Drawing Trees in Perspective

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Students will be able to understand what is near and far in respect to the horizon line on a 2-d surface, as they draw trees.

By Paula Schinski [Paula is an art educator in the Waldwick Public School district in Waldwick, New Jersey.]


  • Students will be able to understand what is near and far in respect to the horizon line on a 2-d surface.
  • Students will be able to blend and use oil pastels correctly.
  • Students will understand the concept of a horizon line.

What You Need:

  • white drawing paper
  • oil pastels

What You Do:

  1. Introduce the horizon line [the line where the sky meets the land].
  2. Refer to images of landscapes for reference.
  3. Discuss foreground, background, and middle ground.
  4. Students can use view from class window to identify trees that are near to us and far to us.
  5. Explain rules of thumb: closer objects are darker and lower on paper (the foreground), distant objects are lighter and placed toward top of paper (the background).
  6. Demonstrate on board.
  7. Have students try a thumbnail sketch.
  8. Then use oil pastel to draw final composition.
  9. Show students how to blend and use oil pastels.

Helpful Hints from KinderArt.com:

In drawing and painting, perspective is a method of creating the illusion of depth by means of converging lines. In simple terms that means that by taking and arranging your lines on a piece of paper, you can make your image appear as though it is three dimensional. Visualize standing at the side of the road. OK, good. Now visualize a car driving towards you way in the distance. As that car gets closer, you will see more of it… you will see the color of the car, the shape, the person driving it and so on. The same goes in a drawing. The farther away something is, the smaller and less detailed it is, the closer that something is, the more detailed it is. ~Andrea Mulder-Slater