Lesson #7: Rendering Three-Dimensional Forms

Part of the unit: Painting a Cityscape |


How can we create the illusion of three-dimensionality?
Students will be able to:
Render three-dimensional forms
Students will understand that:
Artists carefully observe the effect of atmospheric light on objects.

Student paintings, tempera paint, brushes, water cans, palettes


A cylindrical form and a rectangular box


Display a cylindrical form and a rectangular box. 

  • What objects in your paintings remind you of these forms?

Turn out the lights in the room so that the cylinder and rectangle are illuminated by natural light.

  • Where are the highlights on each form?  Where are the shadows?
  • What is the difference between how light strikes a rounded form and a flat-sided form?



The teacher will demonstrate how to paint a rectangular solid and a cylinder using one color and black and white. The teacher should explain how she/he is paying attention to the subtle value gradations in rendering the cylinder and the contrast in rendering the flat-sided form.   


Students will focus on making the objects in their city-scape look three-dimensional by using a range of values to paint highlights and shadows. 

Ask volunteers to discuss how they rendered three-dimensional objects in their paintings.

Ask students to review their reference materials to determine the details to be added to their paintings.