Perspective is the key to almost any drawing or sketch as well as many paintings. It is one of the fundamentals that you need to understand in order to create realistic and believable scenes. This is used to give a 3 dimension to a drawing because it allows us to see a depth in an image and to understand the distance between the objects which makes it more interesting rather than a flat image. But more importantly, it captures how our eyes see the world naturally, which is not in a measured scale.We are going to start with one point perspective drawing. Then this post will be followed by other posts for two-point and three-point perspective.

 

I have been drawing since I can’t remember and I can definitely say that learning the rules of perspective made a huge difference in my drawings. After explaining the basic rules, I am going to share a lot of examples and downloadable briefs and exercises.

Be ready!!

 

One point perspective drawing is used when we draw an object that looks directly at you. It is usually used when the subject is looking directly at the face of an object, or when looking to a landscape where we can clearly see the horizon line.

 

The horizon line : All perspective drawings use the horizon line (which is a horizontal line.. yep!) that represent the horizon but also the viewer’s  eyes level. The height of the horizon will affect the placement of the vanishing point as well as the viewer’s eye level. Most of the time the horizon line will be imaginary so while you should include it you should draw it lightly so it can be easily erased later.

The vanishing point : is a point on the horizon line where any set of lines that are going the same direction as the viewers is looking will meet at the vanishing point (These lines are called orthogonal lines). It is the place where objects begin to disappear because of the distance.

Things to know about one point perspective

 

– The farthest are the objects the smallest they look. While orthographic projection allow accurate measurements, perspective projection shows distant objects as smaller, which makes it more realist.

– I usually show the ground plane by coloring it (grey in here) so it is easier to differentiate the floor.

– The horizon line and vanishing point can be anywhere, it all depends on your point of view.

– The horizon is shown by a straight line across your drawing. In closed places where you can not see it, like a room, you can create your own horizon. This is where your eye-level is.

– When placing the horizon line, you are actually deciding on the viewer’s eyes level. Anything above the horizon line is also above the viewer’s eyes level and anything below the horizon line is below the viewer’s eyes level.

– Once you know how to draw squares and boxes in perspective, you can start drawing anything using the same rules. They provide a structure for other forms, that is why this is usually the first thing we learn in perspective drawing. Then, it is better to learn how to draw ellipses and cylinder in order to be able to draw circular shape objects as glasses, tires, bottles etc.

– One point perspective drawing is good to use for simple objects sketches. It is a good way to get started in perspective drawing, but it can’t be used for every object in every position.

– Perspective is all around you. Get inspired by the objects or places you see in your daily life!

Drawing of a box using one point perspective

As it is best to start off simple, learning how to draw a box in one point perspective is a good start.

First, trace the horizon line and place a vanishing point on it. Draw the front side of the box first.

From the corners of the square , draw the straight lines that converge to the vanishing point.

Any slight mistakes can lead to distortion in the drawing. Therefore, it is better to use a ruler for this part.

End the form. Remember that these final lines in the back are parallel to their coinciding lines in the front.

Clean up! When drawing in perspective you’re always going to end up with some extra lines or lines that are too long.  You can draw all lines lightly first and then erase them later.

I personally like to keep these lines in some of my drawings!

As I said it before, learning how to draw boxes is important because it provide a structure for other forms, that is why this is usually the first thing we learn in perspective drawing. Try to draw different size of boxes, then I will show you how to draw ellipses and cylinders.

Drawing of an ellipse using one point perspective

An ellipse is the result of viewing a circle from any point other than “straight on”.  To draw an ellipse in perspective, we need to draw a square first.

Now, find the center of the ellipse by tracing the diagonals and the middle lines of the square. These lines will be used as guide to draw the ellipse.

You see where these lines meet the edges of the square? Using these points, we can draw an accurate ellipse.

Since there are many objects that are circular in shape, ellipses will be used quite frequently in our drawings and paintings.

Drawing circles in some general drawings can be tough so try to practice a lot this part. Try all kind of circles with different sizes in different vanishing lines !

Drawing of a cylinder using one point perspective

Drawing a cylinder when the part we are facing is the circle face is actually really easy. Remember how we draw the box ? Use the same steps for this kind of cylinder.

To draw a cylinder in perspective first draw a prism that is as tall as you would like the cylinder to be. Then use the the top and the bottom of the prism to draw the ellipses. Connect these shapes with vertical lines. Here is your cylinder in perpective.

Different size of cylinders using one point perspective

Examples of one point perspective drawing

Well yes, this is the famous example of the railroad. This is the most basic example of one point perspective and the easiest! Draw the trees and the road using the converging lines and see how the farthest are the objects the smallest they look!

Draw your horizon line first, anywhere on the page, though closer to middle works best for this exercise. Trace the back wall of your room and the main corners of the room using the vanishing point. Add objects to the room using boxes and cylinders as structures.

This is the same room as seen from the ceiling but this time, we are facing the floor. So instead of drawing the back wall, this time we draw the floor first. Then, we trace the main corners of the room and add the bed and other furnitures using boxes and cylinders.

This drawing shows one of the corridor of my university. We can also see this as an interior and this time the back wall, ceiling and windows are circular. But all the rules are the same!

Even though this one looks a little hard, it is pretty easy! You just have to draw a lot of boxes in perspective and add the details of the streets and buildings. I used a view of New York from Google Earth. You can also find there a city that you like and draw it using this technique!

In this case, the vanishing point is located behind the building so this is a little hard to find out where it is. But if you see the objects and details as boxes, everything becomes easier!

That is all for one point perspective. I know that it may look complicated in the beginning but I promise it is not! It will come naturally to you after some practice. So practice, practice, practice!

​Not to mention, these types of drawings usually lead to very satisfying results and improve our artistic skills so much! You can find my next post about two point perspective here.

Do not forget to download the PDFs and do not hesitate to show me your drawings on Instagram! Also, check out my latest post!