How to Draw in Perspective


Drawing Art Academy


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drawing in perspective by Vladimir London as the drawing Academy tutor I get many questions from Academy students about how to draw in perspective in this presentation I will cover most common perspective types and also will show you how to use them in drawing you will find out the following types of perspective one-point perspective two-point perspective three-point perspective four point perspective photo perspective perceptive perspective parallel perspective reverse perspective and aerial or atmospheric perspective this list is not exhaustive but for purposes of drawing it would cover most of the artists needs one is perspective perspective is method of drawing three-dimensional objects in space on a two-dimensional surface to achieve the right impression of reality depicting objects sizes and positions in relation to each other all prospective methods can be divided into two groups linear and areal linear perspective deals with objects foreshortening and minimizing image distortion it is based on rules of geometry aerial perspective helps to depict the depth of view and influence of atmospheric effects on the appearance of objects both methods deal with rules of visual perception by a human being observing the world through their eyes and interpreting visual information in one's brain which method of perspective is the correct one I have to say that no kind of perspective fully solved the challenge of depicting three-dimensional objects on a flat surface without distortion so the question what is the correct perspective method has to be rephrased what perspective is better to use for depicting certain objects in particular compositions there is no magic perspective method that will deliver the best results in every single drawing that is why a fine artist must know them all to be able to recognize which one to use for a specific drawing what are the main rules of perspective the rules are quite simple and can be seen in our everyday experience the objects closer to a viewer appear bigger than similar objects located further away the objects on a four-round will partially or completely cover objects on the background if they are aligned on the same ray line a view the further away objects are the less detailed they look and the less contrasting and saturated their colors become these rules were known to fine artists for many centuries here's what Leonardo DaVinci's said about perspective there are three aspects to perspective the first has to do with how the size of objects seems to diminish according to the distance the second the manner in which colors change the farther away they are from the eye the third defines how objects ought to be finished less carefully the further away they are history of drawing in perspective since prehistoric times mankind depicted three-dimensional nature on a flat surface here are the drawings by a Stone Age artist done 32,000 years ago this is the oldest art known to man it was discovered in a cave located in southern France the cave wall murals portray various animals using extraordinary expressive drawing techniques the panel of horses has use of perspective which shows several animals on the same plane similar perspective is applied for Lions rhinos and other animals the animals that are closer to the viewer are bigger and scale and partially cover the animal behind similar perspective can be found in ancient Egypt frescoes and drawings human figures are arranged in planes and the modern viewer has no difficulty to understand which figures are closer and which are further away in Egyptian art the scale of figures does not always follow the rule of perspective as characters size often corresponds to their social hierarchy Egyptian artists often arranged drawing compositions in horizontal bands which gave clear representation of different fields of view foreground middle-ground and background fine artists of ancient Egypt developed their method of perspective to the level that was perfect for creative tasks they had so it cannot be improved any further without breaking the established visual style of Egyptian art the European art of the Middle Ages has another type of perspective it is quite simplified but still portrays the reality so the viewer can understand spatial relationships of depicted objects sometimes the parallel type of perspective was used in cityscape drawings so they look more like plans or Maps parallel perspective is also present in this highly realistic painting by Andrea Mantegna where the body of Christ has drawn with foreshortening but relative sizes of his body are unaffected this parallel perspective is used in combination with one-point perspective where two edges of his support will eventually meet in one point one two and three point perspective found a new life during the Renaissance time understanding rules of linear perspective helped find artists depicting the world in a realistic manner however many of them realized that following linear perspective to the point gives unwanted distortions and often corrected such distortions by introducing multiple vanishing points on various levels here's the fresco by Rafael the Athens school the main vanishing point of this composition is located on the hand of Plato however the background has the lower horizon line at the same time the group of people surrounding Plato is drawn in parallel perspective while Plato's support has clear one-point perspective here's the painting by another Renaissance artist paolo varanasi the marriage at Cana in this artwork the artist adopted multiple vanishing points using several one-point perspectives the vanishing point of foreground buildings coincides with the head of Christ the main focal point of this composition at the same time background buildings seem to have a higher horizon level yet the vanishing point of the floors located in the sky and the big table is drawn with an even higher vanishing point I'm certain that Varanasi knew that vanishing points of horizontally located optics can only be on the horizon yet he bends the rules of perspective to construct his composition to be more believable and realistic des compensating distortion of linear perspective russian orthodox art of the 12th to 19th centuries has an iconography drawing canon that uses the reverse perspective this type of prospective contradicts the photo reality when parallel lines seem to meet in the vanishing point on a horizon level instead such lines on Russian icons are diverging apart rather than converging in one point strangely enough this type of perspective the best reflects a cognitive perception of the world happening in a human brain we have by knock and see objects has two slightly different pictures from two points of view our brain makes an effort to analyze those pictures and merge them into one mentally Russian icons take this perspective to a different level and instead of going away from the viewer and converging perspective icon images step into a viewers world many fine artists use perceptive perspective which bend straight lines to minimize distortions of various grounds on this page you can see that perspective lines are not entirely straight a fine artist reduced distortion of architectural ruins by stepping away from linear one-point perspective here's another illustration of perceptive perspective with a recent development of photographic equipment when high megapixel cameras become affordable we see a sharp increase of drawings featuring photo perspective this kind of perspective is present in artworks because they are mindlessly hand copied from photos without creative input and composition and constructive drawing how to draw in perspective I will make a few fast and rough sketches to illustrate various linear perspective types one point perspective let's begin from the simplest type the one-point perspective I'll do a sketch of a cube that faces the viewer frontally it is located below the viewers eyes level so the horizon line is indicated above the cube the front plane of the cube is seen as square from the corner of that square I'm drawing lines which converge in one point on the horizon line this point is called the vanishing point I mark edges cubes rear plain as if this object is completely transparent and we can see through it I'm using a black pencil to outline the visible edges of the cube because the cube is from above only two planes are visible the top and front ones for this painting of Piazza San Marco in Venice Canaletto used one-point perspective however this canvas has not just one but three vanishing points on the same horizon line there are two vanishing points for buildings on the left and one on the right and one more for the ground despite having three vanishing points it is still the one-point perspective which has been used three times for various objects I will make another sketch of the one-point perspective this time amending the rule by shifting the cube to the side from the vanishing point once again the lines of all side edges of the cube will meet in one point on the horizon line the front plane of the cube is depicted as an undistorted square this is approximation strictly speaking this plane has to appear with Distortion however off it fine artists choose to draw frontal surfaces as if they are located straight in front of the viewers eyes all outlined of his edges of the cube in a black pencil so far we draw a cube low the viewers eye level I'll quickly illustrate another example of a one-point perspective where horizon lines go in the middle of a cube so the top part of this object is seen from below while the bottom part is seen from above you in this sketch I will also approach frontally located surfaces so they appear without Distortion here's an example of a sketch taken from the drawing Academy video lesson as you can see the lines of the facade are converging in one point perspective while the sidewall of the house is depicted as undistorted this type of perspective is clearly seen on the master pace by Bellini Annunciation the artist used a single vanishing point above the Angels head all horizontal lines of the building side which is facing us go perfectly in parallel to the horizon line to point perspective I will make another sketch now showing the 2 point perspective horizon line will be located above the object so the viewers eye level is higher than the cube the cubes vertical edge is indicated by a vertical line two lines are going from that cube and meet on the horizon the dot where they meet is at the first vanishing point the second vanishing point is also located on the horizon line to the left of the cube horizontal edges of the cubes frontal plane will virtually converge in the second vanishing point all vertical are drawn up right while all horizontal edges are following the two point perspective I draw this cube as it is is transparent so all planes and edges are marked all visible azar outlined in black now let's make another illustration of how to point perspective works for an object seen from below this time the horizon line will be located under the cube lines of all horizontal edges come together in two vanishing points one on the left and another on the right hand side you I will indicate visible edges in black and shade the bottom plane of the cube to give it a more three-dimensional appearance you in the drawing Academy course I presented multiple video lessons where two-point perspective is used here's an example of the video lessons on how to draw a building in perspective it is based on the st. Paul Cathedral in London the majority of the construction is seen above the viewers eye level and illustrates the case when prospective lines go down to vanishing points on the horizon the composition of painting by fine artist is built in two point perspective one vanishing point is located on the shoulder of the left hand side figure and this point indicates the location of the horizon line or viewers eye level the second vanishing point is to be found outside of the painting canvas it will also be located on the horizon level three-point perspective sometimes a two-point perspective enough to realistically portray objects that are seen from far above or far below the horizon line a three-point perspective is usually used when a viewer has to turn his or her head up or down the seen object in the case of a three-point perspective not only will the horizontal edges of an object be tilted toward vanishing points on the horizon but also the vertical edges will incline to the third vanishing point far above or far below the horizon line on this sketch all three vanishing points are located outside of the paper edge I will indicate with three arrows the directions where three point perspective lines are converging a three point perspective is often used by fine artists in ceiling frescoes because the position of frescoes is high above the viewers head this composition has used three point perspective with horizontal lines of the building converging to the far left point as well as to the point that is located far down however there is the third vanishing point far up and vertical lines of columns are pointing toward that point four-point perspective when a viewer looks on an object closer when an object has a significant size it is seen both above and below the eyes level in such a case a four point perspective can be used to depict this object I will make a rough sketch to illustrate this kind of perspective there are four vanishing points here two points are located on a horizon line while two more are above and below it the top cube is seen from below and has three vanishing points at the same time a similar cube that is seen from above has a different vanishing point which is located far below the horizon these two cubes can be integral parts of this common bigger object vertical lines are not straight but bended so they can simultaneously converge into points this makes a total four points in a single composition I will indicate these four vanishing points by arrows here's the drawing of two male models by russian artist fedor Bruni done in 1813 the models support is drawn in two point perspective with one vanishing point to the right of the drawing which is located on the horizon level and another point to the left outside of the visible area the standing model is seen both above and below the horizon line so artists used two more vanishing points far above and below the drawing the models back shoulders and head are realistically depicted as if we are looking from below while his foot is seen from above the four point perspective makes this drawing very realistic photo perspective the four point perspective brings us closer to the photo perspective in photo perspective all tilted lines will appear bended as if they are distorted by a photo lens both horizontal and vertical lines of objects edges can curve in photo perspective here I'm indicating with a pencil that lines are not straight curvature of perspective lines is applicable to the and invisible edges of the cube you I will mark the visible edges in black pencil so you can see how the cube is distorted here you with development of the photographic equipment there are more and more artists that choose to use photos to draw from artworks drawn from photos include photo lens distortion as they are copied from the original photos dot by dot without any creativity or interpretation the practice of drawing from photos is copying and cannot be called a fine art in its true meaning to find out why you may check another video presentation in the drawing Academy course named why drawing from photos is treacherous in that video I explain why drawing from photos can prevent you from learning good drawing skills perceptive perspective another kind of perspective where a fine artist intentionally bends straight lines of linear perspective is called the perceptive perspective this perspective method allows the artist to minimize distortion of three-dimensional space on a flat surface of drawing I will draw a rough sketch of an interior using the perceptive perspective method perspective lines of imaginary room ceiling and floors are bent in such a way that the higher the point of view the less tilted the lines of the ceiling are the same goes to the floor lines the foreground is less tilted toward the vanishing point than the background that is why these continuous lines are curved I will mark the floorboards and curved lines the curvature of these lines is changing according to the board position the closer the board to the central line the less Bend that it is here you see that horizontal edges of sidewalls are drawn bent I will draw a cup on both walls to illustrate how bent lines of perceptive perspective apply here the vertical edges of these windows are straight to complete this sketch I will draw another set of windows on the far left wall using the same perceptive perspective straight lines are used to indicate vertical and horizontal lines of the rooms front edge the same rule is applied to the wall on the background it is depicted as a perfectly straight rectangle the window on the background wall has rectangular shape as it is undistorted in a straight up view the decoration on the ceiling follows the same rules the horizontal lines are straight while vertically tilted lines are curved I will mark the most the lines of the drawing and black pencil in this example by a man we'll do it we can see how the fine artist used perceptive perspective to reduce distortion of the church's arches and ceiling indicated perspective lines below the horizon are straight while lines above horizon are bended aerial perspective another type of perspective his perspective which helps to depict atmospheric effects in nature and how air affects the look of objects located within different distances from the viewer the further away an object the less saturated its colors are and the less contrast between its tonal values the edges of an object may become blurry and definition of objects details reduces in these paintings of landscapes you can see how air and clouds on the background make warm colors colder and less saturated the contrast of objects reduces the further those objects are while objects on the foreground are painted with attention to details objects on the background become less detailed the closer the landscape is to the horizon the more pale blue it becomes however on this painting of a sunset the Sun tints the sky and mountains in orange and yellow colors these rules of aerial perspective are good to know and use in painting and drawing I hope you found this presentation on how to draw in perspective useful if you have any comments or questions please submit your feedback below on this page I will be happy to answer your questions in a separate video to learn more about perspective and sees step by step video lessons on how to draw in perspective please visit the drawing Academy website at in the drawing Academy course I present several video lessons dedicated to one two three and four point perspective as well as aerial perspective in addition many video lessons show how to draw in perspective cityscapes and landscapes geometrical objects portraits and human figures this course is a great educational resource to both beginners and advanced art students who want to learn drawing and improve their drawing skills sign up for the drawing Academy course today you