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Drawing ellipses

It is worth spending some time practising ellipses so that you can gain confidence drawing round objects. Ellipses are in fact foreshortened circles and change their nature according to your eye level (see below). The principle of foreshortening is that the width of an ellipse remains the same but its apparent height reduces the further it tilts away from you. The easiest way to draw an ellipse is to sketch it roughly and then slice it in half, first vertically, then horizontally. You can then refine it until each quarter is the mirror image of its neighbour. Make sure each corner remains rounded

Drawing cubes

This chest of drawers is composed of straight, parallel sides that appear to grow smaller as they recede into space. Converging lines drawn as guides can help you get the right perspective.

and that the middle section doesn't look too flattened. Practise drawing an empty bottle or a glass so you can actually see the foreshortened ellipses through the transparent material.

Changing ellipses

Look at a glass from above, straight on, or below, and the nature of its ellipses will change considerably. If you lean over the glass and view it at an angle, the ellipses will be quite rounded and circular; viewed from the side, they are at an extreme and very foreshortened. Ellipses at the rim and the base of an object are never quite identical: the nearer an ellipse is to your eye level, the thinner it is; the further away, the more circular it is. View the glass from below to see this effect.

Eye level

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