Perspective 101

There are typically three types of perspective drawing: one-point perspective, two-point perspective, and three-point perspective.

One-point perspective used for compositions that look at objects from the front.

Two-point perspective used for compositions that look at objects at an angle. As it is close to what the human eye normally sees, it is the most used perspective when drawing manga backgrounds and illustrations.

In one-point perspective, lines converged on one point from the background to the foreground. In two-point perspective, besides depth, lines representing width also converge.

Three-point perspective used for drawing compositions that are looking up at a large object or looking down from a prominent place.

The vanishing point will always be on the horizontal line, or “eye level” of the scene, which represents the height of the eye or camera of the observer.

One-point perspective is of course the entry point to any other. Understanding all the principles in depth can take a little while.

How to draw with one-point perspective

1. It’s always good to do a quick thumbnail sketch first. This will help you find the rough location of the convergence lines, VP and horizon beforehand.

2. You’ll want to start off with the horizon. Since we have a tendency to set it too high, be mindful of where it would actually be if it is not visible. Next, you can draw the most prominent convergence lines and the VP.

3. Add the key elements, the big shapes. The convergence lines and VP will help you place them correctly.

4. Once you’re satisfied that the general perspective is correct, you can go about adding detail.

All those unfamiliar terms and rules might have you scratching your head, but dedicating any free time you have to grasp the concept is beneficial to you in the long run.

I have no special education/professional background in art. Drawing is a hobby I enjoyed doing growing up. The information I know come from books, articles and YouTube. It has been roughly four, maybe five months since I began drawing on the tablet and one take away is – fine artists (or architects, graphic designers, and illustrators) who might struggle to draw a straight line manually can draw whatever they want on the computer. They can draw in perfect linear perspective, or in a distorted one. They can model form, construct acutely accurate proportions, even introduce nuanced, varied line. I respect the work and I’m left in awe most of the time… but it just doesn’t bring me the same serenity traditional drawing does.

Drawing’s philosophical side lies in its empiricism and visual epistemology. It teaches us some facts about the world, and it teaches us how we know what we know. We select aspects of the world and translate them into marks, lines, shapes, and tones. Although drawing doesn’t match reality, it heightens consciousness of reality’s appearance. We learn from studying drawing that we are aware of only a fraction of our visual world, even though we have full sight.

We see only what we need to see, or what we want to see.