No Passing Kay Sage Analysis

An understanding of perspective is mandatory for all students and professionals involved with representational drawing. This includes a wide variety of fields, such as: Illustration, Interior Design, Architecture, Industrial Design, Engineering Design, Scenic Design and even Fine Arts. While each of these areas applies perspective techniques for different purposes and to varying degrees of thoroughness, artists in all of them must be knowledgeable and experienced in basic perspective fundamentals and principles. This book provides those essentials.

For those concerned with mechanical (T-square and triangle) perspective it explains and gives life to all the theories upon which mechanical perspective is based.

For those concerned with freehand perspective it provides all the important principles, insights and "shortcuts" necessary for effective drawing and life sketching.

Furthermore, this volume has been planned as a practical reference book for the experienced artist or delineator who finds that passing time has rendered certain techniques or principles vague; and the draftsman who, immersed in a maze of mechanical perspective guidelines, feels the need to review certain fundamentals.

Dogmatic rules for memorization are avoided, for they tend to be forgotten or, even worse, stultify the imagination. Instead, principles are developed in step-by-step fashion, accompanied by explanations of their origin, value and application and often by their more or less rigorous proofs. Such a presentation hopefully will breathe vitality into these concepts and thereby result in a clearer, more intimate understanding.

It must be emphasized, though, that for the beginner these principles will have little value unless they are tested and experienced. This means continually observing perspective phenomena in real life and — more important — constantly sketching variations of each. As in swimming, golfing or piano playing, proficiency is achieved only by total involvement.

Practice should result in a sound knowledge of (1.) the actual form and structure of scenes and objects, and (2.) how these objects and scenes change appearance from different viewpoints and under different lighting conditions. Essentially, perspective drawing deals with this appearance of things, L e., with how three-dimensional reality "looks" and how it is best drawn on two-dimensional surfaces such as a canvas, sketch pad, or illustration board.

Once these fundamentals are understood and thoroughly mastered, they might be used either in extremely "realistic" drawings or in more abstract or suggestive ones. In either case, a work will be more vital and effective, for it will be based on visual truths.

It might be worth noting, however, that all pictures are a form of abstraction or symbolism. Perspective drawing neither claims nor is able to simulate what the human eye sees. Our eyes constantly move about, change focus, see depth and color, change according to light intensity and see things with time and therefore motion. Drawings are static, flat and of a limited size.

Perspective drawing is nevertheless concerned with achieving a sense of space, of depth and of the third dimension, within the limits of the flat drawing surface. There are several visual principles which serve this end, such as DIMINUTION, FORESHORTENING, CONVERGENCE, SHADE AND SHADOW, etc. The following chapter and much of what follows explain and explore these basic concepts.

Chapter 1: FUNDAMENTALS

Diminution - Objects Appear Smaller As Their Distance From The Observer Increases

Diminution Objects

For instance, someone across the street appears smaller than the person next to you, someone down the street appears still smaller, and so on.

A good way to see this is to extend your arm forward with your hand held upright. Notice how someone close by (say 20 ft. away) stands about equal to your hand height, while someone 50 ft. away approximately equals the length of your thumb, someone 200 ft. away equals your thumbnail, and finally, someone 1000 ft. away (several blocks) equals possibly a hangnail on that thumb.

Person Extending Arms Forward CartoonTrain Perspective Technical Drawing

The cross-ties of railroad tracks, autos in a parking lot, heads in a theatre, and the cars of a railroad train are just a few other examples of things that we know are approximately equal in size yet which appear to diminish with distance. This "truth" of seeing, when applied to a drawing, is a fundamental means of producing a sense of space and depth.

Foreshortening — Lines Or Surfaces Parallel To The Observer's Face Show Their Maximum Size As They Are Revolved Away From The Observer They Appear Increasingly Shorter

1. For instance, a pencil held parallel to observer's face will show its true and maximum length.

Perspective Drawings

2. As it is slowly pivoted its length appears smaller...

3. ... and still smaller

4. . . . till finally the pencil points directly at observer, and only the end is seen. This could be called 100% foreshortening.

Foreshortening

5. This tube or oatmeal box seen end-on will appear as a full circle. None of the sides are visible.

Kreis Perspektivisch Zeichnen
6. When it is pivoted slightly the circle "foreshortens" and appears as an ellipse. The sides (which were totally foreshortened) now begin to appear.
Ellipses Perspective Drawing
7. The ellipse foreshortens even more (it becomes flatter) while the sides appear longer.
Ellipse Triangle Perspective

8. Finally, the circular top foreshortens to a simple straight line and the sides appear at maximum length.

Convergence — Lines Or Edges of Objects Which In Reality Are Parallel Appear [11] To Come Together (i.e., Converge) As They Recede From Observer

Perspective Drawings Brick Walls

When a brick wall is seen head-on (i.e., parallel to observer's face) the top and bottom lines and all horizontal joints appear truly parallel and horizontal (level with the ground).

Perspective Drawn Brick Wall

But if the observer shifts position and looks "down" the wall, then these lines cease to appear parallel and level with the ground and instead appear to come together (converge) as they recede.

Warmachine Convergence Line ArtAnalyzing Perspectives

CONVERGENCE EQUALS DIMINUTION PLUS FORESHORTENING: The pickets of a fence, when viewed head-on, appear equal in height and spacing. Also, the top and bottom lines are parallel and level.

When a brick wall is seen head-on (i.e., parallel to observer's face) the top and bottom lines and all horizontal joints appear truly parallel and horizontal (level with the ground).

But if the observer shifts position and looks "down" the wall, then these lines cease to appear parallel and level with the ground and instead appear to come together (converge) as they recede.

CONVERGENCE EQUALS DIMINUTION PLUS FORESHORTENING: The pickets of a fence, when viewed head-on, appear equal in height and spacing. Also, the top and bottom lines are parallel and level.

But if the observer turns his head and looks "down" the fence, then the top and bottom lines appear to converge. Notice that this convergence relates directly to the diminution of the pickets as they recede. Furthermore, the true length of the fence no longer appears, but instead is foreshortened. (Note how the spacing and width of the pickets appear narrower in the distance.)

Therefore, convergence can be thought of as the diminution of closely-spaced elements of equal size. And it implies foreshortening since the surface is not viewed head-on.

[12] Overlapping, Shades And Shadows

Constructive Drawing Techniques

OVERLAPPING: This obvious and very simple technique not only shows which objects are in front and which are in back — it's also a very important way of achieving a sense of depth and space in drawings. Notice the depth confusion when overlapping does not exist {right).

Constructiv Perspectiv Shadows

SHADES AND SHADOWS: Naturally the shape and structure of three-dimensional objects can be understood only when viewed in some form of light. But it's really the shades and shadows created by this light that render the shapes "readable" and discernable. So working with light, shade and shadow will dramatically help to give a drawing form and a sense of the third dimension.

Drawing Shadows Perspective

Color And Value Perspective

Values (black to white range) and colors are bright and clear when seen close up but become grayer, weaker, and generally more neutral as their distance from the observer increases.

Detail And Pattern Perspective

Details, textures and patterns, such as blades of grass, the bark of trees, leaves, the distinguishing features of people, etc., are also clear and discernable when close but become "fuzzier" and less sharp when further away.

These principles are rarely discussed in perspective books yet they suggest useful techniques for increasing the sense of depth and space in a drawing.

Focus Effect

This principle is worth noting despite the fact that only a few artists apply it in their work.

The eye looking at a distant object will focus at that object's range; things in the foreground, consequently, will be "out of focus" and therefore blurred.

For example, a distant steeple seen through a window might appear something like this. Such a blurred foreground-clear background effect might be used to emphasize the center of interest as well as the sense of depth.

Conversely, when the eye focuses on foreground objects the background will appear blurred and unclear.

(This principle is rarely used because artists drawing a view such as this will focus back and forth in order to see and draw all parts clearly. Yet if emphasis or a "spot light" effect were desired this "truth" of seeing could well be applied.)

Landscape Perspective Drawing

Two professional examples, a painting and a landscape drawing, employing the fundamentals of DIMINUTION, FORESHORTENING, CON-VERGENCE, OVERLAPPING, SHADE AND SHADOW, VALUE PERSPECTIVE, PATTERN PERSPECTIVE, etc., to achieve a sense of space and depth.

No Passing, by Kay Sage. Collection of Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Project for Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial Park. Joseph D'Amelio, Architect. Don Leon, Associate. Rendering by Joseph D'Amelio

Perspective Drawings Buildings

Chapter 2: REALITY AND APPEARANCE

In Perspective Drawing You Draw What You See From A Specific Viewpoint,

Not Your Idea Or Mental Image Of The Subject

Perspective Round Table SketchPerspective Round Table Sketch

We think of a table, generally, as being rectangular with parallel sides, and of dishes as round.

Children, beginners, and some sophisticated artists will draw them this way regardless of viewpoint (left) — children because they lack visual perception, artists because they wish to express the true essence and primary nature of the subject. Both, though, are doing the same thing — they are drawing their idea or mental image of the subject.

The true appearance of dishes on a table would be elliptical shapes on a converging, foreshortened surface (right).

The beginner, drawing a front view of the face, would tend to draw the idea of a nose (left) instead of its foreshortened appearance.

The same tendency created this unrealistic eye in side view (right). Again the idea was drawn instead of the true appearance.

Wave your fist at someone across the room, 15 or 20 ft. away. A beginner, thinking only of the true sizes of hands and people, would probably tend to draw the scene this way (left).

But the careful observer would notice that the hand was almost one-third the height of the figure, and so draw it. Overlapping and value perspective help to dramatize the respective nearness and farness of these elements.

To a seated observer, a child close by and an adult further away might appear this way, and should be drawn this way. Your intellectual idea of the relative heights of children and adults might suggest differently.

A rifle pointed directly at your eyes might not appear very frightening at first, for you hardly see the lethal, yard-long weapon.

[16] Reality And Appearance — Example: United Nations Buildings From Different Viewpoints

[16] Reality And Appearance — Example: United Nations Buildings From Different Viewpoints

Sketch BuildingBottom Perspective Buildings

3. If we now come closer, and look straight ahead, we see the bottom of the building, the entrance, and the foreground. From this viewpoint the horizontal window lines still converge.

4. Upon looking up we notice that for the first time the vertical lines appear to converge (upwards). Also, the roof and window lines now converge downwards to the left and right.

Forshortened Building

1. We all know that the U.N. tower is a simple rectangular prism whose facades are all pure rectangles. When it is viewed directly from a distance, say from across the river, this pure geometry is revealed.

2. But when it is seen from up the river or the avenue, its facades appear foreshortened and the roof and window lines seem to converge. Only the vertical lines maintain their true directions.

3. If we now come closer, and look straight ahead, we see the bottom of the building, the entrance, and the foreground. From this viewpoint the horizontal window lines still converge.

4. Upon looking up we notice that for the first time the vertical lines appear to converge (upwards). Also, the roof and window lines now converge downwards to the left and right.

5. Viewed from a helicopter, the roof and facade rectangles again converge and foreshorten. But here vertical lines converge downwards, while horizontal lines point upwards.

6. From directly above, only the rectangle of the tower's roof is seen. This barely expresses the building's form. Adjacent buildings with converging facades are more comprehendible.

Reality And Appearance — Example: Park Bench From Different Viewpoints

Reality And Appearance Perspective

1. In reality, this bench is composed of simple rectangular prisms. A boy climbing a tree would have this rare view of its true geometry.

Point Perspective Worms Building
' . . . • V • . ' ^-r—JV.-'

3. Junior, who is only 3 ft. tall, would see it still differently. The verticals now appear truly vertical, while the horizontal lines still converge.

5. This "worm's eye" view, which one might get by falling on the ground and looking up, offers a unique picture of the bench. The subject is rarely drawn from this (or the first) viewpoint since it is rarely seen this way.

Building From Worms Eye View DrawingSimple Pencil Drawings Buildings
Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Learn to sketch by working through these quick, simple lessons. This Learn to Sketch course will help you learn to draw what you see and develop your skills.

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Responses

  • Regina Napolitani
    How to draw shades and shadows?
    5 years ago
  • Reija
    Why things appear smaller distance?
    5 years ago
  • eglantine
    Why are objects smaller in the distance?
    5 years ago
  • wilimar
    How to draw foreshortened fences in perspective?
    21 hours ago

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