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  • Linear Perspective Drawing


    Description: Students will explore linear perspective

    Purpose: To demonstrate how vanishing points work to create depth in a drawing

    Length of Activity: 30 - 45 minutes


    • Paper, one piece per student
    • Ruler, one per student
    • Pencils, colored pencils and crayons


    1. Have students orient their paper vertically and fold in half. They can unfold and use their rulers to draw in the horizontal line across the center. This line is the horizon line - the line between the sky and land.

    2. Ask students to measure their line and place a dot directly in the middle. This dot is the vanishing point. 

    3. Ask students to now measure 2 inches from each of the bottom corners and place dots at there. Their papers should now have a long horizontal line in the middle and three dots total on the paper.

    4. Students should use their rulers to connect the dots at the bottom of the paper to the vanishing point, creating a triangle. This is the outline of the train tracks.

    5. Now have students use their ruler to draw evenly spaced horizontal lines inside the triangle, creating railroad ties. Does that make the train tracks look like they move off into the distance? What can be done to make the perspective better? Suggest students create more railroad ties, closer together as they approach the vanishing point. How does it look now?


    What’s Going On?

    In real life train tracks run parallel, meaning they are always the same distance apart from each other, but to us it looks like they converge in the distance. That phenomenon is called linear perspective. To make a convincing picture, the tracks can't be the only things in the drawing that disappear into the vanishing point. Everything gets smaller and closer together as it approaches the vanshing point including railroad ties, trees, cars, or anything else you might add to the picture.