I always try to start off our year with a form drawing block. In fifth and sixth grade, the form drawing blocks became geometric drawing blocks. Now in seventh grade, we began the year with perspective drawing. This was a three week block.
I love to begin our year with this kind of a block for a few reasons. First of all, the preparation is not too stressful. It can be a little time-consuming (what isn’t?), but the preparation is a lot more straightforward than history, grammar, or geography.
It also seems nice to transition from summer into school with something that is not too academically stressful for the child, and yet it gets her mind and body back in that motion. Of course, this all depends on how the child feels about this kind of drawing!
Perspective drawing is important for the seventh grader for several reasons. I won’t go into too much detail here, as I really like to get to the drawings! The children have drawn in a two-dimensional style for the entirety of their grade school lives. Now, they can finally learn to draw their world as they see it. Grade seven (age thirteen) is the perfect time for this. This is very exciting… very grown-up! We will also be studying the Renaissance this year… the age in which the laws of perspective were finally discovered, so it all fits together beautifully.
First of all, we needed supplies! I was able to use mostly the supplies that I had purchased for sixth grade geometry. They are:
1. Drawing Board – I bought a few sheets of pressboard at Home Depot, and stuck some of those little rubber feet on the bottom to make them tall enough to accommodate the t-square. These boards were only a few dollars each, so it was very affordable. I thought about buying these drawing boards, since they are simply wonderful, but I decided to go with the cheaper option.
2. Speaking of the T-Square… we used the 24” Staedtler. Very sturdy, and we have not had any problems with them. It is helpful to have T-Squares that have those clear edges.
Staedtler T-Square Wood 24 in.
3. Clear Acrylic Triangles – I found that the 12-inch 30/60 degree triangle worked well.
Pro Art 12-Inch 30/60-Degree Triangle, Clear
4. Pencils – 4H (hard, for the light ‘helping’ lines), and 2B (soft, for the darker lines). I bought these at Hobby Lobby, I think.
5. Erasers – We used kneadable and the Tri-Tip.
General White Tri-tip Triangle Eraser
6. Dry Cleaning Pad – Used to make erasing easier, reduces smudging on paper due to the movement of the drawing instruments.
Professional Drafting Dry Cleaning Pad
7. Good Quality Masking Tape
8. Nice Drawing Paper – 18” wide.
9. Long Metal Rulers – 18” long.
Stainless Steel Ruler With Non Slip Cork Base, 18″
Yes, that is a long list, and we needed two of everything except for the dry cleaning pad. It was expensive, but all of the items are used for geometric drawing in sixth grade, plus many other projects. I have regretted many purchases in my life, but rarely do I regret quality art supplies!
As usual, most of my lessons came from Eugene Schwartz’ Grade Seven Conference lectures. For perspective drawing he has included helpful step-by-step videos that explain how to do most of these drawings. I know it is hard to see our ‘helping’ lines, as they are drawn with a very light 4B pencil. I tried to decrease the brightness to make the lines more visible.
We began the first day by dividing a rectangle into four equal parts, then we divided a trapezoid in the same way. Look at that perspective! Magic!
The next day we learned how to ‘extrapolate’ the perspective lines to a vanishing point.
Now we could finally make something! Eugene suggested making something very simple, so I decided on fence posts. My daughter thought that making the lockers from our local community center would be fun too.
Then we turned our paper, and, we made a tile floor. The first line on the bottom is 10 inches long. We used a ruler to divide it into 10 inch segments. Each point was connected to the vanishing point. Then we measured one inch up from the first square, and extrapolated until we had 10 rows. If you look very closely, you can see the helping lines reaching to the vanishing point at the top of the page.
The next step was to create two vanishing points and make some 3-dimensional boxes.
Then we could take that one step further and create some buildings with windows. I also introduced the gabled roof at this point.
Now she had the tools to create a cityscape. I think this was her second attempt. The first attempt had such a large building in the front that there wasn’t much room for anything else. I love how this one turned out. I think the colors are great fun. Notice the windows and doors… they are all in perspective. Everything in these drawings is drawn in perspective. This drawing is supposed to be technical. We will sketch in perspective later in the year, but this block is really more about the mathematical and geometrical laws of perspective.
An interior space. This is interesting, because the perspective for the inside walls is opposite of the boxes and cityscape. The furniture is done in the same way as the boxes. We enjoyed showing the adjoining room… very satisfying!
The perspective of arches is interesting as well. I saw several methods, but in Perspective Drawing by Baravalle, he describes the method that we used for making curves and arches. There are easier ways, but this one is more mathematical and precise than the others.
I tried my best, but I could not create a staircase with the Baravalle book. I was more successful with the directions from the Barron’s Perspective Drawing book. I bought this book, and I don’t really care for it, but the staircase worked well for me. It probably took more practice than any other construction, but it did finally become easy!
The last day was spent on the main lesson book cover, although it could have easily been two main lessons. Each letter is in perspective. She had to extrapolate the space for each letter, divide each space into four equal columns and eight rows, and then she could finally start constructing the letters inside those spaces.
In addition to Eugene’s videos, I used a few reference books:
Perspective Drawing by Hermann von Baravalle is available at the Steiner College Bookstore. Eugene bases his lessons from this book. I found some of it a little hard to understand (like the staircase!), but I used his method of creating arches.
Perspective Drawing (Drawing Academy) was also available at the Steiner College Bookstore, so I bought it. I was a little disappointed though. Most of the exercises seemed rather randomly placed throughout the book and not explained clearly, with the exception of the staircase.
I checked out Perspective (Artist’s Library Series) from the library, but I am definitely going to buy it. I had to return this book to the library, and I am missing it too much! I think is a great all-around reference book for perspective, and it is something that we can use quite often.
Okay, I will finally end this terribly long post with my own drawings: