Create A Cube On A Perspective Grid

Once you have determined the width and depth of the cube in perspective, as seen in the diagram above, it's easy to transform this into a three-dimensional cube. The first thing to determine is the height of the cube that you would like to draw. This is achieved by drawing two vertical lines starting on the two front corners of your cube to the determined height. In this case, it's an arbitrary height. The next step is to connect the two tops of the vertical lines (A and B) with a horizontal line. Now simply draw the two top corners back to the vanishing point. Next, repeat the same procedure on the two rear corners of the footprint, bringing them up to the lines that you drew to the vanishing point. Now connect these two points (C and D) with a horizontal line, and you will see that you have now drawn a cube in perspective.

Applying the lessons from the previous two pages, you can construct a cube on your grid at any point within the space of your grid.

In this image, the cars are all parked along the side of the street. Just like the cube example, they recede toward the vanishing point at the same height, because most of them are the same height, more or less. You could draw in another car near the corner, and you would know its exact height and the size of the wheels, if the cars were a similar size.

Vanishing Point and Eye Level

Vanishing Point and Eye Level

One Point Perspective Grid Cube
Viewer or Vantage Point


Introduction to One-Point Perspective


An ellipse is simply a circle in perspective. The cube examples show how the top surface becomes more visible as the eye level or horizon line becomes higher. The same effect happens with the tops of rounded objects.

The horizon line in this example is in line with the top of the object. You draw this simply as a straight line.

Look at the array of ellipses in this drawing. Notice how round and smooth the edges are. A common mistake is to make the edges pointed. These edges become rounder as the eye level moves up.

In this drawing, you can see more of the tops of the objects. You cannot see the ellipse of the back of the jug because it is leaning slightly away from you.

Aidan with Vases, by Dean Fisher

Try creating a tonal drawing of a similar object from the same eye level as shown here. You may have to practice the shape a number of times, as it can be difficult to draw curves. Pay attention to the shapes of the shadows within the object, and draw the shadows first. In this photo of the same still life setup as the first example, notice how much rounder the ellipses become in the lip of the small bottle and the bowl when the eye level becomes higher.

How Draw Van Damme
by Roger Van Damme, courtesy of the artist

In this section, you begin a complete drawing using everything that you have learned so far about perspective. You must first set up a still life of your own. Use objects that are square or rectangular in shape, as well as objects with a round top if you want to practice drawing ellipses. Then use a spotlight to light your objects, as shown in the first image. You need to tone a sheet of paper (see "Tone Your Paper" in Chapter 4), a selection of graphite pencils (using H to 6B or softer), and an eraser.

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