Week Starting 14th December – Basic Perspective

This week we will be looking at several types of linear perspective. The basic requirements for creating a perspective drawing are:

  1. A horizon line
  2. Vanishing Points
  3. Lines that go to the vanishing points
  4. Other lines that connect between the lines mentioned above.

One Point Perspective

Here is a basic example of 1 point perspective, drawing a simple street scene and some fairly boxy houses…

First draw a horizon line. This is a horizontal line across the page. If you want to draw from a higher perspective, e.g. as if you were up in the sky looking down, draw the horizon line higher up the page. For a lower perspective e.g. from the point of view of a person standing on the ground (such as this example) you should draw horizon line further down.

Next, draw a dot on your horizon, this will be your vanishing point.

Draw lines that radiate out from the vanishing point. Here we have drawn lines to represent a road, and the tops and bottoms of walls, doors and windows.

Now draw vertical lines that represent the sides of objects, walls, doors and windows.

To find the centre of a wall, draw and x from corner to corner of the wall. Drawing a vertical line through the centre of the ‘x’ will help provide a useful guideline for drawing the top of the roof.

Rub out the guidelines when you no longer need them.

Two Point Perspective

As the name suggests, this requires 2 vanishing points on the horizon. The process is otherwise fairly similar to drawing in 1 point perspective, but it does require a little more work, so hopefully the diagrams below make the process clear. The following example again uses a low-down point of view, such as that of a person standing on the ground. This time I have drawn the guide-lines in red, which hopefully makes the process easier to see.

I drew the roof gables a bit too tall in the following pictures and moving the vanishing points further out would give a wider, more natural image. But hopefully you get the point.

Three Point Perspective

Adding a third vanishing point allows us to make extremely exaggerated images. If we were drawing from a ground level, we would first place our left and right vanishing points on the horizon line, as with our 2 point perspective drawings. We would then place the 3rd vanishing point high up on the page, between the left and right vanishing points.

If we were drawing from a high up level, looking down, the 3rd vanishing point would go down below the horizon line.

We will come back to three point perspective at a later date, but having an understanding of 1 and 2 point perspective can be very useful.

Why learn about linear perspective?

We all know that, as an object travels further away from us it will appear to become smaller. Understanding the basics of linear perspective can help us create more realistic images that give a real sense of the three dimensional world. It helps us represent scale and depth. It is useful to understand when we consider figure drawing and foreshortening. It gives us an approximation of how the world is seen by the human eye.