William Shakespeare / After Reading / /

Drawing Shakespeare

Drawing a portrait of Shakespeare.

Lesson length: 1 session

Lesson from William Shakespeare series

Text potential

  • Wider learning opportunities: Art and Design


Cameras did not exist in Elizabethan England, so portraits are the only record of the appearance of historical figures from the time. In this lesson, the children will follow a step by step process by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom to draw their portrait of William Shakespeare. 


  • The class will need access to the Guardian step by step guide, either displayed on the whiteboard or on individual devices (see below)  
  • Paper and pencils for drawing
  • Watercolour paints



Follow the step by step guide on the website to produce portraits of Shakespeare (see resource below).

Final reflection

Consider the concept of not being able to take photographs. Ask: 

  • How accurate do you think portraits were? 
  • Do you think that kings and queens could make portrait painters paint them in a more flattering way? 

Key vocabulary

portrait, brows, forehead, ruff


The Guardian

A step by step guide on drawing William Shakespeare by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom

Visit resource


Sam Keeley

Formerly a teacher and local authority advisory teacher, Sam now works with Just Imagine as an English consultant and manager of the year 6 Reading Gladiators programme.

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