Try a different angle
Simple shapes in perspective
Why would you read this article?
If you wish you could draw realistically then the first step you should make is learn the basics of perspective. Start with very simple shapes – a cube and a cylinder are a good starting point. Perspective, when broken down to simple steps is genuinely very easy. This tutorial will show you how to draw your first simple shapes; then it’s up to you to practice and experiment with more complicated objects.
- Step 1: Horizon and Vanishing Points
- Step 2: Vertical lines
- Step 3: Lines in Perspective
- Step 4: Close the box
- Step 5: Below or Above the Horizon
- Step 6: Closing this box too
- Step 7: Cylinder, Pyramid, Cone
Now you can download this tutorial in PDF Format. It’s free sharing of knowledge.
Step 1: Horizon and Vanishing Points
The first thing you have to define is the horizon and the 2 vanishing points. The horizon coincides with the level of your eyes. The vanishing points is where all the lines of your drawing are “sucked into”. Read this very simple article to easily understand how horizon and vanishing points work: WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT…?
Step 2: Vertical lines
Easy step really. Just draw a vertical line. For the sake of this example draw it as shown below (part of the line above the horizon and part of it below the horizon).
Step 3: Lines in Perspective
Again this is a very easy step. Remember that all your lines (except for the vertical ones) extend and are “sucked” by the vanishing points. The lines on the left hand side of your vertical will go to the left vanishing point. The lines on the right hand side of your vertical will go to the right vanishing point. Simple as that.
Step 4: Close the box
You can now pretty much see your box, drawn in perspective. The last element missing are the rear vertical lines. Decide how long your side lines want to be and draw the vertical lines to terminate them. Erase any unwanted extensions.
Step 5: Below or Above the Horizon
What happens when your item is entirely above or below the horizon (previously we looked at an example that was partially above and partially below the horizon). Good news. The principles are exactly the same. Draw your front vertical line, your side lines going to the vanishing points and the rear vertical lines terminating your side lines. For something lying below the horizon you should end up with something like this:
Step 6: Closing this box too
To complete this shape, you might have already guessed it, you need a couple of extra lines. Your rear vertical lines follow exactly the same rules – anything on their right hand side vanishes to the right vanishing point and similarly the left hand side lines vanish to the left. See below:
Step 7: Cylinder, Pyramid, Cone
We looked at the design of a simple box in perspective. Trust me this is the only thing you need to know to create pretty much any other basic shape. Create a box in perspective and you can then fit any shape within it. See below how cylinders, cones and pyramids are drawn within boxes. The same apply for spheres. More complicated shapes are usually a combination of the below:
We learnt how to draw a simple box in perspective. This can then be extended to fit other basic shapes. It is all a matter of practice. Start with simple boxes and then put them together to create something more complicated – a very interesting subject and great practice is a cityscape. Play with boxes above and below the horizon. The one behind or next to the other. Start experimenting with recesses (windows) or extrusions (balconies) etc.
Do not panic and start looking for detailed tutorials and long instructions. All you need is literally the above few paragraphs and sketches. It is all a matter of practice then.
“The article above as well as the whole series of the Sketching Advice articles is an effort to put together my knowledge and offer it to fellow artists in their first steps in as simple words as possible . I am not a professional artist or tutor, however I have spent some time sketching and through trial and error I realised that following some basic principles can simplify sketching a lot. Feel free to ask any questions and I ll be glad to help if I can .”
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