Grade Level



10-12 forty-five minute periods


Drawing paper, Drawing Pencil Sets with varying grades, Erasers including stick erasers



Lesson Objectives

To be able to identify the traits of a Trompe l’oeil artwork.
To be able to emulate a Trompe l’oeil artwork.
To be able to observe values and replicate them accurately.

Introductory Activity

Students will learn the art of Trompe l’oeil painting and drawing. Trompe l’oeil is a french phrase meaning ‘deceives the eye’ used to describe art work that create the illusion of a real object or scene. The tradition spans Greek and Roman times, Renaissance and Baroque times, and all the way to Modern times . Have students look at a variety of Trompe l’oeil paintings and identify what the tricks and tips they observe. Some things to take note: choice of objects, size, composition lighting and shadows.

Lesson Process

Students will be creating a personalized trompe l’oeil drawing. First, students are asked to bring in a picture of themselves and some small objects that speak to who they are, keeping the trompe l’oeil tradition in mind. Student will then slect their photo and 2-3 objects to experiment with a composition on a piece of foam core board. Student are asked to think about how the objects are fastened to the board- tape, tacks, string, pins etc. Play with the arranging the objects in a pleasing manner.
Student will then receive a piece of paper that is the same size as the board. Students are challenged to first lightly sketch the large shapes the same size and location. Working with mechanical pencil can often keep students from drawing too dark at this point. Students develop the drawing and when students are ready, start adding value using different grades of pencils. How much preparation you do for this may depend on how familiar your students are with graded pencils. Pencils for drawing are categorized by how hard or soft the led is. The harder the led is, the lighter the line is, and vice versa. This is because the harder lead leaves less lead on the paper. The pencils are labeled with a number, 1–9, and a letter, h or b. H is harder, B is softer. Practicing with a seven step value chart is recommended as practice. Students should move from lighter values to darker values.


Trompe l’oeil, value, highlight, contrast (low, middle, high), light source, cast shadow


What is Trompe L’oeil? The Art of Illusion – The Art League
askArt: Trompe l’Oeil Painting
Discover the Deceptive Art of Trompe L’oeil | PPT

Author’s Website/Blog

Supporting Images