I got the inspiration for this when a High School art teacher that I know posted photos of her High School students doing a similar project and I felt confident that I could adapt the project for my current 3rd grade artists.
The goal of this project was to only use primary colors (red, blue and yellow) and white and black for this project. That means that the skin color, shadows and highlights, hair colors, etc etc were all mixed using only primary colors! This took some trial and error and lots of mistakes before students created the correct colors.
Once we started painting, students started with their skin colors. After mixing and finding a color that worked, they painted all of their skin on the drawing. To add highlights and shadows, they used their skin color and added blue and/or black to create shadows and added white and/or yellow for the highlights.
They used this same technique on their hair and shirt as well. For the background, they had freedom to do whatever they wanted. The students worked so hard on this project and were so proud of the outcomes. When teachers and parents walk by the art display in the hallway, they are shocked that the students mixed all of the colors themselves.
What amazing artists I get to teach!