Employing the measuring methods used in the section "Measure Your Object" in Chapter 4 can help you to achieve the correct proportions between the trees and the barn, as well as each individual element of the subject.
If the vanishing points of your building, like our barn, fall outside of the paper on each side, you should work with a drawing board (or on a drawing table) that is wide enough so that you can plot the position of the vanishing points as a guide for the construction of your drawing. Remember, when in perspective, all horizontal lines of the building converge at the vanishing points.
In this exercise, we will draw a high-keyed tonal drawing of our barn and its surroundings. We want you to do the same with your building. High-keyed means that you will render the majority of the drawing within the light end of the tonal scale, which is about the lightest 50 percent of the grayscale, from white to 50-percent gray. There will only be a few select dark tones or accents in the drawing, which will impart an atmospheric and airy quality to the image.
You can continue to lightly add more subject information, always checking the horizontal lines on the sides of your building to make sure that they converge to the vanishing points.
The large shapes of the trees surrounding our barn, and in the background of our drawing, are indicated in this initial stage of the drawing, as they are useful in establishing the proportions of the barn itself. Look around you and see if there are any elements in your landscape that you can use to help establish the scale of your building.
As you gain more experience observing the world around you, you will start to notice when something is "off," especially when it comes to architectural forms. Even the smallest shape that should converge at a particular angle will stand out when it's incorrect.
There really is a lot to be said for a work of art that includes architectural forms that are drawn accurately. It can make the difference between houses and buildings looking as if they're made out of soft, weightless cardboard or something more solid and substantial. Aside from creating firmness and a sense of weight in your structures, it also firmly plants the buildings, homes, cars, and other elements on the ground and effectively defines the ground plane. Taking the time to understand the laws of perspective and to employ them in your work will make your drawings more convincing and impart a higher level of realism.
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