Narrative Drawings by 3rd Grade


In this assignment, students are read a series of drawing prompts. They respond to each prompt by first drawing in pencil, then tracing their drawings with sharpie, and finally coloring them in with colored pencils.

The original prompt comes from Lindsey Bristow.

Desert Ice Cream Truck

Today you will be drawing a variety of creatures in the desert. Think of the hottest, most humid place you can imagine. In this desert, there is no escape from the heat. One afternoon you’re walking along the road alone, sweating, when you stop….you hear the faint sound of an ice cream truck. You grab several quarters and run to catch up with the truck. When you get to the truck, you see a line of the strangest, most fantastical creatures you could image!

Observational: (present image of classic ice cream truck) Start by drawing the back end of an ice cream truck on the far left side of your page. You should include enough of the truck to see the window in which the ice cream is being served. Try and include as many details on the truck as possible: are there tires? lights? a menu? How does the extreme heat effect certain elements of the vehicle?

Pre-visualization: Think of an animal that has multiple arms. What do they use these arms for? Transportation? To catch prey? Draw this creature as the first person in line. What did they order? How many did they order?

From Memory: Close your eyes and envision a reptile. What comes to mind when you think of a reptile. What color is it? What is the texture of its body? What do its eyes look like? Take a minute to really focus on what this reptile looks like. Now imagine your reptile has been in a terrible accident. One of its arms/legs/both has been amputated. This limb has been replaced with something you could find in a bathroom.

Combined imagination and observation: The heat is starting to get to you- you’ve been waiting in line for what seems like hours and you start to get delirious.

Look around you, grab the closest item to you. Draw this item personified with the features of your oldest family member. What does that family member wear? What are their defining characteristics?

Art from art: You will be drawing yourself as the third person in line. Keep in mind the weather, what are you wearing? Do you carrying anything with you?

Look at both artist examples then chose from one of the following prompts:

Look at the images of Giacometti’s sculptures. What are some defining characteristics of his work? Draw yourself as a Giacometti sculpture.



Look at the images of Keith Haring’s paintings. How does Haring use line to convey movement?  Draw yourself in the same style.


Verbal to visual: Close your eyes and imagine a tumble weed. This particular tumbleweed has travelled (or tumbled) from the other side of the country to get this ice cream truck. During its travels across the country, what has it picked up along the way? Draw your traveling tumbleweed.

Visual to Visual: Look at the person sitting next to you. Draw their nose as the next character in line and then add details from one of the following prompts:

Turn your nose into royalty. How would you know if something or someone was royal? What would they wear? What would they carry with them?


Turn your nose into a wild western bandit. What kind of crime would your bandit commit? How would you know if the bandit was up to no good?

Final Touches: Add 2 warm weather accessories to your line of creatures (sunglasses, umbrella, bathing suit etc.) Then add any additional details you’d like to complete the drawing. Consider: Where are you located in the desert? How is the heat affecting the structures around you? Has the weather changed since you’ve gotten in line?

Once you start to color, add at least two types of pattern to your line of creatures.

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