Middle school students drew their self-portraits made of words that reflected their identity. We first looked at how different artists used symbols, color, or mark making to communicate a message about themselves. Then we focused on John Sokol, an artist who draws famous people out of their own words. We discussed how text, whether it's a book we read, a poem we write, or lyrics we listen to, can reflect who we are. Students laid tracing paper on top of their photographs and gave their portraits form with carefully chosen text (a brilliant idea from Megan Ellis who did this project with Hope high school students!). To give the portraits dimension, students divided a strip of paper into thirds and practiced going from the darkest value to the lightest value, layering text for the darks and using little to no text for the lightest. They really didn't need my help after this point. I am so impressed by their drawing skills and personal investment in their work. I heart all of them!