Body Sketchers

This drawing activity is a fun way for students to explore the ways in which we represent who we are to the world.

“Body Sketchers” works best when every student has a piece of paper large enough to trace life-size sketches of themselves. Have students take turns lying down on their paper while a partner traces their outline. Every student should have their own outline. If you don’t have access to large paper, have students draw smaller versions of themselves on 8.5 x 11 paper.

Provide students with whatever art supplies you can: markers, crayons, glitter, glue, feathers, felt, etc. Ask students to create an artistic representation of who they are.

As your students draw, ask them to find ways to include the following attributes. Some of these ideas are abstract and will require students to think critically (and creatively) about their identity.

  • Race
  • Sexual orientation
  • Ethnicity
  • Country of origin
  • Style of dress
  • Hobbies they enjoy
  • Political leanings
  • Religion
  • Favorite music

Give students the opportunity when they are done to explain why they created their drawing the way that they did. If you can, display the body sketches when they are complete.

Respect for All:

This exercise is a way to celebrate the similarities and differences among students. It can help students see differences as beautiful, and something to be praised. It may also act as a way for students to learn more about each other’s cultures, religions, sexual orientations, ethnicities, etc. For example, someone might learn that yellow, green, and black are the colors of the Jamaican flag because a Jamaican born student chose to color their shirt on their sketch in those colors.

Questions for the Group:

  • Look at your picture. What makes you unique from the other people in the room? How are you similar to other people in the room? Would you rather have things in common with people, or be different?
  • Tell the group about one of the elements in your picture. Why did you include it? What does it say about you?
  • What elements of your picture are you the most proud of? Do you tend to give more emphasis to elements that represent your hobbies, ethnicity, religion, relationships… or something else? Why?
  • When you looked at other people’s pictures, did you think of elements you wanted to include in yours? Does this show that you want to have things in common with people in the room, or that you want to be different from other people?