Shirley Huller White

Grade 8: Art Education

This lesson was developed in association with art educator Alethea Roy.

All lessons presented here implement project and inquiry-based learning strategies, and meet or exceed Massachusetts Arts Curriculum Framework standards.

Artwork presented here may NOT be reproduced in any way.

Art Lesson/Unit: Grade Level 8

Self-Portrait: Digital Photography and Art

Enduring Understandings:

  • Artists sometimes use photographs to create a collage: this is called a photo montage.
  • Artists sometimes manipulate a photograph with painterly techniques and other media: this is called a photo illustration.
  • Artists may use digital photography, computers and software like Photoshop to plan, design and create a work of art.

Essential Questions:

  • How may you interpret the use of photo montage and photo illustration techniques to create a digital self-portrait with a strong design, concept or theme?
  • How may you research traditional or digital imagery to inspire your self-portrait?
  • How may you use digital photography and Photoshop software to create your self-portrait?

Exemplars and Inspirations:

This lesson is inspired by historical and contemporary examples of photo montage and photo illustration.

Materials and Techniques:

Use of Photoshop skills to alter imagery: selection tools, cropping, filters, transforming size/proportion, altering color, contrast, etc.


  • Students may choose a structured theme or work spontaneously
  • Students are encouraged to experiment with process