I recently did small paintings with the kids, which I wrote about here. One of their “assignments” was to paint a self-portrait. I helped them a little bit by drawing the proportions for them lightly in pencil. This way, they all had the same starting point. I had them use a black sharpie to draw their face and hair, and then use watercolor to paint the rest.

I revisited this project often over the course of a month, inviting their friends and other neighborhood kids to make one whenever they happened to be over at our house. I wanted a collection of self-portraits because there was something that was beginning to fascinate me. As I watched these kids (ages 5 to 12) draw in their facial features, they all had a different innate style. Some drew their mouth gigantic, some so small they were hardly there. There were noses and eyes in all sizes, too. I began to wonder…were these drawings arbitrary, or did they mean something? I did a little research and here is what I discovered:

Eyes: Large eyes indicate intellectual curiosity, a vivid imagination, and sensitivity. Small eyes show organization.

Nose: A large nose shows decisiveness, an idealistic mind and bossiness. A small nose shows kindness and sensitivity.

Lips: A large mouth show emotional availability and a sensitive nature. Full lips indicate a confident, spontaneous, risk-taker with a charming nature. Thin lips indicate a measured and selective person who appreciates subtlety.

Forehead: A large forehead shows an ability to learn and digest information. A smaller forehead shows a person who acts first and thinks afterwards. An average forehead means you’re intelligent and able to see two sides to every story.

Of course we should take this all with a grain of salt. They could have been copying their neighbor (ha)! But interesting, nonetheless.