All About Drawing In Perspective-(Part 1)

Defining Perspective, the neat way

If it was up to me to define perspective, my definition is going to be:-

Creating 3D worlds inside 2D paper by varying the sizes and shadings of the objects, and distorting the lines to give you that feeling

Without perspective, your drawings will look distorted and unrealistic. Drawing in perspective is basically the art of creating the illusion of 3d in 2d paper. In essence, it is the physics of drawing. :)

You may be able to learn to draw characters without to know much about perspective, but later you will need to learn that in order to create the scenes where your characters live. So, learning to perspective is one of the things you must do learn if you want to are drawing

Types Of Perspective

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There are two types of perspective, line and aerial:-

  • Linear perspective creates 3D illusion by changing the location and the size of the objects to create the feeling of depth, Distorting the lines is part of that as well.
Notice how the parallel  lines tend to meet(converge) at the distance ahead, even though these two lines are parallel to each other.
Notice how the parallel lines tend to meet(converge) at the distance ahead, even though these two lines are parallel to each other.
Here, it is easy to see which tree is closer to us, as the closer tree is the bigger one.
Here, it is easy to see which tree is closer to us, as the closer tree is the bigger one.
  • Aerial perspective is about playing the the shades and tones to create that 3D effect, whether the objects are of the same size or not.
Aerial perspective is easy to see here, the tower is faded in the background. While the boats are partly faded, giving the impression they are in the middle ground. The dock, on the other hand, is not faded at all, which shows us how it is very close to us.

 

As I just said, Aerial Perspective can be seen even if all the objects are of the same size

Liberty
Can you tell which of the three Statue Of Liberty is closer to us?

Common Concepts In Perspective

Now we have defined perspective and the two types of it. We will take a closer look at some of the most common concepts related to drawing in perspective. Don’t be intimidated if you did not get them at first, they are things you most likely know about, even without having to study perspective

Vanishing Point

As we all know. Parallel lines never meet, but in reality, if we looked at two parallel lines going into distance, they will appear as if they meet at some point in the distance, even though they don’t not meeting at all really. This point where the two lines meet is called the vanishing point. If you took a look at the following picture, you will notice that all the parallel points of the roof, the wall and the floor all meet up at one point, this is because all of the lines are parallel to each other Different sets of parallel lines has their own vanishing points.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

The vanishing point can be at any place of the picture, depending on where we are sitting relative to the parallel lines. As you can see in the following picture. Vanishing point can be anywhere in picture:-

Example of a Vanishing Point that is no in the middle of the picture. All is needed for vanishing point is  a set of parallel lines to go into the horizon to meet at some point there.
Example of a Vanishing Point that is no in the middle of the picture. All is needed for vanishing point is a set of parallel lines to go into the horizon to meet at some point there.

Types of Linear perspectives

Introducing to One-Point Perspective

When all the points in the drawing meet at one point, we see what is called the one-point perspective, which we are going to explain next.

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One point perspective is the easiest and the most basic kind of perspective to understand, there’s a chance that you already understood what it is from the last section, but if you did not, don’t worry, I will explain it in more details now

Definition

We can see this kind of perspective in any set of parallel lines that get away from you and end up meeting at one point, the one we defined as the vanishing point. which makes it easy to distinguish this kind of perspective

If we imagined the room or even the whole world as a cube, and we are directly facing one of the sides of that cube. We will be able to see a clear example of a one point perspective, where all the parallel lines will meet at one point. In one point perspective, all the main lines in the pictures seems to be attracted to one single point in the distance (As opposed to two, three or more, as in the other types of linear perspective).

Perspective

One-point perspective is also known as central perspective.

Examples of one-point perspective

  • The road that goes further away.

Horizon Line

  • The train rails that also go further away

Eye-Level-2

  • The room when you are facing the wall

See! The sitting of this kind of sitting is so identical, and in each of these cases, it is like you are inside a cube while you are exactly facing one side of it,. And this is so easy to see in the case of the room example. in case of the road and the rail, the cube is huge and invisible.

“Facing the wall” directly is not necessary in the case of one point perspective. as long the lines are attracted to some single point the distance, we are facing a one point perspective. Like the example above when we stated that the vanishing point can be anywhere in the picture.

How to draw one-point perspective

Drawing this kind of perspective is easy, it is actually the easiest, and the good news is that there is a very standard way to do it.

  • First, start by drawing a rectangle, you can skip this step and consider the canvass as the rectangle, the size of the rectangle depends on the size of the room or the corridor you are drawing.

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  • Then, we draw two diagonal lines that intersect at the centre of the rectangle.

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  • Then you draw a second identical rectangle inside the first one, where you place it depends on where you want the corridor or the room to go, but usually we place it at the middle of the original rectangle

22-2

  • Draw a number of diagonal lines from the centre of the second rectangle to the edge of the first one, as shown in the picture, the number of the lines you draw depends on how many object you plan to draw in that room.

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  • Use the lines you drew as a guideline to draw the objects in the room correctly.

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  • Erase all the guidelines lines, but keep the ones that identify the edges of the room5
5 copy
The same picture as above, but here I erased the two guidelines of the table’s legs

When to use one-point perspective

The simple answer is:- When all the points in your picture meet at one point at the end, like the examples we explained above. One-point perspective is so simple and doesn’t have much uses asides from these. Anything that relates to a tunnel, corridor, rails or road that goes away from us is usually drawn in that perspective. Or when you are mostly facing only one side if the 3 imaginary walls that surrounds you (which you can see if you are inside a room).

Going on with two points perspective

Two-Points-Perspective-3
Similar to how one-point perspective work, in two-points perspective, there are two sets of parallel lines, each converges toward a different vanishing points

In two points perspective, it is like you are facing the corner of the imaginary cube instead of one of the sides of it(whether you are inside of it or not).

Similar to how parallel lines converge toward the vanishing points, in 2-points perspective, there are 2 sets of parallel lines, each converge toward one of two vanishing points(one converge to the left, and the other converges to the right, because that’s where the vanishing points are).

Note

If you are starting to get confused by all the concepts introduced from here forward, don’t panic. The confusion will go away once after a while once you get used to all these concepts.

Examples of two-points perspective:-

The building:- Any building, as long we are looking directly at one of its corners, without looking from below or from above, is a great example of two-points perspective:-

The typical and the easiest example of the two-points perspective. The two sets of arrows indicate how the parallel of the building converge
The typical and the easiest example of the two-points perspective. The two sets of arrows indicate how the parallel of the building converge

The inside of a room:- Just similar to the building example, except that we are looking from the inside of the cube, instead of the outside of it. Keep in mind that the parallel lines in the inside of the room converge to different direction than the previous example:-

The parallel lines in the inside of the room converge to different direction than the outside of the building example
The parallel lines in the inside of the room converge to different direction than the outside of the building example

How to draw two-points perspective

Just as you may have guessed. like we used one central point to draw the one-point perspective, in two-points perspective, we use two points to draw it. As I stated before, following these steps on paper or in using a drawing software is the best way to get used to them.

  • First we start by drawing a straight, horizontal line. And we mark the two vanishing points in that line, where to place each vanishing point depends on how you want the final scene to look like:-

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  • Then, we draw a straight, vertical line below(and possible above) the line we drew in the last step. Again, the placement of this line determines the angle from which we are looking at the scene. I placed it at the middle for simplicity:-

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  • Next, we connect the vanishing points to the vertical lines we drew in the last step:-

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  • Now, we draw two more vertical lines between the converging lines. The placement of these two lines depends on the dimensions of the building you are drawing.

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  • Now, connect the tip of the two vertical lines you drew in the last step to the vanishing point in the other side, as shown in the picture:-

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  • Now you have drawn the cube that represents the perspective, it is optional that you draw two more straight lines to indicate the interior of the cube, in case you are drawing a scene from the inside, which is what I intend to do here:-

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  • Now we are done, repeat the same steps to draw the boundary cube of anything you want to include in the scene:-

6-2

  • Erase any guidelines you don’t need, and keep repeating until you are done drawing the scene.

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When to use two-points perspective?

Now it is time for the Three-Points Perspective!

Similar to the two points perspective,if we took the example of the building, but in this time, the building is too tall that we probably can’t see its bottom, and that the vertical(and parallel) lines of the building now converge toward a third vanishing point. We get a simple but effective example of three-points perspective

Examples of one-point perspective

Looking at a building down from above, it is easy to see the third set of parallel lines converge downward. This is the sets of lines that were always vertical in our two-points perspective examples:-

An example of three-points perspective, each arrow points toward one of the three vanishing points
An example of three-points perspective, each arrow points toward one of the three vanishing points

How to draw three-points perspective

Drawing three-points perspective may seem intimidating a little bit, but if you followed my tutorial on how to draw two-points perspective above, you will be fine, the steps are roughly the same. I will point out the difference while we do the steps below:- We start by drawing  a triangle, each corner of that triangle represents one of the three vanishing point. The upper edge of this triangle represents the horizon line. The scene we are drawing will be at the middle of this triangle, so make sure it is big enough to you will end up with a very small drawing:-

~A common problem artists face is when the vanishing points are too far away that it is impossible to draw them on paper. In that case, the artist doesn’t draw the vanishing points at all and use approximation to them instead~

1 Next, we draw a straight line, just like we did in the two-points perspective tutorial above.:-2 Then, we connect the tips of the line with both vanishing point 1 and vanishing point 2. 3 So far, everything we have done is the same as we did in the last tutorial, but now things are going to get different. We draw two straight lines between the two set of parallel lines, just like we did before. Instead, they must extend to meet with the vanishing point 3, as we see in the picture:-4 Draw 2 more straight lines from the tip of the two lines we drew earlier to the vanishing point in the opposite direction, just like you see in the picture. Now we have drawn the upper side of the boundary cube of the object we are drawing(which is a building, by the way):- 5 While we are done. I think it is worth it to add a little addition to the building. I extended two lines from vanishing points 1 and vanishing point 3 that intersect with each other to form one of the windows of the building:- 6 After erasing the guidelines created in the last step, the window is easier to see now:- 7

When to use three-points perspective?

So far, three point perspective is the kind of perspective that distort the object the most. It is because we are not facing any of the sides of the boundary cube of the object we are looking at directly. And We are more likely facing one corner of it. Of course, the imaginary cube doesn’t have to be the boundary of only one object of the scene, but the boundary cube of the whole scene.

And finally, time to take a look at the other type of perspective, Aerial Perspective

Aerial Perspective that gives you the illusion of space and distance through the manipulation of the details and the contrast of the objects in the scene, instead of manipulating lines as we did in linear perspective. Aerial Perspective is also known as Atmospheric Perspetive

Liberty
Manipulating the contrast of the objects in the scenes is part of how Aerial Perspective. Now, can you tell me which of the statues of liberty in the picture is the closest to us and which one if the furthest?
Aerial Perspective example of Aerial Perspective. Thanks to the difference in colour and contrast, it is easy to see that the trees are the closest to us among the objects in the picture. And which of the two mountains in the back is further
Aerial Perspective example of Aerial Perspective. Thanks to the difference in colour and contrast, it is easy to see that the trees are the closest to us among the objects in the picture. And which of the two mountains in the back is further. Source:- Wikipedia

In all honesty, there is no much instructions I can give you about this kind of perspective, it is just the kind of perspective you observe and imitate. The more you look at examples of this kind of perspective, the better.

Where to go from here on?

This article serves as a good introduction to perspective , but that’s not all, there are many things related to the topic that I barely touched, which I will try cover in part II as much of them as possible. In general. Drawing in perspective is a topic that spans many books, and I encourage you to read at least one dedicated book to learn as much about it as possible.

See Also

SweetMonia
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.

2 Comments

  1. I understand this explanation. However, I’m trying to draw (in PS) a perspective grid representing, for example, a tiled floor where the vertical lines are perpendicular to the viewer, such as your example of 1D perspective. The vanishing point would be central on the horizontal plane, but I can’t figure out how to measure and draw the vertical grid.

    For example, supposed I wanted to draw a railway line. How do I judge the distance between each sleeper, which would decrease as we look further ahead? Thanks.

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