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Kid's Art Project Idea: Free-Fall Foreshortening

Help kids learn perspective by doing a free-fall foreshortening art project with them!

Help kids learn perspective by doing a free-fall foreshortening art project with them!

Kids Will Fall for This!

Foreshortening is one of the most challenging things to learn as an artist. Want to teach your kids about this complex principle? This project helps make learning about perspective fast, fun, and easy!

One thing I teach my adult drawing students is that when you draw a finger pointing at you, start with an oval (as it is the closest shape to you) and then work backward. In this case, as the figure (or self-portrait), is falling, the bottoms of the feet are pointing straight up at you, so we will start with them.

This project can be modified for various age groups, depending on whether you let kids draw in the body portion or you have it pre-cut before assembling. Depending on the materials you choose, the lesson can be adjusted for older children as well. I like using oil pastels for the shoes because it gives a realistic rubbery look. You can choose to use oil pastel throughout the entire project, or for a more challenging project, switch to tempera paint.

Materials You Will Need

  • White paper for the background, 11" x 17" or larger (optional)
  • Skin-colored construction paper
  • Hair-colored construction paper
  • White construction paper for the shoes
  • Construction paper for the body
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Oil pastels, or crayons (for very young)
  • Colored pencils for older kids (optional)
A cool example of a finished free-fall foreshortening art piece.

A cool example of a finished free-fall foreshortening art piece.

How to Assemble Your Falling Person

  1. Trace both the left and right shoe on a sheet of white paper using a pencil.
  2. Trace the hands on a sheet of skin-colored paper using a pencil.
  3. Draw an outline of the face (smaller than the hands ) onto skin-colored paper using a pencil.
  4. Draw the hair on colored construction paper. Remember, if you are falling, your hair would look like it was falling too!
  5. Draw the body onto a sheet of construction paper. It should show just a torso with shoulders and part of the pants. Older kids could draw this part on the background and color it using colored pencils.
  6. Looking at the bottom of your shoe, use the oil pastels and create the patterns and textures you see on the paper.
  7. Look at your hands, and use the oil pastels to draw in information or lines on your hands onto the hands you've already traced.
  8. Draw in your face. Imagine what you would look like if you were falling and what your face would be doing. It's fun to look in a mirror and try out different expressions. For example, if you were scared, your eyes would be really big and you might be screaming!
  9. Cut out all of the parts, shoes, hands, face, hair, and body*.
  10. Glue them down in this order: body*, face (overlapping the neck area), hair (overlapping the face a bit), hands, (overlapping the face and the top of the body), and shoes, (overlapping the hands)
  11. Color in the clothing
  12. If you haven't already, and would like to, glue your falling foreshortened person onto a sheet of paper, which can also be drawn on to show where they're falling to, or from!


I think these look great when they are outlined in black oil pastel or marker to accentuate the outlines and features. Also, remember that art takes practice. The more you make, the better it gets!

Further Reading