I'm an artist from NYC living in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I've been making art since 1994, and I've taught art to kids and adults for 8 years.
Kids Will Fall for This!
Foreshortening is one of the most challenging things to learn as an artist. This project helps make learning it fast, fun, and easy! One thing I teach my adult drawing students is that when a finger is pointing at you and you want to draw it, 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 prior to 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
- Glue stick
- Oil pastels, or crayons (for very young)
- Colored pencils for older kids (optional)
How to Assemble Your Falling Person
- Trace both the left and right shoe on a sheet of white paper using a pencil.
- Trace the hands on a sheet of skin-colored paper using a pencil.
- Draw an outline of the face (smaller than the hands ) onto skin-colored paper using a pencil.
- Draw the hair on colored construction paper. Remember, if you are falling, your hair would look like it was falling too!
- 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 in using colored pencils.
- Looking at the bottom of your shoe, use the oil pastels and create the patterns and textures you see on the paper.
- Look at your hands, use the oil pastels to draw in information or lines on your hands onto the hands you've already traced.
- 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!
- Cut out all of the parts, shoes, hands, face, hair, and body*.
- 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)
- Color in the clothing
- 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!
Read More From Feltmagnet
Foreshortening Tutorial for Beginners
- Foreshortening | Art | Britannica
Foreshortening, method of rendering a specific object or figure in a picture in depth. The artist records, in varying degrees, the distortion that is seen by the eye when an object or figure is viewed at a distance or at an unusual angle.
- The Essential Guide to Foreshortening in Art | Creative Bloq
All you need to know about foreshortening, and how to do it realistically.