How to Draw an Impossible Trident

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The impossible trident, also called the impossible fork, blivet, or devil’s tuning fork, is a type of impossible object.

The two-dimensional drawing appears to be a three-dimensional rendering of “three cylindrical prongs at one end which then mysteriously transform into two rectangular prongs at the other end.”

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This is due to the brain’s tendency to “make sense” of the contours of the drawing, although they defy geometry.

This optical illusion appears to have arisen during the 1960s. The impossible trident appears in artwork such as Roger Haywards’s “Undecidable Monument,” the June 1964 issue of Analog of Science Fiction and Fact, and the 1965 cover of Mad magazine.

Explanations as to how to draw artwork based on the impossible trident were published in Worm Runner’s Digest in 1967 and 1968.

What exactly is a trident, anyway? A trident is a three-pronged spear, typically used in fishing or as a weapon. In the mythologies of Greece, Rome, and Hinduism, gods wielded tridents and held power over the sea. This theme remains in the DC Comics character Aquaman. Another famous use of the trident appears in the hands of Ariel’s father in Disney’s The Little Mermaid (1989).

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

If you liked this tutorial, see also the following drawing guides: Impossible Triangle, Impossible Square, and Impossible Cube.

​Step by Step Instructions for Drawing​ an Impossible Trident

How to Draw Impossible Trident: Step 1

1. Begin by drawing three straight lines connected at right angles. Notice that the lines are of different lengths, the middle line being much shorter than the others. The figure should resemble a diagonal rectangle that is open on one end.

How to Draw Impossible Trident: Step 2

2. Draw an oval at the end of the nearest line. This forms the tip of the trident’s prong.

How to Draw Impossible Trident: Step 3

3. From the bottom of the oval, draw a long straight line parallel to the original line. Then, connect it to the right angle of the figure using a short straight line. This outlines the side of the nearest prong.

How to Draw Impossible Trident: Step 4

4. Draw a small oval at the tip of the remaining line. This forms the point of the far prong.

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How to Draw Impossible Trident: Step 5

5. From the bottom of the oval, draw a long straight line running parallel to the original line. This outlines the far prong of the trident.

How to Draw Impossible Trident: Step 6

6. Draw a straight line from the inner end of this prong, parallel to the back of the trident. Do not fully connect the line to the opposite prong.

How to Draw Impossible Trident: Step 7

7. From the line drawn in Step 6, extend a long straight line, parallel to the first prong. Extend this line beyond the tip of the first prong. This line forms both the top side of the first prong and begins the outline of the middle prong.

How to Draw Impossible Trident: Step 8

8. Draw an oval at the end of the line drawn in Step 7. This forms the tip of the middle prong.

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How to Draw Impossible Trident: Step 9

9. Draw a straight line from the oval back to the base of the trident, but do not connect it to the base. Instead, draw a short line from the end of this line to the opposite side of the middle prong. Then, connect the right angle where these lines meet to the right angle just above it.

How to Draw Impossible Trident: Step 10

10. Shade your impossible trident. Notice how the shading in our example lends visible weight to the optical illusion.

Would you like to draw more impossible objects? Check out our selection of manmade objects drawing guides,where you’ll find other impossible objects; triangle, square, heart, cube, and more.

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The Complete Impossible Trident Drawing Tutorial in One Image

How to Draw Impossible Trident

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