How to draw simple optical illusions

Updated July 20, 2017

Optical illusions are drawings, images or film footage that trick the mind into seeing something that isn't actually the case. More complex optical illusions can be in the form of vast pieces of artwork that reveal aspects of the painting that cannot be seen at first glance. Simple optical illusions can be done with the use of pen and paper and are often the most effective as they are able to be viewed and understood by everybody. Drawing the optical illusion often reveals how the optical trick is achieved.

Draw a circle with a diameter of about 0.25 inches in the centre of a blank piece of paper. Colour in the circle.

Draw a star of the same size to the left of the circle. Colour in the star.

Draw one vertical line directly above the star. Draw another vertical line directly below the star. Each line should be 2 inches in length.

Close your left eye and look at the circle. Move the paper toward your face until the star disappears. The line will appear continuous. This is known as your eyes ''blind spot."

Draw two circles of the same size in the centre of a blank piece of paper using a compass. Make these circles roughly 1 inch in diameter and make sure they are spaced 1 inch apart.

Draw another circle from the same centre point within the circle on the left which is 0.75 inches in diameter.

Draw another circle from the same centre point outside the circle on the right which is 1.25 inches in diameter.

Look at the set of four circles. The outer circle on the left and the inner circle on the right are the same size but the one on the right appears larger.

Draw two horizontal lines of around 3 inches each, one above the other with a spacing of 2 inches.

Draw an arrow on the end of the upper line, pointing outward at a 45 degree angle.

Draw an inverted arrow on the end of the lower line, pointing inward at a 45 degree angle.

Look at the two lines. The lower line appears longer than the upper line, when in fact they are the same length.

Things You'll Need

  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Compass
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