Learn from the Masters – Salvador Dali portrait painting for kids

May 30,2021
Kids Education, Learn from the Masters, Online Art Classes

‘Learn from Masters’ blog series brings to you how kids learn to paint famous artworks at our online art classes and learn about the master painters. This week we talk about how kids can learn to paint a portrait of Salvador Dali, learn about his life and history, and the unique style of Surrealism in his paintings.

Salvador Dali – Fun and Interactive Portrait Painting For Kids

Salvador Dali was a Spanish artist whose artistic repertoire included painting, sculpture, film, and photography, at times in collaboration with other artists. He was known for the striking and bizarre images in his work and excellent craftsmanship.

Learn more about Dali’s life, his journey to success, and how kids learn to create portraits and Surrealism at Nimmy’s Art.

<artwork by Dali or our work>

Who was Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali was born in Catalonia, Spain, and completed his formal education in fine arts in Madrid. Though he was influenced by Impressionist painters from a young age and also attracted to Cubism, he is known as a surrealist painter.

Salvador Dali’s interest in art was encouraged by his parents and his first public exhibition was organized when he was just 14 years old. Some of his major themes were dreams, subconscious, science, and relationships. The loss of his mother at the young age of 16 affected him deeply.

Dali’s work was a great influence on other surrealist painters. His best-known work is The Persistence of Memory in 1931, which is one of the most famous Surrealist paintings. The artwork depicts melting clocks in a calm landscape inspired by the Catalonian landscape. This is similar to artists like Van Gogh and Claude Monet, who used the settings of France in their paintings and found their own styles.

Much like his paintings, his eccentric nature too often drew a lot of attention. He believed in the importance of his relationship with the public and had a great talent for self-promoting.

“I am not strange. I am just not normal.” 

-Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali’s painting style – Surrealism

Dali possessed unusual technical skills and a strong foundation as an artist. The theories by Sigmund Freud led to his realization about the subconscious. The significance of the subconscious along with his attachment to the Surrealists, brought about the rapid evolution and maturity in his artistic style.

Portrait painting in acrylic - Salvador Dali
Portrait painting for kids – Salvador Dali, Surrealist Artist, at the online art classes by Nimmy’s Art

Salvador Dali depicted a dream world in which normal real-life objects were deformed or juxtaposed in a bizarre fashion. These objects were portrayed with meticulously realistic detail in his artwork and placed in landscapes reminiscent of his hometown. Although known as the best Surrealist artist, his views and work later in his life, distanced him from the Surrealist group.

From an early period in his life, Raphael Sanzio, a prominent Renaissance painter in art history, inpired Dali’s life. He moved to the United States for a few years. Durign the 8 years in US, he explored wide-ranging forms of art, like designing interiors, theatre sets, and jewelry. Dali’s artworks during this period show a strong influence by Raphael’s art and style.

How kids can learn to paint portrait of Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali has interesting facial features like his mustache that interests kids a lot. We use proportions to find the placement of the facial features. But it is most important to understand the axis for the face based on the direction that the subject is looking. Identifying this axis makes it easy to place the facial features and create a portrait for kids.

Portrait of Salvador Dali by 5 - 7 years old students at Nimmy's Art online art classes
Portrait of Salvador Dali by 5 – 7 years old students at Nimmy’s Art online art classes

The correct placement of features is often a trivial element that goes unnoticed in the complexities of a face. For example, we learn in our portrait painting online class that the eyes are placed halfway down the head. This is an obvious measurement that comes as a surprise. However, once kids learn these measurements, it is hard to forget them.

We completed the portrait of Salvador Dali that in our 5 – 7 years online art lessons. Durign the class, we introduced Surrealist elements from Dali’s paintings to our portrait. We added the melting watches from The Persistence Of Memory to the background and encouraged kids to find out other elements that they would like to add. For instance, they can add the butterflies from one of the landscapes by Dali.

Benefits of Learning about Dali and Surrealism in Visual Arts

To introduce portrait painting to little kids of 5 to 7 years, Salvador Dali’s work is a great choice. Firstly, Dali’s unique expressions have an attention-grabbing style. For instance, Dali’s long mustache amuses young kids. Kids learn to use simple step-by-step measurements to create Dali’s portrait. Since the subject brings about a special interest in the students, learning happens naturally.

Secondly, the fascinating elements of Surrealism in Dali’s paintings are another feature that can keep little kids engrossed in learning. Surrealist art provides kids with an opportunity to force their imaginations outside the normal realm of things. It encourages kids to think and reflect on their dreams, bringing a sense of awareness about their subconscious. Understanding and accepting the irrationalities of our minds empowers kids to come forward with their thoughts uninhibited.

From melting clocks to desert butterflies, the innate curiosity and imagination in kids easily resonate with the Surrealist elements of Dali’s paintings.


Which of your dreams would you like to bring to canvas?

Pick up your brush and create the portrait of Dali. What Surrealist element would you like to add to the painting? Join our online art courses to learn fine arts with fun.

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