Learning to See Measure and Draw in Perspective

Perspective is not that hard, and for the more obsessive-compulsive of us, it is rather fun. So, with the addition of a ruler to help with the lines, you are ready to try it.

1. Site your object on your paper and decide on your eye level or horizon line. Hold your paper horizontal; it will give you more room.

^ Is your object correctly placed, relative to your eye level? ^ Is it above, at, or below eye level? —i Draw it on your paper. Most times, you will site your cube or cottage slightly below eye level, until you decide to draw the castle on the hill or your fantasy mountaintop cabin. The sides of your object will recede to points at the far sides of that line.

2. The first step in perspective is to measure the height of the object you are going to draw on the paper. Look at the corner of the object and measure the height of that nearest corner and draw it. You can measure the height against your pencil with your thumb.

3. Draw two points on your horizon line or eye-level line at either side of your paper.

4. Now, lightly draw lines from the top and bottom of your corner to the points on either side. These lines represent the planes or sides of your object vanishing in space. Easy, huh?

5. Next, you have to establish the length of those sides. Are they equal? Which one is longer and how much? See them relatively, and measure them with your pencil against the height, which you have as an established "given."

Back to the Drawing Board

If you were looking straight at the middle of the side of your cube or cottage, both horizontally and vertically, you would see it as a square or rectangle, with no vanishing point. But here you are in the real world, where things are at angles and the sides of things tend to vanish to the points on the horizon line or eye level.

6. Draw vertical lines for the far ends of the two sides of your cube or cottage.

7. Draw in the top if you can see it. The sides of a rectangle vanish to the same point, so you can draw in the light lines to make the top. See the following figure.

Not so hard, is it? The rest is just more of the same.

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