The process began with a design based on rectangular interlocking forms applying the principals of three point perspective drawing. As the students worked through this process, I felt they could have a more challenging experience by creating a personal artistic statement using the same perspective principals. Encouraged by their work, I developed the idea that students would use the letter form of their full name connected in creative ways. They would apply the principals of three and four point perspective drawing to create this personal design.
Students will apply the principles of three and four point perspective drawing to develop a unified image using both their first and last names as the subject. The letter form can be interlocked, overlapped, or in some way creatively interconnected. This image will be fully developed by blending or mixing color to create a highly personal image.
- 12" X 18" newsprint paper
- plastic right angles/metal straight edges
- 12" X 18" white vellum paper
- fine line permanent technical pens (0.3, 0.5, 0.7)
- Portfolio Series colored pencils
(interlocking rectangles using three point perspective)
Review basic information regarding the use of vanishing points in two and three point perspective drawing.
In two point perspective, each point is placed on the horizon line on the opposite sides of the paper. Any given horizontal angle is then grounded to these two points. Vanishing points are important in creating consistent angles regarding the relationship of the drawn figure to the ground. The third point is placed at the top of the page, and all vertical angles line up to it. This will visually exaggerate the angles of any structure.
To remind high school students how to correctly use vanishing points, they are instructed to create a drawing of interlocking rectangles using three vanishing points. The first rectangle should be started with a vertical line directed to the top vanishing point. This will be considered the edge of the rectangle that is closest to the viewer. Students will then direct two lines from this line to one vanishing point on the horizon line, either on the right or left. The last line of this shape is again directed to the vital top point, completing the basic rectangular shape. This creates a linear, yet skewed-looking rectangle. Then students are to create a smaller rectangle inside the first, following the same vanishing points. This new interior shape will be developed as a visual hole in the first rectangular shape. Shorter lines drawn from the rectangular shape and directed to the opposite horizontal vanishing point will create the illusion of depth. The student decides the depth of each rectangular form.
This process is done very lightly in pencil so that part of the first rectangular shape can be erased to permit the next rectangle to be interlocked. Students begin the next rectangle by first drawing the line of the rectangle which is closest to the viewer, and repeating the preceding directions. The entire process is repeated until six or seven interlocking rectangles are developed. When complete, fine line markers are used to outline the finished image, showing the clarity of each form.
Students are reminded that every line drawn must be applied to one of the three vanishing points. The overall size of each rectangular form is decided by each student. The image may appear as a series of interconnected trapezoids, yet in three dimensional reality they remain interconnected rectangles.
Instruct students in the use of vanishing points when creating each letter of their name. Every line that is drawn is directed to one of the three or four vanishing points. The fourth point is located along the bottom of the paper and its location can be selected as the need arrives. All letters can generally line up to the two horizon line vanishing points and the one at top of the page. Letters such as W, M, and X need the fourth point. Students can decide on the placement as they work through each letter in their name.
Have students follow four basic steps to develop their name designs:
After the newsprint design is resolved, students should have a 12" X 18" sheet of white vellum (80 lb.) for their final drafts. A light line drawing is desirable so the graphite will not interfere with the image's final color development. Students select either colored pencils or watercolor to develop personalized color. Instruct students to mix and blend their chosen media and to keep the negative space totally clean.
- Instruct students to create thumbnail sketches using simple lines on 81/2" X 11" or 12" X 18" newsprint paper, so they can roughly see how each letter will be directed to one of the vanishing points. This can also help in the overall composition of letters.
- Students then add width to each individual letter using the same vanishing points. The student's name must be readable.
- The illusion of depth is created by using opposite vanishing points to show the thickness of each letter. See each letter as having a closest edge, and every line to the left of that lining up to the left vanishing point. Verticals go to the top vanishing point. Really challenging letters may need a fourth point at the bottom of the page. Check each student's work to make sure that each line is directed to one of the vanishing points, because at first glance the work may appear to be correct. Remind students that their created design is in a readable format.
- The design emphasis is on combining letter form to create an overall unified image. Encourage students to overlap, interlock and/or have some letter appearing to pierce through another to make visual connection. The aim is a well-constructed yet readable design.
- three or four vanishing points
- size of final paper
Ask students: Is your name readable? How well is your letter form design interconnected? How did you decide on color or media? Does your color selection show visual continuity?
- Startup activity of interlocking shapes was a strong exercise to remind students of the basic principals of using vanishing points.
- The students who followed the four basic steps in the name design process tended to have better compositions and less technical problems.
- In the first two classes, students worked hard on resolving the linear direction and overall design of their names. During this time the teacher acts as facilitator to help with the most difficult letters. When the design was completed, the focus moved to decision-making regarding media and mixing of color. The process went very smoothly.
- Some students chose the larger paper 18" X 24" white vellum; however, most used the 12" X 18" size.
- Most students chose color pencils, but appreciated having alternative choices.
- 4 class periods for interlocking rectangles
- 5 class periods for design image of name
- 6 class periods for color development of name
- (46 min. periods)
As artists/teachers, we must engage our students' visionary imaginations, connect their creativity with increased skills, and further their personal artistic expression. This work has an architectural, structural feel as well as personalized content. When combined with problem-solving, this produced excellent student results. Through this creative problem, students could see limitless possibilities for structuring letter form in visually engaging ways.
Create art works that use organizational principles and functions to solve specific visual arts problems.