Perspective is the key to almost any drawing or sketch, as well as many paintings. It is one of the fundamentals you need to understand in order to create realistic and believable scenes. This is used to give three dimensions to a drawing because it allows us to see the depth in an image and understand the distance between the objects, making it more interesting than a flat image. Moreover, it captures how our eyes see the world naturally, which is not on a measured scale. To start, we are going to explore one point perspective drawing. Then this post will be followed by other posts for two-point and three-point perspectives.
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. In addition to explaining the basic practices, I’ll share numerous examples, as well as downloadable briefs and exercises.
So be ready to take your drawing skills to the next level!
Things to know
One-point perspective drawing is used when we draw an object that looks directly at us. Usually, it is used when the subject is looking directly at an object’s face or at a landscape where we can clearly see the horizon line.
– The horizon line: All perspective drawings use the horizon line, a horizontal line representing the horizon (.. yep!) but also the viewer’s eye level. Clearly, 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 you can easily erase it later.
– The vanishing point is a point on the horizon line where any lines going the same direction as the viewers are looking will meet at the vanishing point (These lines are called orthogonal lines). Additionally, it is the place where objects begin to disappear because of the distance.
– The farthest the objects are, the smallest they look. While orthographic projection allows accurate measurements, perspective projection shows distant objects as smaller, making them look more realistic.
– The horizon line and vanishing point can be anywhere. It all depends on your point of view.
– A straight line across your drawing shows the horizon line. 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.
– I usually show the ground plane by coloring it (grey in here) so it is easier to differentiate the floor.
– When placing the horizon line, you are actually deciding on the viewer’s eye level. Anything above the horizon line is also above the viewer’s eye level, and anything below the horizon line is below the viewer’s eye 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, which is why this is usually the first thing we learn in perspective drawing. Then, it is better to learn how to draw ellipses and cylinders in order to be able to draw circular shape objects such as glasses, tires, bottles, etc.
– One-point perspective drawing is good to use for simple object sketches. It is an excellent way to start drawing in perspective, but it can only be used for some objects in some positions.
– Perspective is all around you. Get inspired by the objects or places you see in your daily life!
One Point Perspective Drawing
Drawing Of A Box Using One Point Perspective
As it is best to start simple, learning how to draw a box from 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.
Draw the straight lines from the corners of the square 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 will always end up with 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 before, learning how to draw boxes is essential because it provides a structure for other forms. This is usually the first thing we learn in perspective drawing. Try to draw different sizes of boxes, and then I will show you how to draw ellipses and cylinders.
One Point Perspective Drawing
Drawing Of An Ellipse Using One Point Perspective
An ellipse results from viewing a circle from any point other than “straight on”. We need to draw a square first to draw an ellipse in perspective.
Now, find the ellipse’s center by tracing the square’s diagonals and middle lines. These lines will be used as a guide to drawing the ellipse.
Do you see where these lines meet the edges of the square? Using these points, we can draw an accurate ellipse.
Since many objects are circular, ellipses are frequently used in drawings and paintings.
Drawing circles in some general drawings can be challenging, so try to practice this part a lot. Try all kinds 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 prism’s top and bottom to draw the ellipses. Connect these shapes with vertical lines. Here is your cylinder in perspective.
Different size of cylinders using one-point perspective
Examples of one point perspective drawing
Well, yes, this is a 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 the objects are, the smallest they look!
Draw your horizon line first, anywhere on the page, though closer to the 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 seen from the ceiling, but we are facing the floor this time. 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 pieces of furniture using boxes and cylinders.
This drawing shows one of the corridors of my university. We can also see this as an interior; this time, the back wall, ceiling, and windows are circular.
But all the rules are still the same!
City Bird View
Even though this one looks a little complicated, it is pretty easy! You 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 a city you like and draw it using this technique!
In this case, the vanishing point is located behind the building, so it is hard to find where it is. But if you see the objects and details as boxes, everything becomes easier!
One Point Perspective Drawing
That is all for one point perspective. I know it may look complicated initially, 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.
Remember to download the PDFs, and feel free to show me your drawings on Instagram! Also, check out my latest post!