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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Liking these trucks – they are so personalized – and the road map background is really a cool addition. Thanks for sharing!
I love the look with the maps and layered paper behind- a great mixed media type project for the kids! I will definitely have to try this soon.
Love her style — thanks for sharing! My favorite truck right now is a tow truck, after we broke down on the side of the road . . .
What a great, creative book! I love the truck on the front cover, it’s my favorite, how cute! Can’t wait to do this lesson with my 3rd graders!
I enjoy this website and the art projects that are shown. I really like this project as it aims towards the boys in my class. It seems like there’s always enough projects for girls. The map background is a great idea.
This turned out to be an excellent lesson in transportation. The kids’ trucks turned out beautifully. Some of them started out small though. Thank you for the wonderful ideas.
So glad you tried this lesson! I know what you mean about small drawings…Using the circles for templates helps keep the truck on the larger size.
I love using picture book illustrations to inspire art. I recently read my second graders “Hot Rod Hamster” by Cynthia Lord and we drew hot rods for her visit to our school. And I gave them cups to trace for wheels for two reasons: 1) Some kids will take FOREVER to draw the perfect circle. 2) Hot Rods have big wheels!! So by starting with the bigger circle, we had super big wheeled, hot rods. Ms. Lord loved them! I only had one class to make them, so they cut them out and I taped them all to a long black strip of paper for a road to display them. It was great! I am going to have my third graders draw trucks. I hope our library has this book.
Just want to say I love it that you used TRUCKS for your art project!
Megan’s pictures added so much to it –all those great drivers –the maps, the backgrounds, the road —
The whole thing! Megan, along with Sean Addy, did all my transportation books –and each one is fun, beautiful and original. A great team!
I LOVE the trucks your kids drew and very much enjoyed seeing the process.
Thanks so much for liking TRUCKS and for sharing it all on your blog.
Thank you! This is a great lesson! I am thinking of having my fourth graders write their own truck story to read to younger levels…Should be fun!
Oh my FUN! I had a group of kids for summer art – ages 7, 8 and 10…They got into this lesson. The stories behind the pictures are awesome. Because it was such a small group I allowed them free conversation and they ended up creating their own businesses. They made up their own business plan, how they would operate, created vehicles that ran on solar and CLOUD power. The eldest decided to run her stores using kids who earned the merchandise by working instead of having to pay. Thank you again!!
I had to look for the details of this lesson after seeing your pics on Instagram. I LOVE this truck idea. I know my students will love this project idea because they will have a blast designing their own and coming up with fun things to put in the truck.
Great stuff!! Love these so much. A huge truck could be made with old CD wheels. They decorate the wheels and build their truck around them. ❤??
Nothing like starting off my day reading and learning about something cool. Your blog post accentuated my breakfast perfectly! Thank you 🙂
I truly appreciate all your art classroom student and art supplies management tips. Your art project suggestions are so teachable and affordable.