Rob Schwartz

Illustrator Fun- Vector Self Portrait

Lesson Plan Published 7/30/10 Last updated on 4/12/19
Self portrait done in Illustrator- Tough, but worth it.

Project Scenario:

We’ve worked a lot with the pen tool and other illustrator tools. This project is a creative project where you will use a picture of yourself to create a self-portrait using illustrator.

Project Objectives:

Draw a self-portrait in illustrator


  • Look at the EXAMPLES!!! Ours as well as The Mac Lab's (They also have this and this) You’ll need to do at least this good for an “A” on the project!
  • Watch the tutorials on Creating a Self Portrait-(I recommend watching one, doing the step, save your work, then move to the next video, do it, save, etc…) Looking for the old videos??
  • Take a picture of yourself or scan a picture you already have
  • You must create a vector illustration of yourself in Illustrator
  • The image you create can be in any style (cartoon, abstract, etc…)
  • The image must be in color.
  • The image must be created as a letter sized (8.5×11) image.
  • Save the project as in your Folder
  • Save another copy for web with a maximum dimension of 1000 pixels for uploading to the lab. Use “113-username” as the file name so we can always know who’s work that is if it hits the wall or web! (replace username with your online lab login name).


  • Pencil/paper
  • Computer
  • Illustration Software (Illustrator)



  • Pay attention to your main features and trace those large areas.
  • It’s easier to trace the “lower” images first, then the “top” images (draw your head before your eyes, draw your iris before your pupil)
  • Experiment with all the tools, pencil, pen, brush, etc… See what tool feels best for each part
  • Experiment with line, proportion, and color- they’re the major focus on this project.
  • USE AND NAME LAYERS for the different parts you draw… it will help when you have to rearrange things.
  • The wacom tablets should really help here. Use them to make the process feel more natural.


Illustrator document demonstrating mastery of all concepts in specifications. Final Design Image.


  • Create a web page that is a tutorial for other students doing this activity. Explain in detail (with graphics) a specific concept related to this project.
  • Create a portrait of a friend or celebrity
  • Create a still life in the same or different style from your portrait (building, object, famous art, landmark)
ISTE Standards
Students: Innovative Designer, Students: Computational Trainer
CC License
Attribution Non-Commercial
5 / 5 • 18 Ratings

Resources (1)

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Comments (27)

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Shafiq Rehman

Posted on 8/31/19 9:51:28 PM Permalink

Thanks for sharing

Ahmed Belal

Posted on 11/28/18 7:35:03 PM Permalink

​Thanks for Sharing

Terese Scott

Posted on 4/18/16 1:38:19 PM Permalink

Tutorial videos no longer available? Please update links!

Syed Raju Ahmed

Posted on 1/7/13 10:26:31 AM Permalink

Nice Work

Sara Martin

Posted on 7/20/12 4:36:36 AM Permalink

Great idea! Thanks!

Ryan Johnson

Posted on 3/6/12 6:11:41 PM Permalink

Great way to have fun with Illustrator - Kids Loved it! Thanks

Eva LaMar

Posted on 12/30/11 11:22:05 PM Permalink

A project like this needs all the incredible resources and examples that are posted here.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 11/15/11 2:16:32 PM Permalink

Hey, I stole the project from some guy who drew a picture of himself on the wall of his cave.

An oldie but a goodie. :)

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 11/15/11 1:25:09 PM Permalink

Oh- and by the way... I stole this project from Skocko. If you guys haven't checked out his resources, you're missing the best collection of tutorials and projects on the web.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 11/15/11 1:18:12 PM Permalink

Sorry for the bonked links, guys... I'm swamped with tech issues this year. The lab LITERALLY caught fire 4 times this year! All fixed now, working on as well to tweak interface and change things up. Will come back and check. Thanks to those of you that posted your own galleries! Will add to the resources pages!

Oh- and one more thing... I usually fix the links on the original page and sometimes forget where I've posted the resources elsewhere. If you refer to the original site page, you can often find the fixed links. Sorry!

Gary Poulton

Posted on 10/27/11 2:56:54 AM Permalink

Pamela's on the money....broken link, a quick trip to room 404.

Pamela Harris

Posted on 10/12/11 5:30:48 PM Permalink

Jim Goodwin

Posted on 8/23/11 5:28:30 AM Permalink

This is fantastic, thanks for sharing. I do this project every year, and it is great to see it done from a different perspective, I really like the videos. What a great tool for students to use anythime from anywhere.

Judy Durkin

Posted on 7/27/11 10:07:06 PM Permalink

I did this in my classroom before the end of school. Fun. Students were successful. I will use it every semester.

Mark Anthony

Posted on 7/27/11 9:15:34 PM Permalink

take a look at some of my students vector portraits. I've been doing this assignment for the past 5 years at humber college.
I've also got some tech drawings on my site, browse through, let me know what you think. :)

Judy Durkin

Posted on 1/18/11 4:10:07 AM Permalink

Fantastic project with beautiful results!! going to use it. Thank you!

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 1/18/11 3:47:30 AM Permalink


Sorry, cleaned up the site a little and bonked all my old links! :(

Updated the post with all the new links now. Sorry for the mistake!! I also made new tutorials that are much better than the old ones, IMHO! :)

David Gran

Posted on 1/17/11 4:02:36 AM Permalink

???? ?????????

Posted on 1/14/11 2:19:48 PM Permalink

It's realy usefull. I've worked for 10 years with Illustrator but now I've realized that I want to learn more ))

Judy Durkin

Posted on 1/12/11 5:26:43 PM Permalink

How did I miss this before? I am going to use it next week. Thank you

Christian Schett

Posted on 11/14/10 5:44:45 PM Permalink

love it ;-)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 11/12/10 4:32:06 PM Permalink

Hey Rob,

Our first self portraits of the year are starting to trickle in. The 1011 Self Portrait Gallery will continue to grow for a while.

I'm just amazed at what some of the first-year kids have accomplished. A few examples: Victoria | Semar | Mark | Kiera | Mohanad | Nuha | Rene | and more are almost completed. Just incredible results.

Looks like the new and improved Pen Tool Tutorials are working but it's ZIM! too. Really shaking things up this year. Looking forward to incorporating your new approach to that oh-so-powerful of tools next year! :)

Nicole Dalesio

Posted on 8/28/10 6:49:34 PM Permalink

This is REALLY helpful. I'm definitely going to use this!

Jesus De Dios

Posted on 8/23/10 5:37:56 AM Permalink


Mike Skocko

Posted on 8/23/10 12:18:13 AM Permalink

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/30/10 9:10:22 PM Permalink

The kids hate this assignment... Then, once they begin get the hang of it, they love it.

Mastery of the Pen Tool opens a world of creative possibilities!

Here's this year's results (09/10) and a little video to celebrate a job well done.