How to Teach Proportion | Snowman Project | Elements & Principles of Design

This simple snowman drawing can be a great introduction to the concept of proportion for younger students, using nothing more than their own hand to measure and help point out the size differences in the snowman. Super easy and effective!

Proportion is a principles of design that explores the size relationship between two or more elements in an artwork.

In this project, it is the size of each of the snow balls compared to one another. When an artwork has correct proportions it will help give the artwork a feeling of unity and make sense visually.

Often times, proportion is something that young students can see, but might not have the skills to express verbally yet. When they see something in their artwork that is out of proportion, they might say something “just doesn’t look right”, but be unable to explain why. By using their hands to measure position and size on their paper, it can help them to start to understand the spatial relationship between their paper, the drawing and the sizes of different elements in their artwork in proportion to one another.

Watch the full video tutorial here…

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White 12″ x 18″ white sulphite paper

Black oil pastel or crayon

Cake tempera paints (including blue)


Put your hand sideways at the top of your paper, with your pinky finger touching the top. Use your oil pastel to make a small dot right underneath your thumb. This will be the top of the head.

how to teach proportion snowman project for kids step 1 drawing oil pastel

Use a circle tracer (like a small plastic container) to trace a circle with the top touching the dot you just made.

Place your hand inside the circle. Spread your fingers out to see if you can fill the circle with your hand.

Move your hand to the bottom of your paper. Keep your fingers spread out. Use an oil pastel to draw a large upside-down “U” shape from the bottom of your paper up around your hand and down to the other side.

how to teach proportion snowman project for kids winter art lesson drawing body

Notice how much bigger the bottom circle is in proportion to the circle for the head. In real life, the bottom of a snowman has to be bigger, or it would topple over.

Connect the head to the body with a curved line on each side.

Measure one finger-width from the top of the head and draw a straight line for the brim of the hat. Draw a rectangle on top. Or create your own hat!


Set out cake tempera paints in a variety of colors, including blue.

Dip your brush in blue, then paint a curved line around the inside of the smallest circle. The line should follow the circle with not paint in the middle. Paint each circle in the same way. This will give your snowman a round, 3-dimentional look.

Add more water to your paint if it’s too dark.

how to teach proportion snowman project for kids winter art lesson cake tempera paints

Paint the background with as many or as few colors as you want. Use both up and down and side to side brush strokes to smooth out the paint.

One of the wonderful things about cake tempera is that it dries very quickly, so you should be able to move to the next step without much drying time.

how to teach proportion snowman project for kids art winter lesson background


Color the hat in with oil pastel, then add two circles for the eyes and color them in black. Draw a triangle on its side with an orange oil pastel for a carrot nose. Color it in. Add smaller black circles in a curve to make a smiling mouth.

Draw a long line for each arm out of the middle section. Add three short lines for the fingers.

Click HERE for more Deep Space Sparkle winter art lessons.

Click on the image below to DOWNLOAD the December Freebie Pack. Add your name and email and we’ll send it straight to you!

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how to teach proportion snowman winter art project for kids

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  • Janet Hagan

    What a fun lesson on proportion!

  • Rikaaz


    • Rikaaz

      Hi no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no

  • corin rogers

    very good

  • Michelle schneider

    Love this lesson! Easy way to reach proportion but one I never thought of. Thank you! You provide endless inspiration!

  • Havish


  • Kara Thomson

    So fun!

  • Heidi

    Thank you

  • Catherine

    What cake tempera brand do you use? I have them and the colors are never very bright! Not at all like your backgrounds. Thanks

    • avery

      Faber-Castell Connector Paints work fantastically!

  • Felicia Watkins

    Awesome! Thank you. I have a new group of students. This was a great guided drawing lesson while discussing rules and procedures for art class. This was perfect for discussing what we will do online if the school close due to COVID. Students were able to use oil pastel and tempera paint. Students did a great job using their hand and finger for proportion to draw their snowman. Thank you Deep Space Sparkle.

  • Kelley Crain

    Wonderful lesson!

  • Paula Mendes

    Your plans are marvelous, I like them a lot. I use them on my classroom.



  • Parminder

    Students loved it!

  • Lori Hokanson

    Great lessons!

  • jananayman

    IS there a lesson plan for this for DSS members?

  • Krystyna Marriner

    Looks great

  • Christine Dupont

    I love all of these projects!!

  • Vicki

    I am excited to do with with my second grade class when we return to school next week. All your art lessons are wonderful and students always feel so successful when I use all your hints for success! Thank you so much!

  • Dawn Williams

    Good fun!

  • andreakenna9

    Snowman drawing guide is nowhere to be found…? I just keep geting sent in circles

    • Bethany

      Hi Andrea! The link is working. Did you receive the email? Scroll to the bottom of the email and you’ll see a download packet button. Click there and the lesson will pull up. I hope that helps.

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