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Perspective principles:- Diminution, and how to draw objects at an equal distance

Diminution Is One More Concept That Gives Depth To Your Artworks

Diminution is the term used to describe how objects appear smaller the further away they are from us. It can be used to give depth and 3D looks to your artworks very easily. It can also be used to help you draw human in perspective as well, which is one of the goals of this series.

It may look confusing at first, but it’s one of the easiest to draw, especially if you understand vanishing points and receding lines (If you like, you can refer to my lesson about perspective types to know about them).

In this lesson, we will take a closer look at Diminution, and learn how to draw it the easy way.

As a little reminder, 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.

What Is Diminution?

Diminution is the term used to describe how objects, or even distance appears smaller the further away they are from us.

Take a look at the following cars, which are all identical in size. The further away the car from us, the smaller it appears from us:-

If you looked at the following street lamps, which are all of the same size. You can again see how the lamps further away appear smaller than the ones closer to the viewer:-

You may have noticed that the distance between the lamps or cars also get smaller with the distance. Despite the fact that they are all equally spaced. This is also caused by Diminution.

If we looked at the same lamps from the side, we can easily see that they are all identical in size & shape, and how the distance between them is also equal. It’s only because of Diminution that they appear smaller to us:-

By just having a good understanding of vanishing points & receding lines, you can draw Diminution very easily. I was able to create Diminution by making multiple copies of the same standing guy. Notice the vanishing points and the receding lines I used to in creating this picture:-

This picture I drew only has one little issue:- The guys are not of the same distance between each other. I will teach you a little trick to get that right in the next section.

How To Draw Diminution, And How To Make Sure Objects Are At Equal Distances

While it’s simple to understand, Diminution is a concept that can intimidate you at first, especially if you tried to draw it without guidelines before. The thing is, drawing Diminution is very simple once you know the way, even simpler than most of the perspective types we encountered so far.

In this tutorial, we are going to replicate the lamps example I showed you above. Not only we will make sure the lamps get smaller in a realistic way, but we will make sure the distance between them will be equal in perspective.

First, we start with drawing the vanishing point, and we draw the horizon line, and two receding lines. The placement of these two receding points depend on your scene. You can draw different receding lines, and follow the tutorial using these lines. You will get different perspective than the one shown here:-

Then we draw the first street lamp. The top & bottom of the lamp should meet at the two receding lines, as following:-

We add another lamp the exact same way. The placement of the second lamp is arbitrary. Notice how smaller the second lamp is, thanks to the receding lines:-

Now, here comes the tricky part, which is placing the 3rd lamp. While we can place it anywhere between the two receding lines we want. We want the lamp to the have the same distance with the other two lamps.

To do that, we use the two lamps as a reference. Extend a straight line from the top of the first lamp, make sure the line crosses the middle point of the second lamp (marked with a small red dot). The point where the line crosses the receding line marks where we are going to place the 3rd lamp:-

Here’s the 3rd lamp after we placed it:-

We can repeat the same steps above to determine the placement of the 4th lamp:-

Here’s the 4th lamp after we placed it:-

By repeating the same steps, continue adding more lamps to the end of the road:-

Even if we took a look at the lamps of the side, where no Diminution occurs, the same technique of drawing the lamps at an equal distance applies. As you can see here:-

Diminution Can Be Used To Draw Different Objects At An Equal Distance

Diminution can be used to draw anything at an equal distance in perspective. Just like we drew the lamps above, we can also have other objects us well, like how I replaced half the lamps with fire hydrants (notice the line from the vanishing point I used to place them):-

It Can Also Help You With Drawing The Human Body In Perspective

The concept of placing objects at an equal distance can be helpful when it comes to drawing the human figure in perspective. In my series about drawing proportions. We have seen how the human body can be divided into equal parts, each represent parts of it:-

These divisions can make it much easier to draw the human body from the front, side & back. But what about drawing the body from an angle? Where the ticks are of not same distance. Here’s where Diminution comes to rescue. As its main objective is to place objects at an equal distance.

Here’s how I used Diminution to create guidelines for drawing the human body laying down, and with the right perspective (The pink lines represent the measuring ticks for the figure):-

I plan to write a dedicated lesson about drawing the human body in perspective.

A Final Word On Diminution

This is the first step toward drawing objects of equal spacing in perspective. Can be used in drawing many realistic scenes, in a simple and easy to follow method. It can help you with other tricky aspects of drawing, like drawing the human body in perspective, this can be useful in drawing many poses.

I hope this post helped you understand Diminution better. Please subscribe to my mailing list for more updates & promotions~

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Next lesson:- What is foreshortening in perspective? And how is it different from diminution?

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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