What is Perspective?

In order to create believable sketches, it’s imperative that a designer has an understanding of perspective theory. An audience will instinctively know when a sketch has been drawn ‘out of perspective’, even without knowing perspective rules. Correct perspective is also vital to be able to estimate and convey the proportions of a sketches object. There are many types of perspective-forms. But the most common are 2point-perspective and 3-point perspective. 3 point perspective is the exact translation of the real-life situation. 2point perspective is mostly used by designers because with this method we can create believable sketches faster than with the 3-point perspective. 3-point perspective is mostly used in architecture.


The sketch on the bottom illustrates the rules of two-point perspective. Notice that all the vertical lines on the boxes are parallel to each other, and perpendicular to the horizon line (Wich is a huge advantage towards 3-point perspective in constructing a drawing). Parallel horizontal lines on the actual object are not parallel in the sketch, but meet at specific vanishing points (V1, V2) on the horizon. These vanishing points are arbitrarily placed by the designer. Placing these vanishing points too close together results in a distorted or ‘warped’ perspective. To avoid this effect make sure that the total distance in between these vanishing point is larger than 5 times the with of the object (B). Another guideline in creating a good perspective is to make sure that a perpendicular front corner of an object (α) exceeds an angle of 90 degrees.

First we’ll create a very basic house. We’ll Start by drawing a horizontal line this will be the horizon. Create 2 Vanishing points VP1 and VP2 on the horizon. Then draw 2 diverging lines from each vanishing point. Connect the intersections with line AB. Draw a second vertical line CD. Find the center of the square you just created by drawing the diagonals. Draw another vertical line trough this center point and indicate a height F. Connect A and C with F. Now extend the created profile towards VP1. Indicate a depth F. Draw another vertical line FG. Draw a line from G to VP2. Find J and extend to K . Connect all corresponding intersections and highlight the visible edges to finisch the drawing. Apply the same principle in similar more complex exercises.


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