Tobin Herringshaw
Upper School Instructor

Character Analysis Silhouette Project

Project Published 4/3/17 Last updated on 3/2/20

Goal: This project will ask students to use critical thinking and visual analysis skills to create a collage silhouette of a character from literature using Adobe Photoshop.

Learning Objectives:

  • Practice critical thinking skills
  • Practice visual analysis skills
  • Learn basic Adobe Photoshop skills including layers, masks, selection tools and file management
  • Learn about Creative Commons and copyright laws to be good digital citizens
  • Practice creativity by producing an original collage portrait

Time: This project will need 2-5 hours of class time to complete

Sequence: The project is best done through this sequence of events:

  • Students are introduced to the project
  • Students and teacher discuss visual analysis and how to connect character attributes to a image either directly or through symbols
  • Students are given time to think of and list character attributes and corresponding imagery
  • Students are introduced to copyright law and Creative Commons as well as how to use Google Images to find images they can use without breaking copyright law
  • Students are given time either in class or outside of class to look up images on Google Images and save them to a folder on their Google Drive
  • Students are given a brief tutorial on how to use Adobe Photoshop in class
  • Students are given time to work on the project in class
  • Students can be given more time to work on the project in class or assigned as homework outside of class (the media lab is available before and after school or during flex periods)
  • Once completed, students then write a short paper on the individual choices of their images, and how they connect to the character attributes, displaying that they know their character well
  • Finally, students present their collage images to the class, giving a brief presentation of the images and why they chose those images.
  • Photoshop

    Editing and compositing for photos, web and mobile app designs, 3D artwork, videos, and more.

Age Levels
1+ Week
ISTE Standards
Students: Creative Communicator, Students: Digital Citizen, Students: Innovative Designer, Students: Knowledge Constructor


White Wall/Background

Adobe Photoshop

Internet Browser (Chrome suggested)

Computer good enough to run Photoshop

Knowledge of Creative Commons licensing and how to use Google Images to locate only Creative Commons images.

CC License
Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
5 / 5 • 3 Ratings

Resources (9)

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Comments (6)

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Michael Sakowicz

Posted on 2/24/18 2:35:36 PM Permalink

Let me first say that I feel this project is fantastic. Our school, departments and myself love to mix content areas and when we can involve literacy, it is a huge plus.

I very effectively used your idea for an assignment with my students (9-12 grade Digital Media). I first explained what a silhouette is, then I had them research a famous literary author or character, and then we brought it all together in PS with a basic black outline shape to create the silhouette.

The students were able to find lots of great imagery on the character or author's work and use that to create said silhouette. Lastly, I had the students include basic information, such as title, year born and deceased (if applicable) and also quote some of the author's famous works. The students loved the assignment and I was thrilled with how well the students performed, learned and were able to complete within our two-hour period block schedule.

Thank you very much for this idea and project outline. I hope to come up with my own and share as well. All the best.

Tobin Herringshaw

Posted on 2/25/18 5:58:09 PM Permalink


I am so glad you and your students enjoyed the project! I want to upload more that I do with my students, but I tend to get too busy as I teach 7 periods and I teach individually, so almost all my time at school is mentoring students through their projects. I am also glad you were able to take the outline of the project and run with it in your own way. I work that way and really like adapting projects for my particular circumstances.

Good luck in the future and have a great end of the school year.


Tia Miller

Posted on 5/9/17 6:19:16 PM Permalink

I like the project, but there are no instructions on how to make the silhouettes with the pictures inside them. It says use Photoshop, but doesn't tell you what to do with Photoshop.​

Tobin Herringshaw

Posted on 2/25/18 5:58:39 PM Permalink

Tia, I hope you saw that I did upload a video on how to do the editing in Photoshop.​

Dr. Tarek Bahaa El Deen

Posted on 4/7/17 9:01:03 PM Permalink

Good Project

Thank you for sharing

Tobin Herringshaw

Posted on 2/25/18 5:58:45 PM Permalink