Second Grade Super Hero Portraits

Jack's super hero self portrait

What child doesn’t want to have super powers? Our second graders just completed a two-part super hero self portrait project. First, they drew themselves as a superhero. Next, they created a super hero mask and photographed each other in super poses.

Students added boots, gloves, belts, masks, capes, tights, and more to their self portraits.

Students added boots, gloves, belts, masks, capes, tights, and more to their self portraits.

Draw yourself as a superhero


  • Crayola Color Sticks or colored pencils
  • extra fine Sharpie
  • pencils/erasers
  • copy paper (for initial sketches)
  • 12″x18″ drawing paper
  • reference photos of superheroes

I used a paper folding technique to encourage students to fill the entire page. We first folded the papers the long way (‘hot dog’) to create a line of symmetry. Then we folded them the short way (‘hamburger’) to create a waist line. We opened the papers, the made another fold from the short edge to the waist line. We used copy paper for initial sketches and drawing paper for the final.

Students drew themselves in a strong stance. They added boots, gloves, masks, capes, and belts. Each student added a special logo on the chest. Some added special tools. They colored with color sticks and colored pencils, then outlined in Sharpie.

andy's 3 drafts

Andy created three drafts of his super hero.

Paper masks

We used the free downloadable mask templates from Students colored them with marker. We cut them out and backed them with black construction paper so they would be strong enough to wear. Kids had the option of punching the masks and attaching yarn ties, or just taping on a bamboo skewer as a holder.

Students photograph each other as super heroes.

Students photograph each other as super heroes.

Photo booth

Students worked collaboratively to create photo booths. Each had a sign-up list and a waiting area.  One student was the photographer, another dressed kids in the cape, others made sure everything ran smoothly. We used an iPod and an iPhone, but you could use any digital camera.

Second grade results (by student photographers)

Second Grade Super Hero Portraits

Click here and here to see more examples from prior years.

We did this project in conjunction with the second grade classroom teachers as part of a unit on being courageous and taking risks.


What’s your favorite self-portrait project?

Super Hero Self-Portraits

super hero pinableLook! Up in the sky! It’s a bird….it’s a plane….no – it’s a second grader!

Second graders had a blast drawing themselves as super heroes. We began by looking at pictures of super heroes:


After looking carefully, we noticed the super heroes had certain features. Many had:

  • symbol or letter on chest
  • belt
  • tools
  • mask
  • cape or wings
  • boots

We talked about how the super heroes had super powers that ordinary people did not have, and that they used these powers to help others.

The students brainstormed. They invented new super heroes that swam underwater with sharks or saved horses. Some had magic arrows or swords, some had super dog (or cat) side-kicks. Overall, the students were HIGHLY engaged. This was a home run hit and I will definitely teach again next year!

This lesson was inspired Marnie Hyland’s photos on Art Education 2.0, via Pinterest.

Second grade results:

superhero collage

superhero self portrait 2

Do you have a special twist on a self-portrait project?

Ocean Week Super Hero Comic Contest Winners

Our school held a comic contest for Ocean Week. Students had to come up with an aquatic super hero, write and fully illustrate a comic panel. What a success! Here are our first two winners, “Kara the Kelp Queen” by Mariel A. and “Sealed with a Kiss” by Riley S.

"Kara the Kelp Queen" by Mariel, Fifth Grade

"Sealed with a Kiss" by Riley, Fourth Grade

We were fortunate to have artist Marietta Ellis, a former automobile designer for General Motors, visit our school. She educated the children on the history of comics and held comic draw-along assemblies. Ms. Ellis helped judge the contest. Mariel was the grand prize winner and her comic was featured in our local paper.

Tune in next time for more amazing comic contest winners!

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