City Block One-Point Perspective Drawing

City Block PerspectiveOne of the CA Arts Standards for 5th graders is one-point perspective drawing. To be honest, I’ve struggled with covering this concept in the past with just one 50-minute class. After discussing what it means to have a “vanishing point” in their drawing, I once had students make their own guidelines to follow, only to have much of the class not get past this point. And I once tried pre-printed guides, only to find they get confusing and end up being too much information that can’t be erased. This year I’m going to try starting with this series of squares, which you can download here. I think it will give students the angles they can see to follow their own vanishing point, without overwhelming them with too many lines.
1. Just the fronts of their buildings are drawn in each square, leaving room for the rest of the building.
2. A vanishing point can be inside a picture or outside, which is true for this guide. The students should visually follow where all the angled lines on their guide would intersect off the paper so they can picture where their vanishing point is. The sides of each building are drawn, making sure that they all point to this imagined vanishing point. The sides of the city blocks will help guide them.
3. The ends of the buildings are connected to finish the buildings. It’s best, of course, to start with just simple cube-shaped buildings before more complex ones are taken on. Some blocks may just have trees, if desired.
4. All of the drawing is traced with an ultra fine point marker, and colored in with pencil crayons. 

4 Responses

  1. sheena

    Wow what a fantastic post about City Block One-Point Perspective Drawing. The drawing was very nice to watch. I love this art. Thanks for sharing.


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  3. Katie Morris

    One of the art teachers in my district has her students make one point perspective drawings with their initials. They look really cool, like the initials are zooming toward you! I haven’t tried teaching perspective yet, still collecting ideas. Thanks for sharing your plans for the houses!

  4. Phyl

    I like teaching perspective, but would never try to accomplish it in one class period. That would be a challenge!
    I usually start w/one point in 4th grade making “flying boxes” – just a whole bunch of simple shapes all converging on a v.point in the center of the paper. I use an Elmo or overhead projector to demo and have the kids follow along until they get the hang of it. It is so developmental – some of them are NEVER going to get it at this age; others have it in a snap!
    From there I have moved on to a variety of ideas in 5th grade – surreal hallways are a favorite. I show them how to use the v. point, horizontals and verticals to create checkerboard walls and floors. Then it is easy to block out windows and doors. Some times we have cut them open, and inserted photos from behind, for a fun surreal Alice in Wonderland experience.
    With my 6th graders I ususally do letters – their names, or some other fun word – all to a v. point and they LOVE this. Again – remind yourself their ability to “get” it is developmental…

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