Cubist construction

Levels 3-6

Explore shape and colour through the works of Pablo Picasso and Grace Crowley, then get creative and construct your own Cubism-inspired sculptural portrait.

Learning objectives

  • Analyse the different ways artists use shape and colour to communicate ideas or feelings
  • Describe how geometric shapes are used to depict objects and people in Cubist works
  • Identify viewpoints in artworks, including profile and frontal views in portraits
  • Create a three dimensional portrait sculpture which uses shape and colour to express an emotion

Workshop instructions

Resources & materials

  • Two sheets of cardboard
  • Grey lead pencil
  • Ruler
  • Colour pencils, markers or textas
  • Black marker
  • Scissors


  1. Draw the outline of a frontal view of a face on one of the cardboard sheets in pencil. Use straight and curved lines to create shapes inspired by the cubist portraits.
  2. Add in facial features using geometric shapes such as circles, ovals, triangles, diamonds, squares.
    Think about how your person might be feeling and see if you can capture this through the shapes you use to create their facial expression.
  3. On the second piece of cardboard, draw the same face in profile (as if you are looking at them from the side). Remember to include a nose, chin and maybe lips in the outline. Repeat step 2 and add facial features to your profile view.
  4. Colour in your design using 3 or 4 colours. Use your back marker to outline all the shapes and details.
    Consider how you can use these colours to help communicate the emotion.
  5. Cut out your faces.
    Flip your faces over and repeat steps 1-4 to create another design on the opposite side.
    You might choose to do a similar design or something completely different.
  6. Using a ruler or judging by eye, find the central point of your face design. On the frontal view, cut a straight line from the bottom to the middle. On the profile view cut a straight line from the top to the middle point.
  7. Slot your faces together to complete your Cubist sculpture.