City Block One-Point Perspective Drawing

One 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.

CA Visual Arts Standard: Grade Five
2.1 Use one-point perspective to create the illusion of space.
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