If you’re an artist, or even just a dabbler, at some point you’re going to want to learn how to draw perspective. It’s a vital skill for any kind of representational art, from landscapes to cityscapes to portraits. But perspective can be confusing, and even frustrating, for beginners. Where do you start?
What is Perspective?
Simply put, perspective is the way we see objects in three-dimensional space. It’s the relationship between the objects in a drawing and the viewer. Objects appear smaller the farther away they are from the viewer, and they converge on a “vanishing point” on the horizon.
One-point perspective is probably the most common type of perspective used in art. It gets its name from the fact that all lines in the drawing converge on one single vanishing point on the horizon. This is how we see things normally with our two eyes, so it’s no wonder it’s such a popular choice among artists!
To draw a one-point perspective, start by deciding where your vanishing point will be. Then draw a horizon line perpendicular to your eye level (this will be parallel to the top or bottom edge of your paper). Once you have your horizon line and vanishing point, you can start drawing in your subject matter, making sure all lines converge on that one vanishing point.
A few things to point out, your horizon line can be anywhere up or down on your drawing surface. The lower the horizon the higher your eye level. The higher the horizon the lower your eye level. So as an example, if you wanted a birds-eye view, your horizon level would be high. Drawing everything under the horizon. If you wanted the view from an ant on the ground, your horizon would be low. Drawing everything overlapping and above the horizon.
Play with one point perspective, draw your room, draw a tunnel, or draw a bridge. And keep in mind, perspective lines are just a guide. What you draw within that guide is up to you. Eventually, you won’t need the guide anymore. The perspective will become second nature in your drawings.
Two-point perspective gets its name from…you guessed it…the fact that it uses two vanishing points! This type of perspective is useful for drawing geometric shapes like cubes and pyramids, as well as any kind of scene with receding parallel lines (think train tracks disappearing into the distance).
To draw a two-point perspective, start by finding your two vanishing points. These will be located on either side of your Horizon Line at equal distances from your viewer (that’s you!). Once you have your vanishing points established, you can start drawing in your subject matter using lines that converge on those points.
Again your horizon line can be anywhere up or down on your drawing surface.
Play with a two-point perspective, draw your room, draw a tunnel, or draw a bridge. Now check out the difference between this drawing and the drawings you did in one point perspective.
Multi-point perspective is similar to two-point perspective except…you guessed it again…there are more than two vanishing points! This type of perspective is used when drawings include many receding parallel lines (think skyscrapers), or when an object is rotated so that multiple sides are visible (like a cube).
As with one and two-point perspectives, start by finding all of your vanishing points. In a multi-point perspective, there will usually be at least three (and sometimes more). Once you have found all of your points, begin drawing in your subject matter using lines that converge on those points.”
! Drawing Tip
Have your vanishing points far off your drawing surface. This gives your drawings a more natural look.
In conclusion, if you’re interested in learning how to draw perspective, there are a few things you should know. First, perspective is all about creating the illusion of depth on a two-dimensional surface. Second, there are different types of perspectives, each with its own set of rules. And third, once you understand the basics of perspective, you can start experimenting with different techniques to create your own unique style. So what are you waiting for? Grab a pencil and paper and start exploring the world of perspective!