Design Skills - Resources and Training for Designers

Perspective Drawing
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Perspective drawing is a set of technique used to draw a 3-dimensional scene onto a 2-dimensional surface. It is a great way to create realistic freehand or measured (to scale) drawings. This page explores the 6 basic perspective techniques.

| Linear perspective | Overlapping | Size and space variation | Modelling | Details and contour | Colour value and change |

Linear Perspective

Linear perspective was invented by artists in the 1500s. It is a great way to create realistic 3 dimensional drawings because it reproduces the way we see. This is achieved by drawing lines which converge towards and appear to meet on one or more vanishing points on the horizon.

Even though perspective drawing may seem confusing at first, the principles are quite straightforward. In 1 point perspective drawing, lines converge towards one vanishing point. In 2 points perspective drawing, lines converge towards two vanishing points. In 3 points perspective drawing, lines converge towards three vanishing points.

The horizon line, also known as eye level, is an imaginary plane passing through the eyes of the viewer when looking straight ahead. Therefore, a perspective drawing of the same object/scene will be different depending on the position of the eye level/horizon. For example, someone sitting on a chair looking straight ahead does not see the exact same view of a room as someone standing up looking straight ahead.

The examples below show a box in both 1 and 2 points perspective. It is best to start practicing with simple objects such as boxes before moving to more complex ones.

Click on the image to see the same box viewed from different eye levels:

1 point perspective - Click on the thumbnail to open a larger image
2 points perspective - Click on the thumbnail to open a larger image
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Overlapping:

Depth perception will vary depending on how objects overlap
Overlapping - Click on the thumbnail to open a larger image
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Size and space variation:

Objects appear smaller and closer together as they recede in the distance
Size and space variation - Click on the thumbnail to open a larger image
Size and space variation - Click on the thumbnail to open a larger image
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Modelling:

The principle of adding texture, light, shading and shadow to a drawing. The 3-dimensional characteristics of the sketch on the right are more obvious than those of the sketch on the left. This is because more refined texture, light, shading and shadow were added to the drawing.
Modelling - Click on the thumbnail to open a larger image
Modelling - Click on the thumbnail to open a larger image
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Details and contour:

Where or what is the centre of interest. On the drawing on the left, too much detailing went into the rendering of the background. The drawing as a result looses its impact. On the drawing on the right however, the background is rendered lightly so the emphasis is on the statue.
Details and edges - Click on the thumbnail to open a larger image
Details and edge - Click on the thumbnail to open a larger images
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Colour and value change :

Affects the perception of distance and depth. The drawing on the left offers no information on depth and distances. This perception was enhanced by adding a dark background to the drawing on the right.
Colour and value change - Click on the thumbnail to open a larger image
Color and value change - Click on the thumbnail to open a larger image
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Skills Communication

> Mood and Sample boards > Sketching > Isometric and Axonometric Projections > Perspective Drawing > Model Making > Figure Drawing > Colour Rendering


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