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  • Perspective Drawing Expanded


    Description: Students will put together a number of ideas to create depth in their artwork

    Purpose: To demonstrate how artists use a variety of methods to create the illusion of 3-D

    Length of Activity: 30 - 45 minutes


    • Paper, 1 piece per student
    • Ruler, one per student
    • Pencils, colored pencils and crayons
    • Paint, especially white and blue
    • Erasers


    1. Have students re-create the traintracks drawing demonstrating linear perspective.

    2. Ask students to draw a tree next to the left of the tracks, near the bottom of the page. 

    3. Now students should take a pencil and ruler to very lightly draw a line from the bottom of the tree to the vanishing point. This is a reference line and can be erased later. They should repeat this step for the top of the tree.

    4. With reference lines in place, students can draw in more trees between the lines. As the trees get closer to the vanishing point, what is happening? Remind students that size scaling is one way to create depth in their drawings. The trees are not physically shorter in the middle of the paper, they are receding into the distance.

    5. Ask students to think of other things they want to add to their drawings. Some suggestions could be telephone poles, houses, or people. To keep these new items in perspective, have students start with something in the foreground and lightly create reference lines to the vanishing point just like they did with the trees. Things might get crowed - have students use overlapping to indicate what's in front and what's in the background. 

    6. Now ask students to imagine a mountain range along the horizon. Have them play with color to create atmospheric perspective. How does color change with distance?


    What’s Going On?

    In most cases, artists use more than one form of perspective in their works. They combine size scaling, overlapping, atmospheric perspective and linear perspective to create a work of art that looks like the world we see. A picture that looks 3-D is both art and science. Color and line are the tools of the artist, but knowing vision science and how our brains work are needed to create a good illusion of depth.