How to Draw an Impossible Cube

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What is an impossible cube? Also called an irrational cube, this optical illusion was created by Dutch artist M. C. Escher in 1958. His lithograph print Belvedere depicts a building, based on the impossible cube, that seems to defy the laws of geometry.

The impossible cube is defined as “a two-dimensional figure that superficially resembles a perspective drawing of a three-dimensional cube, with its features drawn inconsistently from the way they would appear in an actual cube.” In other words, the image appears to be a cube that connects and overlaps itself in impossible ways.

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The impossible cube is related to the Necker Cube – a line drawing in which the front face of the cube could appear to be one of two different squares, depending on how you look at it.

The top beam crossings of the impossible cube resemble one orientation of the Necker cube, while the bottom crossings resemble the other. The result is a seemingly three-dimensional object that could not exist in real life.

Many artists have experimented with the impossible cube, often to create diverting optical illusions. Some statues even fit this description when viewed from a specific angle. In 1966, a photograph doctored to picture an impossible cube was featured in the magazine Scientific American.

How do optical illusions such as this one work? The human eye has the tendency to perceive two-dimensional drawings as three-dimensional objects. Therefore, the lines on the paper seem to represent a real, touchable object.

Illusions also rely on what we already know about the world. Our eye may be tricked into applying common geometry or sizing to an image. In the case of the impossible cube, we make assumptions about right angles and the solidity of the beams.

Would you like to draw an impossible cube? This easy, step-by-step cube drawing tutorial is here to help. All you will need is a pencil, a sheet of paper, and an eraser. You may also wish to color your finished drawing.

If you liked this tutorial, see also the following drawing guides: Baseball, Football, and Football Helmet.

​Step by Step Instructions for Drawing​ an Impossible Cube

How to Draw Impossible Cube: Step 1

1. Begin by drawing three straight, vertical lines. The lines should be of equal length, but the middle line should be positioned lower than the others. Then, connect the lines at the bottom using straight lines. This forms the side and bottom edges of the cube.

How to Draw Impossible Cube: Step 2

2. Draw a quadrilateral, or four-sided shape, at the top of the cube.

How to Draw Impossible Cube: Step 3

3. Next, detail the top panel of the cube. Draw a smaller square within the cube’s top side. Extend a short straight line from the uppermost corner of this square. Then, draw two straight lines extending from this line, parallel to the sides of the square.

How to Draw Impossible Cube: Step 4

4. Draw a square within one of the side panels of the cube.

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How to Draw Impossible Cube: Step 5

5. Draw a square within the remaining side panel of the cube.

How to Draw Impossible Cube: Step 6

6. Draw short straight lines extending from opposite corners of the squares. Then, draw two straight lines extending from each of the short lines. These lines should be parallel to the sides of the square.

How to Draw Impossible Cube: Step 7

7. Extend three straight lines from the bottom left corner of the cube. Then, extend three straight lines from the bottom right corner of the cube. Allow the bottom and middle lines to meet. Then, connect the ends of the lines, forming rectangles.

How to Draw Impossible Cube: Step 8

8. Erase guide lines from the shapes drawn in the previous step

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How to Draw Impossible Cube: Step 9

9. Draw the final side of the impossible cube. Draw three straight, parallel lines connecting the upper and lower back corners of the cube.

How to Draw Impossible Cube: Step 10

10. Color your impossible cube.

Check out our man-made objects drawing guides for more.

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The Complete Impossible Cube Drawing Tutorial in One Image

How to Draw Impossible Cube

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