What is perspective drawing?

Perspective drawing adds a sense of realism to your artwork. It’s crucial to understand the basic principles of perspective drawing in order to create realistic drawing or paintings, because your eyes want to see things how they are actually in real life.

Linear perspective was developed by Filippo Brunelleschi Italian architect and designer in the early 1400s. If you look at some paintings before that century, you will see that artists were not consistent in creation of 3-D world. Brunelleschi realized that the extension of parallel lines of real world’s objects converge to a single point on the horizon line called vanishing point. And this recognition was revolutionary.

There are different types of perspective drawing from simple to more complex.

1-point perspective drawing

This is the simplest way to create 3-D space. Object surfaces that facing you are made of horizontal and vertical lines, while edges that move away from the viewer need to follow the grid. Vanishing lines intersect the horizon line in one single point.

1-point perspective drawing
1-point perspective drawing

This method is used to render objects that face the viewer like a simple city street, or a room composition.

The composition is getting boring if the horizon line is placed too high. It feels like a security camera angle. We see too much from the boring ground which disconnects us from the space. Moving the horizon line to somewhere the bottom third of the image, and adding more background elements can result a more interesting dynamic look.

In 1-point perspective you can rotate the horizon line to create variety. This method is called the „Dutch angle”.

2-point perspective drawing

This method is used when objects are not facing towards you, but they still have vertical lines which are in parallel. Other lines converge to two points on the horizon line resulting two separated vanishing points.

2-point perspective drawing
2-point perspective drawing

Vanishing points that are close together, result a wide angle lens effect which heavily distorts drawing. While putting them far apart will create an isometric effect.

3-point perspective grid

It yields the most dynamic drawings.

3-point perspective drawing
3-point perspective drawing

None-linear perspectives

It uses a warped grid to mimic a fish-eye lens providing more background information.

In Photoshop: Banana Pan (Panoramic Distortion) is an approximation of a panoramic photo.