Half draw is a common lesson plan for grades five and up. Most plans call for finding magazine pictures of faces. The pictures are cut in half vertically, down the center of the nose. Half of a picture is glued to a sheet of drawing paper. The student is given a pencil, and asked to draw the missing half of the face.
This is a good exercise for symmetry or balance. Symmetry means that the picture or object is the same on both sides. It is also a good way to practice drawing what you see instead of what you know. You know a person has two eyes, but the eyes may have droopy lids, Asian tear ducts or heavy eye brows. Any eye will not do; it must be the same as the other one.
This lesson also has a problem if the teacher hands out one half of the picture to one student, and the other half to the next student. Students have been known to “cheat” by trading sheets and tracing the missing half of their picture. This is usually most evident when the picture comes from the cover of a magazine, and the student draws in missing elements like the mailing label, or the other half of a headline. A solution to this problem is to hand out only the right side of each picture to one class, and hand out only the left side to another class.
The human face is difficult to draw. If the students are having problems with their self-esteem, another option is to use an easier subject. A butterfly is also symmetrical. Find a large photo of a butterfly, frog, or an animal’s face and use that picture instead. Animals and insects will allow the teacher to illustrate symmetrical balance, and observing the subject, while offering a subject that will result in a drawing the student will be proud of.