Notes of Lessons: Perspective Drawing, Class III

Notes of Lessons: Perspective Drawing, Class III

[We have thought that it might be of use to our readers (in their own families) to publish from month to month during the current year, Notes of Lessons prepared by students of the House of Education for the pupils of the Practising School. We should like to say, however, that such a Lesson is never given as a tour de force, but is always an illustration or an expansion of some part of the children’s regular studies (in the Parents’ Review School), some passage in one or other of their school books.—Ed.]

Subject: Perspective Drawing • Group: Art • Class III • Age: 13 • Time: 45 minutes

By Agnes C. Drury
The Parents’ Review, 1902, pp. 736-737


(1) To introduce a study which will enable the children to draw correctly.

(2) To show them the value of a knowledge of perspective in sketching from nature, or in original drawings.

(3) To assist their powers of observation.

(4) To exercise them in exactness.

(5) To connect or contrast geometry with drawing.


Step I.—Remind the children of the difficulty of representing a solid by drawing it on a flat sheet of paper.

Give them a sheet of glass, and, holding it upright, place a box behind it, and let each child sketch on the glass the object as it appears to her.

Name this sketch a perspective drawing. Give the meaning of the term, i.e., looking through; and state that perspective drawing means the drawing of an object on a transparent plane, through which it is seen.

Step II.—Let the children understand that, since it would be unpractical to carry about a sheet of glass when sketching, rules have been substituted by which we can make a perspective drawing, if certain distances and measurements are known.

Ask how we can represent the transparent plane on the blackboard. The children will be able to suggest the ground line at the bottom, in which the transparent plane touches the ground. Tell them that there is to be also a horizontal line across the transparent plane at the height of the spectator’s eye. They can suggest five feet as the distance between the two lines, and will then see the need of drawing to scale, to enable the drawing to be put on the blackboard.

Let them put a scale of two inches to the foot on the board, and the two lines—Ground and Horizontal.

Realizing that we see best what is immediately in front of us, the children will see the need of marking the centre of vision, a point on the horizontal line exactly opposite the spectator’s eye. Draw from this the perpendicular line of direction to the spectator’s eye, and mark on the line the spectator’s position, ten feet away. Then, taking the centre of vision as centre, and the line of direction as radius, mark on the horizontal line the two distance points which will be needed for measuring.

Go over the names of the most important lines and points, to fix them in the memory.

Step III.—Having prepared a framework for the drawing, get the children to recall the appearance of a straight length of railway, or of an avenue of trees, as you look down it.

The lines vanish, and they all appear to meet, though they are parallel. Contrast the appearance with the facts we know about parallel straight lines, and impress upon the children that we have to do with appearances only.

Write the first rule on the blackboard:—Parallel lines vanish toward the same point. Then place the box against the sheet of glass, one side touching it, and point out the lines at right angles to the transparent plane.

Give the second rule on the blackboard:—Lines at right angles to the transparent plane vanish toward the centre of vision. Illustrate by hasty examples on the blackboard, of railway lines, telegraph wires, a house with door and windows.

Step IV.—Ask what distances we have fixed already, and what we still require to know, viz., the position and size of the object to be drawn.

Work the following problems:—

(1) A horizontal square of five feet, lying on the ground, with the front side touching the transparent plane one foot to the right of the spectator.

(2) A cube of four-foot edges, its nearest face being parallel to and touching the transparent plane, three feet to the left.

(3) A cube of three-foot edges, its nearest face parallel to and touching the transparent plane immediately in front of the spectator.

Step V.—Recapitulate by asking for the two rules, and for definitions of the centre of vision, the transparent plane, the ground line, and the horizontal line.