Tuesday, 30 April 2013

How to draw with perspective

Mastering One point and Two point Perspective

Perspective in drawing
Figure 1

I am going to discuss the use of one-point and two-point perspective in drawings and how you can effectively pull of a perspective drawing with absolute ease.  

In art we commonly use one, two and three point perspective but I will only discuss the first two and at a later stage I will introduce three-point perspective.  The first requirement in perspective is that there must always be a horizon line.  All your perspective points should always meet the horizon line.  In one-point perspective there is only one perspective point on that line while in two-point perspective there will be two perspective points on the horizon line (see figure 1).

When it comes to perspective in a drawing there are three main aspects that should be considered.  

First is how the size of an object seems to diminish as it moves further away from the human eye and closer to the horizon line.  

The second thing is how aerial perspective comes to play.  Aerial perspective is the impact of atmospheric light on an object as it moves further away from the eye.  For example, when you are close to mountains you can see the beautiful brown colors of the ground and greens on wild flora but as you move further and further away from them, the mountains become almost blue.  That blue is the atmospheric light or the aerial perspective.

The third thing is that objects that are further away from you or closer to the vanishing point don't need as much detail as the objects closer to you.  Your eye naturally sees less detail the further away it is from an object.  This concept can be used in drawings as well.  You can spend more time on the foreground and add more detail to emphasize that is closer to you.  You can also use warmer colors in your foreground and cooler colors in your background.  This will make the foreground pop forward.

How to get the angle right

Getting perspective right can often just mean that you need to get the angles right.  You can make an easy angle measuring tool by cutting two strips of paper out of stiff cardboard about 4 x 20 cm and fix them together with a paper fastener.  Make sure these strips can still easily move so you can manipulate the angles at which it opens.  

Hold your new measuring tool up in the air as if you are holding it against glass and open it until it is displaying the correct angles like you see in front of you.  Take the angle measurement tool and put it against your drawing surface and copy its lines.  You can measure all your angles like this and so get a very accurate perspective drawing.  

A perspective drawing can be above eye level or below eye level.  When the subject is below the horizon line it is below eye level as if you are looking down at it (in Figure 1, both drawings are above eye level).  When the subject is above eye level, the drawing is draw from above eye level as if you are looking up at it.

Perspective is an easy concept to grasp.  You can see perspective in almost any drawing and is very useful knowledge to have. 
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