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Learning how to draw means learning to see. A good art lesson teaches us not only to create but to look at, think about and understand our world through art.

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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Draw a Surrealistic Room in One Point Perspective

The first video shows the easiest quick method for drawing a room in one point perspective using only a ruler and a square piece of paper:

The trick to accurately drawing a room in one point perspective is making sure that the back wall is in correct proportion to the size of the paper. If you try to draw a room and just draw a floor and walls without taking proportion into account you will find that the ceiling does not match up at all. 
Here is what will happen:

Follow the directions in the video 'Draw a room in one point perspective' to create a realistic room with furniture. Use the worksheets below as a guide.

From the now defunct website 'Dawn's Brain'

I downloaded the worksheets above from here

From Perspective Drawing by Ernest Norling

Here is a worksheet I created for my students to show them how to add people to their rooms:

Once you have demonstrated that you are able to accurately draw a realistic room in one point perspective,try designing your own surrealistic room. 
Before you begin, take a look at the famous pieces of art below to get an idea of how other artists have used one point perspective throughout history to create alternate realities:

The Renaissance
The first one point perspective paintings were created during the Renaissance. Art in those days often had a religious or moral theme:
The Holy Trinity by Masaccio

Death and the Miser by Hieronymus Bosch

The Supernatural

Next, let's look at the work of the painter Henry Fuseli 

(1741–1825) . Fuseli liked to paint supernatural or mythical creatures.
The Nightmare by Henry Fuseli

The woman in the painting is having a bad dream
The demon or incubus has ridden into her bedroom on his

horse (the 'night mare') to haunt her sleep.

Children's Book Illustrations
Next let's look at children's book illustrations to see how these artists draw the viewer into fantastic stories of make believe.

Alice Climbing Through The Looking Glass
 by Mervyn Peake

 James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl.
Illustration by Nancy Ekholm Burkert

'That very night in Max's room a forest grew"
From Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Surrealist Art Movement

The Surrealist art movement began in the 1920's and remains popular to this day. Salvador Dali often called
his paintings 'Illustrations of dreams'. Unlike the religious and moral art of the Renaissance, the supernatural paintings of Henry Fuseli and the children's book illustrations above, surrealistic pictures do not tell a single,narrative story. Instead, surrealistic pictures are often mysterious, confusing and open to interpretation, just like dreams. By using one point perspective and creating a realistic sense of space, these artists draw the viewer in to their imaginary worlds. To learn more about Surrealism, click here.

Another World by MC Escher

Forbidden literature (The use of the Word)
 by René Magritte

Fortune telling by René Magritte

Human Condition by René Magritte

Not to be reproduced by René Magritte

Personal Values by René Magritte

Picture Gallery by MC Escher

Relativity by MC Escher

Reptiles by MC Escher

Return of Ulysses by De Chirico 

 The Listening Room by René Magritte

The Month of the Grape Harvest by René Magritte

The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali

The Sheep by Salvador Dali
Time Transfixed by René Magritte
Suburbs of a Paranoiac Critical Town, Afternoon on the Outskirts of European History  by Salvador Dali

Installation Art

Installation art, first popularized in the 1960's and 1970's is still employed by many artists today. An instillation artist will transform a room or space using sculpture, manikins, actors, animals,furniture, paint, fabric, video projections, electronics, lighting, atmospheric effects and many other techniques.

Some installations are meant to be walked through by the viewers, others are supposed to be viewed from the outside and others are set up just so the artist can photograph them. The idea is to create a life sized three dimensional alternate reality, like a movie or stage set, that the audience can actually experience.

 Fox Games by Sandy Skoglund

 Revenge of the Goldfish by Sandy Skoglund

'The Elephant in the Corner of the Room that Nobody Wants to Talk About' by Banksy
With photography, artists can create art so convincing that it is hard to determine if the scene depicted 
ever actually happened.

Atomicus by Salvador Dali
The Monster Under The Bed by Joshua Hoffine

What are some ways that all these artists have used perspective and realistic space to create imaginary rooms, alternate realities and surrealistic worlds? How can you use the same methods to create your own original artwork? 

Before you begin to draw, look at the pictures above and see if you can figure out all of the ways that these artists used to 'Illustrate' their dreams. How will you illustrate your own dream-like imaginary worlds? Your assignment is to create a surrealistic room in one point perspective. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Click on the link below for an excellent set of resources on the surrealist art movement:
Some surrealism vocabulary words from the above link:

Watch this very informative video about the origins of the surrealist art movement:
Student Art Gallery
My students were given the choice of designing either a surrealistic or a realistic one point perspective room


7th grade student drawing inspired by
The Listening Room by 
René Magritte

6th grade student drawing inspired by
Time Transfixed by Ren
é Magritte

7th grade student drawing inspired by
The Month of the Grape Harvest by René Magritte

6th grade student drawing inspired by Max's room in the book Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

6th grade student drawing inspired by Max's room in the book Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

6th grade student drawing inspired by
Return of Ulysses by D
e Chirico