Palo Alto Impressionist Kids: How to Make a van Gogh Perspective Drawing!

Vincent van Gogh is famous for his impressionist paintings such as “Starry Night” or “Cafe Terrace at Night,” but did you know that all of his painting use math in one way or another? A common instance of math in his paintings is the use of perspective, or use of a “vanishing point.” Making your very own perspective drawing with a vanishing point is a fun and easy way to mix math and art together, and get your child interested in the many different applications of math. Here are some tips on how to help your child make his or her very own perspective drawing; all you need is a ruler, paper, pen, and some imagination! Kids all over Palo Alto love this project; it’s easy and a creative way to engage your child in math. Without further ado, 5 steps to making your very own van Gogh-inspired perspective drawing:

How to Make a Van Gogh-Inspired Perspective Drawing

perspective math van gogh kids art project

  1. On your sheet of paper, use a ruler to draw a line straight across the center of the paper, like the one to the right.
  2. Somewhere on the line near the middle, make a small dot. This is your “vanishing point.”
  3. Make two lines crossing through the dot to make an “X” shape.
  4. Use these lines as guidelines to make buildings, trees, or–well–anything you want! Here is an example to the right you could try!
  5. Color your masterpiece and add details!

Congratulations, you’re done! Hang or frame your beautiful van Gogh masterpiece on your kitchen fridge or bedroom wall! Have fun with this cool perspective project and happy “mathing!”

~ Mathin’ Catherine, 6/2013

> Learn more about Math Tutoring at Mathnasium of Palo Alto – Menlo Park


Hey Palo Alto Parents! Here’s a Fun M.C. Escher-Ispired Art Project for Kids!

M.C. Escher is world-famous for his beautiful tessellations, so here at Mathnasium of Palo Alto-Menlo Park we’ve created some easy instructions for how to make your very own tessellation in this great math-related art project! For parents that can’t exactly recall freshman year geometry as if it were yesterday, a tessellation is a a pattern using a single shape, without gaps or overlapping. Tessellations are a fun and creative way to make math interesting outside the classroom!

Math-related art projects are a cool way for kids to get interested in math and art, and help them understand the connection between math learned in the classroom and math used in real life. Below are the instructions, and be sure to check out our previous post for more math-centric art projects for elementary and middle schoolers!

How to Make an M.C. Escher Tessellation

tessellation math math-related art project mathnasium

Tessellation instructions

  1. Start out with a drawing a square or rectangle, like the one shown below. Use a ruler to make sure all sides are even.
  2. Add shapes coming off of or going into your shape. Whichever shapes you choose to add to/cut out of the rectangle, do the opposite to the other side, as shown.
  3. Cut your new shape out, and use it to trace again and again on another sheet of paper, to make a tessellation!
  4. Color, and you’re finished! Congratulations, you just made a tessellation!

Tessellations are a great math-related art project because you can decide how simple, or how intricate, you want your design to be! Have fun with this great and easy art project with your kids!

~ Mathin’ Catherine, 6/2013

> Learn more about Math Tutoring at Mathnasium of Palo Alto – Menlo Park

5 Fun Math-Related Art Projects for San Carlos Elementary & Middle School Kids!

Math and art have always been linked closely, so why not try exploring this link in a fun way with your San Carlos kids? Math in art is everywhere–just look at M.C. Escher’s cool geometric tessellations, or the use of proportions in Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Virtruvian Man.” By incorporating math into fun art projects, you can increase your child’s love of learning, and their creativity when exploring math! Making math fun is an important key to your child’s success in the subject, so why not up the fun quotient with some new math-related arts and crafts? Below are five tips to make this summer an art and math filled experience:

tessellation math math-related art mathnasium

Tiled Hexagon Tessellation by Urban Hafner via Flickr

5 Fun Math-Related Art Project Ideas for Kids

  • Make a tessellation just like M.C. Escher or the one above! Here’s a link explaining how to easily make an impressive tessellation; all it requires is a sheet of paper, some scissors, and some markers or colored pencils.
  • Create a 3D sculpture of one of the five platonic solids! They’re a blast to create and make great decorations for any room. Directions can be found here.
  • Create a compass mandala! These are fun because they can be as complicated or simple as you choose to make it, and all you need is a compass, pencil, and some coloring materials! Click here for the simple directions.
  • Here’s an edible math treat! Use toothpicks and marshmallows/gumdrops to create cool 3D shapes, like cubes, pyramids, and cones, then branch out to see other shapes you can make! See who can get the biggest/most complex sculpture without collapsing, then enjoy eating the losing sculptures.
  • Make a number pattern graph like the one found here! Test out different graphs to find the different exponential curves you can make.

These art projects are fun and help strengthen the connection between math and the real world. Try taking your kids to an art museum afterwards, and see if they can point out any math they can see in the sculptures, paintings, and photographs! Comment to let us know which of these math-related art projects worked for you.

~ Mathin’ Catherine, 6/2013

> Learn more about Math Tutoring at Mathnasium of Palo Alto – Menlo Park