Full Computer Lab Lesson Plan

Self-Portrait Collage in Photoshop


Grade Level/Age: 7th Grader/12-13 years old

Time Needed: 5 Days


Photoshop can be used to create very expressive and original images. The students will explore and learn aspects of this program that will enable them to make a unique image. 



A.) The student will demonstrate use of a variety of tools, materials and techniques in media arts based on the characteristics of the hardware and software.

B.) The student will analyze how the principles of visual art, such as repetition, pattern, emphasis, contrast and balance are used in the creation, presentation of, or response to visual artworks.

C.) The student will have a better understanding of digital art and media techniques.


Motivational Resources:

Posters and postcards of collage or self-portraits that were designed digitally, books on Photoshop (beginners) and collage


Art Materials:

Paper, pencils, scanner, Mac computer, Photoshop, flash drive and disks for saving work, image bank (consisting of various textures and patterns prepared ahead of time)


Introduction to the Lesson:

Throughout history collage can be found from the paper and fabric glued together by ancient Japanese calligraphers to Italian painters working with jewels and gilded paper in their works. Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque are generally given credit for beginning collage in fine art as we know it today. These artists desired a more real form of painting and decided to incorporate objects and images that were from their day-to-day lives such as newspapers, hair, and old matchbooks among other things. This led to other artists using objects in three dimensional collage works. For example, Robert Rauschenberg created works that he called "combines" which are essentially three-dimensional collages, because they consist of a variety of objects acting as one piece. Even though traditionally collage is looked at as the gluing or pasting of multiple pieces of paper together and in fact comes from the French word "coller" meaning to paste or glue, Rauschenberg looked at collage as the piecing together of other objects.


Collage is seen in both two and three dimensional work, but today a lot of it is seen in digital work. One of the basic tools used to create digital collage is the program Photoshop because it allows the user to work with various layers of imagery. This is not unlike traditional collage methods. Tools the students will focus on learning will be the move tool, brush, eyedropper, paint bucket, magic wand, rectangle, and zoom. Each one does something different. The move tool can move layers and other objects while the rectangle tool is used to create rectangles by default. Other shapes can be created besides rectangles, and the brush tool lets the user paint free form objects. The paint bucket is great for filling in spaces with color, and the eyedropper is used to pick up previously used shades and tones. When those blocks of color have been made the students will find that the magic wand will help them to easily select them in order to move them around for their collage. Zooming in and out of the image can also be a great tool to understand because it allows for the opportunity to have more precise lines and sharper images. Photoshop is a great program that offers a variety of options for creating imagery and once learned it opens up many possibilities.


Instructional Procedure for Art Making:

Day One: Today is an introductory day for the students, so the main focus will be on a Photoshop tutorial. First there will be a ten-minute presentation on the history of collage. This will include pictures of works by Picasso, Braque, and Rauschenberg. Then they will follow along at their own computers as we go over the main Photoshop tools we will be using: move, brush, eyedropper, paint bucket, magic wand, rectangle, and zoom. The images they will be working on for the day will be created as they follow along and experiment will the tools. If after the tutorial there is time have the students continue to become comfortable with the tools. Explain that for the next class period they will be working on a self-portrait collage and they should come prepared with ideas.


Day Two: This is a student work day. Have Photoshop open on all computers and make sure that before they arrive all motivational resources are made available or on display. Also have the image bank pulled up on each computer. Explain that if they would like to begin with a hand drawing or outline that there are paper and pencils available and the images can be scanned in. All scanning should be done today so the students have all of next class period to work in Photoshop. Allow ten minutes to fifteen minutes for saving work to a class flash drive.


Day Three: Again, have the classroom set up like the previous day for the students before they arrive. Today is a work day. Allow ten minutes to fifteen minutes for saving work to a class flash drive.


            Day Four: Follow day three procedure.


Day Five: Today is the final day of the project. Each student will pull up their own work on their computer and then the class will get a chance to walk around and see each other's work. Then when they have finished with that have them take out a piece of paper and write down what they learned about collage and Photoshop through doing this project. After they have finished go around the room and have each person share one thing that they've learned with the class. Make sure all work is saved to the flash drive and to collect all the papers. 





The students will be creating collaged images using Photoshop to create self portraits so the final image should appear to be a portrait. While creating the images they should use a variety of Photoshop tools as well as relevant hardware used such as scanners. The students should also display knowledge of the principles of visual art within their own work and within the written critique of their work. They will also share one thing they learned about Photoshop with the class. Over the few days of the project the student should show a good amount of effort put into the assignment.


DBAE Checklist:

            Art History: Media and Collage Art

            Art Production:  Collage (in Photoshop)

Aesthetics: Learn to create original collage imagery using Photoshop tools

Art Criticism: Written paragraph




"Collage History." <http://www.sunnyday.org/art_lesson_plans/collage_history.htm>.


Krieg, Susan. A brief history complied by Susan Krieg-Collage Artist.



"Robert Rauschenberg-About the Artist." PBS.org.



WordPress. Tommy Maloney. "Photoshop Tool Basics." Photoshop Lab. Posting.



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This page contains a single entry by joh03509 published on December 21, 2009 9:15 PM.

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