Create an Inner Self-Portrait

  • You have probably drawn plenty of pictures of yourself, but have you ever drawn a picture of your inside self?

    If you think about it, that’s where the most interesting things are happening — all of those thoughts and feelings that make you totally unique, and that very few people ever get to see…

    …until now!

  • Thank you to the amazing Beth Haidle for creating this project and sharing it with us. Beth is an artist, a musical saw player (yes, that’s a thing!) and the creative director for Illustoria Magazine, which we highly recommend.


  • STEP 1 OF 9

    First, here are some supplies that will come in handy:

    Paper or a journal for writing down ideas

    White paper (heavier paper is best if you’ll be painting) for your portrait

    Colored pencils


    Crayons or oil pastels

    Optional: Watercolor paints and a paint brush

    Totally optional: graphite sticks or chalk



  • STEP 2 OF 9

    Okay, ready to get started?

    First, on a piece of paper or in your journal, write a list of words that describe what you are feeling. They could be your feelings right at this moment, or feelings you’ve had recently.

    Here are some examples, and you can find A LOT more examples on this great big list of “feeling words”:


    You can also try coming up with unique ways of describing your feelings, like “cloudy” instead of confused, or “bouncy” instead of excited.


  • STEP 3 OF 9

    Next, write down what you’ve been thinking about lately. Here are some examples:

    Math test

    You can also write longer thoughts like:
    I want a cat
    I miss my friends
    I have 1000 things to do!
    I can’t wait until Friday!

    If a totally random word pops into your brain, write it down! That’s the wonderful thing about our minds — we never know what they’ll come up with. Why did I just think “cactus pudding”? I have no idea but I am writing it down!


  • STEP 4 OF 9

    Next, draw a large circle on your paper to represent your head. Underneath your head, draw your neck and shoulders.


  • STEP 5 OF 9

    Now look over your list of feelings and thoughts and circle the ones you want to include in your inner self-portrait. You can choose all of them or just some of them.

    How many did you circle? That’s how many sections you will need to divide your head shape into.


  • STEP 6 OF 9

    You can use a ruler or the edge of a book if you want to make your lines straight, but don’t worry about getting them perfect. The best art is imperfect.

    Once you have your sections drawn, you can fill them in with your colored pencils, markers, paints or chalks. It’s a good idea to think about what you’ll be using to write your words. If you are using markers, for example, be sure that the background colors you choose are light enough that your words will show up on top.


  • STEP 7 OF 9

    It’s now time to fill in each section with the words from your list. Experimenting with different lettering can be fun, or maybe you want all of your words to look the same. You’re the artist so it’s up to you!

    You can also choose to create a key by numbering your sections and writing your words down in a list like in the second photo below.

  • STEP 8 OF 9

    When you’re finished it can be nice to share your inner self-portrait with others. Who knows, maybe you’ll find that they have some of the same thoughts and feelings inside of them.


  • STEP 9 OF 9

    Want to share your inner self-portrait with us too? We would love that!