Drawing trucks is one of my most requested how-to-draw subjects in art class. I love the stories of the people who drive them, the cargo they haul and the best question of all…where are they going?
Inspired by the incredible picture book, Trucks: Whizz! Zoom! Rumble!
by Patricia Hubbell and illustrated by Megan Halsey, my fourth grade students created amazing trucks and placed them on colorful collage backgrounds–just like in the book.
12″ x 18″ white drawing paper
Black waterproof marker (Sharpie brand is good)
Pencil and erasers
Small plastic salsa cups or other small circle shapes
Scissors & glue
Colored background paper/assorted craft paper
Drawing the Truck
Don’t let the supply list intimidate you. Most of the materials are needed for the background so if you want/need to simplify things, you can do part one of this project (drawing the truck) and be done with it.
Start with a pencil and draw two circles near the bottom of the paper. Of course, how far apart you draw these circles depends on the type of truck you wish to draw. For the army jeep, the circles are close together compared to the 18-wheeler (top).
Here’s a tip: to start the drawing off, most kids need a little help. I did this lesson with two, fourth grade classes. The first class I showed the kids how to draw a good circle starting with a small circle and then slowly making the circle bigger. Circles are tough, though and many, many kids got frustrated with their circles. To remedy this, I showed the next class the option of using a plastic cup to trace a circle. It proved to be a good starting point for all kids and even a few chose not to use the cups. If time is an issue, or if you have a large class like me, give the kids the cup option. It really with the progression of the class.
Once the circles (wheels) are drawn, the next thing to draw is the line between the two wheels. This is the base of the truck and dictates how long or short the truck will be. I drew many different types of trucks on the whiteboard and simplified the basic shapes. You can do this too. It’s helpful to have a great picture book on hand (like this one!) to help with the different styles of trucks. You may want to photocopy a few good illustrations and offer them to your students for reference.
Extend the base line beyond the front and back wheels. Decide whether or not you want a flat bed truck, a farm trucks, etc. and draw the bed or back of the truck accordingly. Add a cab, door, windows and most fun of all: cargo! The book I used as my inspiration offers dozens of amazing truck drawings, most illustrated with a sense of whimsy and humor. My fourth graders loved it!
Coloring the Truck
I offered a combination of watercolors, crayons/oil pastels and markers. The rule is; for big spaces, paint with watercolors. For small spaces, use markers. Crayons are good for both.
Now for the background…
To make a background, let the child create a setting for the truck. Some children took the theme of the truck and drew appropriate backgrounds: farmer with an agricultural background, cupcake truck in a city, etc.
This part of the project can take as much or as little time as you want. I set out many different papers to use as collage pieces, including some old highway maps I purchased for a quarter at a thrift store. I photocopied some sections of really cool looking road maps.
Fourth Grade Trucks
Pretty cool, huh? This lesson took about three, Forty-five minute sessions. A few kids still need to finish their piece, but most finished in the allotted time.
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