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The Secrets of Perspective Drawing Made Easy

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Perspective Drawing

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The Artist's Guide to Perspective with Patrick Connors DVD | Learn perspective drawing

Join Patrick Connors as he reveals the secrets to mastering the basics of perspective drawing

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Perspective Made Simple: A Practical Guide for Artists | One point perspective & 
3d drawing tips and advice

Learn essential perspective drawing techniques and how to apply them to common subjects easily

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Sketching in Perspective | Begin to sketch realistic images with this download on perspective drawing

Presenting eight lessons on perspective drawing and composition, each featuring an easy-to-follow exercise

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Perspective Drawing: Tips and Advice on Creating Realistic Art

By Courtney Jordan, Online Editor

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 Perspective drawing, one point perspective, 3d drawing

In Saint Augustine Teaching in Rome by Benozzo Gozzoli, painted in 1464, the vanishing point on Saint Augustine’s hand and the orthogonal lines that radiate from this point create one-point perspective.

Why Knowing How to Draw Perspective Is Important

I will be the first to admit that learning and practicing linear perspective is a little bit like eating your veggies when you are a kid. You aren’t sure about them even though you know they are good for you but, in the end, you learn to love them. But what is really worth remembering about perspective drawing is that if you know the basics, you’ve got all the capabilities of a 3d drawing in your hands. That’s why understanding linear perspective is so important for artists, beginners included. 

Linear perspective revolutionized the way artists perceived and incorporated spatial depth in their work. Established in solid, mathematical terms in the 15th century, linear perspective creates the illusion of three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface.


Telling the Difference Between One-Point Perspective and Two-Point Perspective

To create effective linear perspective, artists establish a horizon line, a vanishing point on that line, and multiple orthogonal, or vanishing, lines. The horizon line is a horizontal line that runs across the paper or canvas to represent the viewer’s eye level and delineates the sky meeting the ground.The orthogonal lines, which distort objects by foreshortening them, create the optical illusion that objects grow smaller and closer together as they get farther away. These imaginary lines recede on the paper to meet at one point on the horizon called the vanishing point.

The difference between one-point perspective and two-point perspective is the number of vanishing points and where they are placed on the horizon line. For more on the basics of drawing perspective, consider the digital download of our best-selling perspective drawing workshop, Perspective Made Simple, which breaks down all of linear perspective into simple, focused steps that anyone can learn.


Practicing Your Perspective Drawing Lessons: Where to Start

When first learning how to incorporate perspective into your composition, concentrate on one-point perspective with one vanishing point (two-point perspective and three-point perspective use two and three vanishing points, respectively). One-point perspective is helpful when drawing or painting roads, railroad tracks, or buildings that directly face the viewer.

 linear perspective, two point perspective, 2 point perspective

Both images from Art History, Revised Edition Volume Two, by Stephen Addiss, Bradford R. Collins, and Marilyn Stokstad (Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York, New York).

According to linear-perspective instructor Patrick Connors, “The components of perspective are three: the eye (the artist or viewer), the picture plane, and the figure (or object). The science is about the relationship among the three. An introduction to perspective will enhance an artist’s appreciation for the perceptual underpinnings of the illusions of space.”

For more from Connors, check out The Artist's Guide to Perspective with Patrick Connors DVD, which features more than three hours of instruction that will enrich your drawings with realism. You can also take a look at the video download of Sketching in Perspective right now—a resource that allows you to discover the theories of perspective drawing as well as their straightforward and easy application from artist-instructor, Carl Dalio.  

So feel confident in your knowledge of the basics of perspective drawing. They can take you wherever you want to go, artistically speaking, and allow artists just like you to create illusionistic spaces in their drawings and paintings that look incredibly real. Enjoy! (Adapted from an article by Stephanie Kaplan.)


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Courtney Jordan is the Online Editor of Artist Daily. For her, art is one of life’s essentials and a career mainstay. She’s pursued academic studies of the Old Masters of Spain and Italy as well as museum curatorial experience, writing and reporting on arts and culture as a magazine staffer, and acquiring and editing architecture and cultural history books. She hopes to recommit herself to more studio time, too, working in mixed media.