Chuck Close-Inspired Self Portrait

Lesson Plan, Grades 6-12, Art, Science, Painting


Lesson Plan and Artwork by Ed Leary

This lesson is a study of iconic portraits by artist Chuck Close. These align with the dedication of student artists in the development of their style. As a specific learner in art, they will be further motivated by producing a portrait infused with the knowledge and practice of his specific "grid work" images.


  • Students will gain further understanding in the creation of portrait painting using "grid work" images, including the limitations, color relationships, skills and the integration of "parts into a whole" concept.

Supplies Needed

Liquitex® Non-Toxic Classic Dry Acrylic Paint Set, 2 oz. Tubes, Set of 12
Liquitex® Long-handle Value Brush Set, Assorted Sizes, Set of 5
Liquitex® Standard Length Handles, Set of 6
Tara® Stretched Canvas, 12"x16", Pack of 3
Saral® Wax-Free Transfer Paper, Graphite Black, 12 1/2"x12' roll
*Here are the supplies needed for this lesson plan for reference. Find a convenient carousel of shoppable products for this lesson below.


Anchor Standard #2: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
Anchor Standard #3: Refine and complete artistic work.
Anchor Standard #5: Develop and refine artistic work for presentation.
Anchor Standard #10: Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to art.



After researching the artistic style and technique of "grid work" images, take a selfie, choosing an image that can be best used to align to this artistic idea: One that features a unique look, a bright smile or the way glasses are worn, etc.


Once a selfie has been chosen, make an enlargement of it, and draw a grid pattern onto it.


Using a grid pattern of enlargement with transfer paper, position the enlargement and trace onto the canvas.


Select a color pallet that you feel comfortable with and one that has a wide range of intensities and values that you have used before.


Start to paint in the grid squares, keeping the "family of colors" consistent. Note: Don't stray with colors all over the color wheel.


After painting is completely dry (48 hours) add a layer of gloss medium to protect the finished piece.