Thursday, 19 February 2015



Tudor Portraits - Artist Study of Hans Holbein the Younger

During Term 3, my years 3 and 4 art group have been learning about the Tudors through their class text The Thief, The Fool and The Bog Fat King. The book is set in the court of King Henry the VIII. I took this opportunity to introduce the children to the work of Hans Holbein and take a close look at his portraits. By studying Holbein the children were introduced to not just Henry the VIII but his wives and children too.
We spent most of the first session looking at his work and completing some of the activities from my posts about how to engage children in looking at art. My classroom Facebook display also featured Holbein during this term. We played Ping Pong Critic (please see earlier posts) and looked for textures and lines in his work. Then the children had to recreate a portrait of one of Tudor family members.
I used the task to encourage the use of light sketchy lines to begin their work as many children especially in year 3 still press very hard with their pencils initially. We also looked at drawing facial features by sectioning the face in a cross and where to draw the nose from.
I did limit the children to using colouring pencils to add colour and texture as I felt that felt tip pens would destroy their opportunities to add texture. I know most children love using felt tips but they can easily ruin a piece of work if the children press to hard on thin paper it can create holes. Colouring pencils are much easier hen wanting to  create value and texture. Felt tips can to be blended.
You could extend the project by asking the children to create a pencil portrait then recreate it or up scale it using view finders then ask them to paint their portraits but it will depend on how much time you want to spend on a project. For the pencil drawings alone we spent two sessions (one hour a session).
Finally I created a Tudor display board of their finished portraits. I have found a great website which I have added to my useful website lists. is great for lettering for displays and has become my latest obsession. I have also updated the list with other websites I regularly use for displays.