Lesson Plans: Illusions of Depth: Perspective drawing

Illusions of Depth

MonaLesson Plan Submitted by: Michael Delahunt,
3rd grade art teacher



Before the lesson is begun, it is important to pre-test students' skills in drawing a landscape to achieve an illusion of depth. Motivate them by stirring their memories of someplace they remember being which was in the country, on a vacation trip -- not in a city, but any other kind of a place-- e.g. desert, shore, mountain, forest, farm, etc. They can put whatever things and people they remember in that place. Tell them I'll be looking for things which are nearby and things which are far, far away.



White Drawing Paper., Crayons., four sheets of different colors of Construction Paper., Scissors., and White Glue..

Seeing Near and Far


  1. This is an introduction to the concept of the illusion of depth on a two-dimensional surface. Students will learn that overlapping and size differences gives the illusion of near and far. The part that overlaps the other subject appears closer. The lowest object is in front of one that is higher up on the page. Learners will recognize which objects in a picture are near and which are far.

  2. depth

    You can see a lot of depth in this picture. How can students tell the beach is very far down? In this instance, the size of the objects show depth. Trees and the boy in front are much larger than the trees and people below. Click on the image for larger view.

    Students will use scissors to cut out simple animal shapes. Students will then arrange their shapes, using size and overlapping, to show perspective.

  3. Students will identify the differences between near and far objects in the environment and transfer that in their art.

  4. Vocabulary: perspective, overlap, horizon, horizon line


  1. Materials: Each student needs: crayons or Water-AquaMarkers., four sheets of different colors of Construction Paper., Scissors., and White Glue..

  2. Photographs and/or art images which demonstrate new art concepts. These may be pictures students find by leafing through old magazines, cutting out printed images that they think show near and far objects, and photos they take with a digital camera.

Guided Teaching:

  1. Show students examples of two-dimensional images which have near and far elements and ask students what makes these good examples. Point out how overlap and differences in size help to achieve an illusion of depth. Point out how these things can be seen in the actual space around them.

  2. Students will draw the shape of an animal on each of three pieces of paper, each animal being the same kind of animal, but a different size. After drawing a horizon line on their last sheet of paper, they will arrange their animals on that last sheet so as to utilize the size differences and the level of each animal's lowest part in order to achieve their illusion of near and far. Finally, students will draw additional elements to complete an image of an environment for their animals.



The Art of Perspective: The Ultimate Guide for Artists in Every Medium. - Phil Metzger presents perspective as a matter of mimicking the way we see--like the way a distant mountain appears blue, or a road seems to narrow in the distance. The Art of Perspective offers techniques for achieving a convincing illusion of depth and distance, whether it's a few inches in a still life or miles in a landscape.



Art In The Classroom Series: Perspective Drawing. - Students learn how to see perspective before they draw it. Experts teach one, two and three-point perspective.

"Michael Delahunt authors and publishes an online art dictionary called ArtLex at http://www.artlex.com. In addition to defining art terms, ArtLex offers thousands of images of examples, pronunciation notes, great quotations, and cross-references."



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