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6 important principles for drawing In Perspective Principles (Overlapping, Convergence, Vanishing points, Horizon line, Foreshortening, Diminution)

Let’s Take A Look At The Main Perspective Concepts

There are multiple concepts that are important to understand when it comes to drawing in perspective. We encounter many of them around us every day. Knowing about these concepts & understanding them is very important to understanding the lessons in this series.

For that reason, we will take a closer looks on each of these concepts. Don’t worry if these concepts turned out confusing, as we will visit these concepts later on once we get to them

Note:- This post is a part of a series about perspective. Where I explain a lot about perspective.

This post is a part of a series about drawing in perspective, you can refer to the first post of the series here if you want to read the whole series.

Now let’s get started:-


Overlapping is the concept where the objects at the forefront hides all or part of the objects behind them.

In the following picture, we can easily see how the short building is the one at the forefront. Mainly because it covers all the buildings behind it. The other short building is right behind it, followed by the grey building at the middle of the picture. City scenes contain all sorts of overlapping like that:-

Overlapping can be seen in many other kinds of scenes, like how each mountain overlaps the others behind it:-

Overlapping is a very simple, yet very effective concept in perspective drawing. Not only it makes possible to see which objects are at the front, but also adds depth in your scenes. It’s so easy to use, since we see it everywhere in our lives.


When we look at any two or more parallel lines down the horizon, we notice that they get closer to each other the more they get away from us. This is the concept of convergence.

We can see convergence in pictures of the railway, where the parallel lines of the road converge as they go away from us:-

Vanishing Points

The concepts of vanishing points is directly related to convergence. Parallel lines that converge always end up meeting at the same point. This point is called “The Vanishing Point”.

Let’s take a look at the following road picture. We all know that the two sides of the road are parallel. Standing at the middle of the road while looking at the horizon, we can see the two sides of the road converge, and meet at a certain point. This point is our vanishing point:-

Any object or scene can have one vanishing point, and in that case, it’s called one-point-perspective. In some other cases, it can have two vanishing points, in which case it’s called Two-Points-Perspective. It can also have three vanishing points, and as you guessed, we call it Thee-Points-Perspectives. I plan to explain each type of perspective in this blog. The road sides in the scene above only has one vanishing point.

Knowing the vanishing point(s) of each object makes you able to draw most of the scene. Also, it’s not uncommon for the vanishing points to appear outside the canvas.

Horizon Line

Horizon Line is a very simple yet important concept to know about. It’s simply the line where the sky meets the land (or the sea, in case the picture has that). It can be seen in all sorts of pictures, like this picture of the sea here:-

Horizon line is also known as the eye level. Both terms are used interchangeably.

One of the unique features of Horizon Line is how all the vanishing points in the scene meet somewhere on that line.


Horizon line can appear at the middle of the picture, or close to the top or the bottom, depending on where are looking. In some cases, the horizon line doesn’t appear in the picture, like in case we are looking up on the sky.


Foreshortening is the perspective principal that describes how an object appears shorter when viewed at an angle.

For example, the following shotgun appears at full-length when viewed parallel to our eyes:-

But the same shotgun appears much shorter when viewed from the front:-

The same thing can be seen in the following picture of man, where the man appears much shorter than he really is, mainly because of the angle we see him (the same thing applies to the shotgun above).

An Example of foreshorting, the man appears shorter than he really is because of the angle. And his feet look larger than they really are

When it comes to foreshortening, just remember these rules:-

  • When you view the object parallel to you, it appears at full length.
  • When the object is viewed from an angle, it appears shorter than it really us.
  • When viewed straight-on. The object appears very short, and quite different than the other angles.


Diminution is the term used to describe how objects appear smaller the further away they are from us.

If you looked at the following street lamps, which are all of the same size. The lamps further away appear much shorter than the ones closer to the viewer:-

The following guy appears multiple times in the picture. Because of diminution, he looks much smaller the further away he’s from us:-

And Finally

I hope this post gave you an idea on the different principals of perspective. For more posts related to drawing & digital art, please subscribe to my newsletter below:-

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Next Lesson:-  4 Types of perspective drawing, and a comparison between them:- One-Point-Perspective, two-point-perspective, three-point-perspective, atmospheric perspective

See Also:-

I am an anime artist, and huge fan of digital art. I love drawing with pencils too. But I rarely do that anymore nowadays. Since some aspects of digital art can be tricky, I try my best to explain the concepts as easily as possible.

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