Term: 3 Year: 2009
During Term 3, 2008 at Milgate Primary School, Level 3 students explored the qualities of charcoal and used their
imagination to draw some ‘Aussie Faces’ in the shape of the map of Australia.
This task tied in with the Level 3 Integrated unit “We are Australian”, that they were studying in their
When introducing this new art project to the Level 3 classes, I began by showing them an example that I had created
– a large profile of an oddly shaped face filled in with Charcoal and detail. I then informed them that they would
be drawing a picture of a face like mine, as part of their Integrated Unit. I asked them, “What do you think
this drawing has to do with the theme “We are Australian?” Some students looked at each other blankly,
while some started to examine the work sample with their heads to the side. Soon I had hands shooting up high, excitedly
waiting for me to pick them to answer “If you look on the side, the face is in the shape of Australia!!!”
I originally came up with the idea of turning the map of Australia into a face profile when looking through an art
book that had used a small map of Australia as Santa’s beard. It dawned upon me that it would be fun and interesting
to use large Map cardboard templates I had already purchased from Zart Art, to make an unusual profile of a face.
When students were informed briefly of the whole process involved to create their ‘Aussie Face’, they
were very excited and eager to get started. This was because they had the guideline in the form of a shape (the map)
which gave them direction, but rarely do they get the freedom to let their imagination go berserk!!
The process to make the Aussie Face was as follows
*Turn the Zart Art template of Australia on its side and trace around the outline with a grey lead.
*Decide what side of Australia to use as the side of the face e.g. Nose, mouth and chin etc.
*Adapt the shape of Australia slightly so it becomes recognisable but not exactly the same. This meant shaping the
nose, chin, mouth and hair outline.
*The next step was to add facial features such as eyes, eyebrows, lips, teeth, an ear and any other suitable features.
Initially I asked students to make a human face, but as their imagination went wild, they were soon requesting monsters,
aliens etc. I allowed students to have some free reign and let their imagination and creativity run wild.
*At this point students started to use dark, pitted charcoal to create a hard-edged, crisp outline around the face.
They were then able to outline the smaller features inside.
*Once students had their outlines done, they then decided, using their new knowledge of tones and tonal values, how
they were going to fill it in with charcoal. This included smudging, dragging, blending and making lines with charcoal.
*The last step was to carefully cut out the whole face shape and glue it on to the background.
To guide students, I showed them techniques for making dark, mid and light tones, as well as white highlights using
charcoal. I informed students of the different types of charcoal and their qualities, and what they were ideal to
use for on areas of the face. We also had discussions about how details tend to ‘pop’ when we outline
them, and that sometimes a little bit of white showing can make a picture look effective. When creating the tone
in their face drawing, students were asked to think of it as a black and white photograph with blacks, greys and
whites. This helped them to remember to mix the darkness and lightness up a bit.
The results were very pleasing, students were able to indulge in their creativity, learn about tones and the qualities of
charcoal including smudging, blending as well as creating textural components by dragging it on its side. All in
all they enjoyed the messiness of charcoal (which they were relatively new to using) and its quick results when filling
in shapes. The students particularly enjoyed drawing extra features and components on their basic face shape, adding
features such as teeth, tongues and other added detail. The students are very proud of their Aussie Faces!
Visual Arts Teacher
Millgate Primary School