What is Perspective?

Drawing in perspective is a method that illustrates dimensions on a flat surface. The two most important elements are The Horizon and Vanishing Point. The horizon is always the eye level and the vanishing point/s in most cases sit on it. Everything above the line is seen from below and everything below the line is seen from above. There are 3 perspective techniques:

  • One-Point Perspective is when there’s only 1 vanishing point and it always sits on the horizon. The vanishing point is typically near the center of the canvas.
  • Drawing a Cube
    1. Start with the face of the object, in this case a square.
    2. The square has 3 points that are closer to the vanishing point. Connect each one with the vanishing point.
    3. You’ll have some space between the square and the vanishing point. Draw one vertical and one horizontal line to create a cube as in the image.
  • In Two-Point Perspective, every line either ends up crossing one of the vanishing points or being vertical. As a result, there are no horizontal lines. The two vanishing points usually sit on the far left and far right of the horizon and are always sitting on it.
  • Drawing a Cube
    1. Start by drawing a single line – which will be the front edge
    2. Connect each end of the line with each vanishing point
    3. Draw a vertical line between the front edge and each of the two vanishing points
    4. (Only if the cube is not sitting on the horizon) Connect each vanishing point with the bottom end of the lines drawn in the previous step to create the bottom of the cube.
  • Three-Point Perspective. Same concept as the two-point perspective, but there’s an additional point which can be placed above or below the horizon (never on it). There are no vertical or horizontal lines – every line crosses a vanishing point. (The vertical lines are now starting from the 3rd point)
  • Drawing a Cube
    1. Start with a dot where you want the closest edge to be
    2. Connect it to each vanishing point
    3. Start by drawing two lines, each starting from the bottom vanishing point, crossing the lines created in step 2, but not at the vanishing point. The points where these lines cross are points X and Y.
    4. Draw two lines each starting from each one of the other vanishing points, and both connecting at the same point on the highlighted blue line.
    5. Connect each vanishing point on the horizon with point X and Y to create the top of the cube.

What tools do I need to draw in Perspective?

Basically, you don't need anything except pen and paper, however a ruler could be helpful when starting out or just practicing.

Practice, Perspective of a Photo

Try drawing lines on different photos and find where are the vanishing points and the horizon.

Starting out

Now you can start practicing. Get yourself a ruler, because it’s hard to get the lines straight at first and start drawing cubes with only one vanishing point, on the horizon or above/below it. After that try making a house and a street next to it. You can use the cube as the base. Once you’re feeling comfortable drawing with one point, start with two or three.

See my video on drawing in perspective:

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