Learning how to draw perspective is one of those art techniques that gets kids to sit up and take notice. Part of the excitement is realizing that art has rules. Kids are aware of the basic meaning of perspective, but when you actually show them what the vanishing point is and how it relates to the size of objects, its truly an aha moment. That’s why I created this perspective landscape to help implement the understanding of perspective.
Drawing perspective can be applied to most any type of landscape project but I think it works best when there is a road featured in the drawing. Roads are familiar and many kids know that they appear smaller as it moves away from the viewer. In this lesson, on perspective landscape, roads were placed in the center of the picture. If this is your first time teaching a lesson on perspective, I would start with this one.
DRAWING A DESERT PERSPECTIVE LANDSCAPE
For this perspective lesson I thought it would be interesting to have a different view point. Instead of placing the vanishing point on the (horizontal) horizon line like the lesson referenced above, I placed it off to the edge of one side of the paper. It is still located on the horizon line, just not in the middle of the paper.
- You’ll need rulers or some type of straight edge, a pencil and an eraser and a piece of white 12″ x 18″ paper to start.
- Draw horizontal line in the center of the paper. Or, you can do what I did and folded the paper in half horizontally. This way, the crease can act as the horizon line. Then, place ruler on one side of the line at the paper’s edge. Trace an angle line to the opposite edge of the paper.
- Do again but this time above the horizon line. The angle lines don’t have to touch the corners as this might be too steep of an angle.
- The drawing of the cacti and the road will occur on the angle lines and NOT the horizon line. Erase any horizon line marks so this rule doesn’t confuse the kids.
- We chose to draw saguaro cactus and a dirt road to demonstrate the perspective.
- To do this, start on one side of the paper and draw a large cactus that extends from the two angle lines. Continue to draw the cactus towards the left side of the paper. The cactus will get smaller if the student keeps the tip and base of the cactus within the two angle lines. Many will forget the rule and start drawing random cactuses. I had some fun with the kids at this point because I would make them erase their cactus and follow the rules. If you know me, you would know that I love when kids break the (art) rules, so this was just a fun way to reinforce the rules of perspective.
- The road is drawn next. It’s not as precise as the cactus. The two road lines follow the bottom angle line, starting small or close together at the left hand side of the paper (vanishing point) and growing larger as it nears the right hand side of the paper.
- To finish up, the students created a background, foreground and desert details. The traced over their pencil lines with a black marker and used a combination of colored pencils and markers to color.
These amazing desert perspective landscapes took my 5th grade students between 3-5, 45-minutes sessions to finish.