Color Lifting

Color Lifting lesson plan

Make your drawings deep---and lift the colors!---with this creative erasure technique.

  • 1.

    When you look at a distant landscape, have you noticed that objects that are far away seem slightly faded compared to those in the foreground? This idea, called "atmospheric perspective" is the concept that realistic landscape painters use to make their paintings seem deep. We see the world through the air, which has density. On some days, such as a misty morning or a hot and hazy afternoon, you can see even less than on a clear day.

  • 2.

    To create a realistic landscape drawing, use Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils to draw a scene on white paper. Make sure your drawing has a background, a middle ground, and a foreground.

  • 3.

    Now, lightly erase most of the background, leaving only a hint of it behind. Erase about half of the middle ground. Leave the foreground untouched. Your drawing seems to have much more depth than when you began. The foreground colors appear to lift right off of the page!


  • Students describe why far-away landscape features look less clear than nearby objects.
  • Children recognize the effects of atmospheric perspective in realistic paintings.
  • Children create a realistic landscape drawing by erasing areas in the background and middle ground.


  • After you have tried this technique, try to create a drawing by drawing the background lighter than the foreground. What do you think of that effect?
  • Look at paintings created by artists of the Hudson River School. These realistic paintings use atmospheric perspective to show depth. Choose a portion of one of these paintings and draw it using Crayola Erasable Twistables.