In this activity, you will select a photo from a magazine or a printout of one of your own. You will create 3D cubes and/or rectangles to create the illusion of 3D form in your photo.


Artist Aakash Nihalani creates tromp l'eoil artworks in public space using brightly colored tape and other materials.

Artwork by Aakash Nihalani


  • Photograph (You may want to direct a friend to do a specific pose)
  • White paper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • X-Acto knife or scissors
  • Mat
  • Glue
  • Permanent marker


  • Select your background image. Make sure there is enough open space in the picture for the integration of your geometric forms.
  • Think about the surrounding area. How can you incorporate form in an interesting, integrated way? Decide whether elongated rectangles or cubes will work better in your composition. Consider what size shapes you will use. How many will you use and where will you place them?
  • Create your 3D forms on a separate piece of paper. Use a ruler to render straight lines.
  • Trace your shapes with the colors of your choice.
  • Cut them out using an X-Acto knife and ruler (put a cutting mat under your paper) or scissors.
  • Glue your shapes in place.
  • You may further develop your shapes by adding color.


  • Have a "gallery walk" and look at your classmates' collages. What do you notice about each one? How are they similar and how are the different?
  • Give your artwork a title and post a photo of it online using #ArtSchoolElements.