Bad hair day

Levels 3-6

Find out how Australian artists Laith McGregor and John Olsen use line to create patterns and textures, then experiment with line and draw your own portrait of a bad (or good) hair day.

Learning objectives

  • Identify different ways artists use line, pattern and texture to communicate ideas, emotions or identity
  • Describe how line can be used in a variety of ways to create artworks including portraits
  • Experiment with line, pattern, texture and making techniques
  • Follow an art making process to create a multi-media portrait

Workshop instructions

Resources & materials 

  • A grey led pencil
  • An eraser
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • A thick ballpoint pen or marker
  • A thinner ballpoint pen or marker
  • 2 x paper of any colour or size
  • Photo of a person’s face that you can cut up


  1. Cut out your person, removing their hair, keeping only their face and maybe body. Then glue your cut on one of your sheets of paper – think about where you might place it, in the middle or towards the bottom.
  2. Taking a grey lead pencil and starting from the top of the head imagine what crazy hair your chosen face might have. Draw in faint guidelines of your chosen hair style, working from your stuck down face. Create lots of sections and shapes, wrapping all around your face.
  3. Once you are happy with your lines using your thicker marker, draw over your guidelines, then erase any visible greylead lines.
  4. Brainstorm of different ways to use line. Taking your second blank sheet of paper and your thin marker, have a play. Test out how you can create patterns and textures using straight lines and curvy lines.
  5. From your brainstorm choose your favourite results to fill each of the sections of hair and background. Use a combination of straight lined patterns and curvy line patterns to give different textures to create interest. With each pattern choose 2 or three sections to use it in.