Perspective – The basics

Perspective – The Basics

What you don’t understand…

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Welcome back to CHROMA sketching advice blog! This week we will be discussing perspective; this is one of the most fundamental elements for a drawing that prizes itself to look realistic. The basic principles of perspective are really easy to understand and apparently really easy to implement. However, many people struggle to incorporate it to their drawings and thus the result is not satisfactory. This is going to be an introduction to perspective and to a related series of articles. The following weeks we will build up on how to easily incorporate this to your drawings and make them look 3 dimensional.

The confusion related to perspective only derives from a lack of understanding of how this works in the real world and how it translates on your paper when sketching. Things are really simple. Objects look smaller, flatter and paler as they move far away from your eyes. If you think about it, this happens with all objects around us. You see a mountain (which you now is huge) in the far distance and it looks like you can squeeze it between your fingers. It also looks slightly blue and you can hardly distinct any slopes or big rocks – it is just flat. Now think of yourself looking outside your window on the fourth floor, seeing people on the street below. Again, they look much smaller than they actually are when they stand next to you.


 This is pretty much what happens with all objects, even with those you have been struggling to sketch right. A chair that is in a distance from you, looks smaller and flatter. Your friend who is standing 10 metres away from you looks smaller than they actually are. And that building you have been trying to sketch, guess what…you see it smaller than its real dimensions because you are standing in some distance from it.


This theory obviously is not something new to you. You have heard about this before and you have tried to put it on paper already…but still your shapes look wonky. This is entirely your fault because you draw what you know and not what you actually see!

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 What you need to understand from the previous paragraphs is that when we draw, we draw things as we see them; not as we know them. You always need to keep in mind that perspective distorts shapes, proportion and colour. What you know to be a perfect cube in reality …sketch wise will be a weird shape which is not a cube but it will look like a correct cube in perspective.

 Understanding that we draw what we see and not what we know is the first step to draw perspective right. The technique is dead easy and it will take you 5 minutes to understand.


Next week we will grab pen and paper and will see how this works on a real drawing with some basic shapes.

Happy Sketching!


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