint the background of your canvas in the color of your choice. Allow to dry.
Step 2: Trace PDF image of Shakespeare onto papers of your choice, then cut out. (I used a page from an old Oxford Shakespeare book for his head, and various other decorative paper scraps for his clothing.)
Optional: Cut out rectangle and/or oval out of decorative papers to further decorate your canvas.
Arrange the cutouts on your canvas to make sure you’re happy with the composition.
Step 3: Begin adhering the layers to your canvas with Mod Podge. Allow to dry. (Yes, there will be wrinkles in your papers. Embrace the wrinkles – mixed media is fun and whimsical, not perfect and boring!) 😉
Step 4: When canvas is completely dry, begin painting in his face, hair, and clothing with acrylic paints, and outline him with your black pen. Once again, don’t try to make your painting perfect, just have fun adding features and details. Your Bard can be stiff and boring or crazy and flamboyant!
Step 5: Add your favorite Shakespeare quote if you’d like. Just type it up in Word and print it out, cut it down to size and Mod Podge it to your canvas. (I chose the words of Polonius in Hamlet Act 1, scene 3: “This above all: to thine own self be true.”) Allow to dry.
Step 6: Finally, take your white Sharpie marker and go back over your work adding highlights wherever you’d like (don’t forget the eyes). Also, using your black pen, outline your quote with wispy, uneven lines, and make any “fixes” you’d like.
Then hang your beautiful “Bard Art” someplace special so that he can look creepily at you all day long, and make you feel a bit artsy and a bit highbrow!
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*Linking up with my friends at iHomeschool Network for April Birthday Lessons.
Alisha Gratehouse is an artist, art instructor, minister’s wife, and homeschooling mom of three. Her days are filled with creating, painting, writing, drinking lots of tea, laughing with (and at) her family, and spontaneously bursting forth into song. Alisha is the author of several books including, A Life That Flourishes.