While one-point perspective was most often used by artists throughout history, it is more common for artists to view reality in two-point perspective. Two-point perspective takes into account an object's visible side angles versus the face-on appearance of an object in one-point perspective.
For this reason, it is important to understand the rules of two-point perspective and to see, when applied well, what a useful vantage point it is for creating very interesting art.
Introduction to Two-Point Perspective 96
Cubes in Space 98
Practice Two-Point Perspective 100
Two-Point Perspective in Everyday Life 102
Drawing Demonstration: A Barn in Two-Point Perspective____104
Gallery: Two-Point Perspectives 114
The major difference between one-point and two-point perspective is that one-point perspective has one vanishing point, and two-point perspective has two vanishing points in different locations on the horizon line.
Three-dimensional rectangular forms, such as buildings, cars, and tables, have vantage points where the two sides of the object are seen at the same time, as in the example of the barn pictured here.
When objects (whether in a landscape, city, or townscape) or an interior are placed at different angles to each other, you will find that their parallel sides converge toward different vanishing points.
Even though these examples have multiple vanishing points that fall on the same horizon line, this is still referred to as two-point perspective.
Now that you are familiar with the principles of one-point perspective, understanding those of two-point perspective shouldn't prove too difficult for you. As you can see in the diagram below, all of the familiar terms are being used: vantage point, eye level, horizon line, and vanishing point.
As shown in the diagram of the barn, the vanishing points often fall well outside the field of vision of the viewer or the camera lens.
When trying to determine where the vanishing points are, it is helpful to tack pieces of paper on either side of your drawing paper, or to place your drawing paper on a large board when constructing objects in perspective. You can use this technique in the drawing demonstration on the following pages.
To reinforce some of the concepts of two-point perspective, you will look at some arrangements of basic cube-like forms, placed at different angles to each other. These cubes convey these concepts very clearly.
The cubes below could represent a chair and a large cabinet in a room, or a large and small building in a cityscape. In this example, the yellow cube is placed with its front plane directly facing us; this illustrates one-point perspective. As a result, it has a single vanishing point on the horizon line, and your eye level is directly above it. The green cube is turned on an angle, with each of its sides receding at different angles toward their respective vanishing points. The vanishing points for both cubes fall on the same eye level and horizon line.
The diagram clearly indicates that once you determine your eye level, which is the horizon line in your view, all of the vanishing points will fall here.
Whether you are standing in a landscape or in a room, a great technique for always being able to determine your eye level and horizon line is to cut a length of wood (1" x 1" or 1" x 2") that is the length from the ground to the height of your eyes as you are standing erect. When your eye-level stick is placed vertically anywhere within your subject, you know where your eye level and horizon line are.
Vanishing Vanishing Horizon Line Vanishing
Vanishing Vanishing Horizon Line Vanishing
Know Your Eye Level
The eye-level stick (or marker) is especially helpful when there are hills in a landscape, or buildings or houses obstructing your view of the horizon line.
This exercise will help you to gain a more complete understanding of two-point perspective. You will study three photos with different eye levels, where the cubes are placed at different angles to each other. After you complete this exercise, you will be on your way to drawing any object in front of you in accurate, two-point perspective.
Tape a 16" x 20" sheet of tracing paper over the photos on this page and trace each configuration of cubes. Remove the tracing paper from the photo and place it on a table or flat surface. With a ruler or straight-edge, construct a perspective diagram for each of the photos, similar to the one on the previous page.
As shown in the two-point perspective demonstration on pages 104-113, an artist has constructed a similar diagram to precisely draw a barn in perspective.
The diagrams that you are creating in this exercise are similar to the diagrams that the masters of the Renaissance used to construct their drawings and paintings.
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