T is for...

Painting does what we cannot do – it brings a three-dimensional world into a two dimensional plane.

- Chuck Jones

T is for Three-dimensional, Tint, Tone, Texture and Tarriance.

Three-dimensional: Having, or seeming to have length width and depth.

Tint: A shade of colour

Tone: Effect in an artwork of light and shade together with colour

Texture: The structure, feel and appearance of something.

Tarriance: The act of tarrying, delaying or procrastination.

Today’s mini project is about creating three-dimensional shapes. We are going to use very simple square and rectangular shapes and turn these into 3d by adding lines, tints and tones to indicate dimension and shape.

Our muse is the simple safety match box; it is a very basic but clever tool that’s been unchanged for the last 100 plus years.

Mini Project

You will need one matchbox, a sketchbook or sheets of paper, pencil or other drawing materials. Watercolour paper and colour is optional.

Project: Look at the box structure and draw this item in some quick sketches of an oblong box, it’s contents and the cover. Once you have drawn the box, cut the cover in half, change the oblong shape and refold it to become a square shape. Now use this in different compositions and observe the variety in light and shadow. How do you like to draw this simple shape? Experiment with ways to create shadows, the tone and tint, what textures will you incorporate?

Once you have done a selection of square box drawings from different angles, add imaginary objects to these boxes should you wish, or draw some letters in 3d.

Additional Project: The inside of the matchbox contains the tray that holds the matches, cut this in half and create a smaller box. If you had to turn this into a miniature artwork what would you do with it? Make a drawing to fill the inside? Could this be a miniature sculpture? How would you use the matchsticks to create a structure?


This is a very simple and small-scale exercise to focus on a basic and recognisable shape, exploring dimension and volume. Good to revisit this little task occasionally and see where it could lead to.

Here’s a related Pinterest page:


You're welcome to share your outcomes in the group’s Facebook page. Please don't post course material or outcomes to to other public Internet sites or to social media.

#creativeleap #tisfor #threedimensional #tint #tone #texture #tarriance

© 2020 Esté MacLeod

© 2020 Explore Colour