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We've seen that this important line is straight and horizontal, but what determines its location? Very simply: IT IS AWAYS ON THE SAME LEVEL AS THE OBSERVER'S EYES. In other words, the observer's "eye level" - an imaginary plane at the level of the eyes and parallel to the ground — dictates the location (i.e., the height from the ground) of the vanishing line for all horizontals in a given drawing.

A side view of the drawing above will show the eye level and the ground plane from their edges and therefore depict them as parallel horizontal lines. Here, the picture plane is also seen from its edge.

If we now look at the picture plane "front face" (as the observer views it) we again see the eye level plane in edge-on view — as a line. Here, though, the line also represents its projection onto the picture plane. Whether the observer jumped or kneeled, and so raised or lowered his eye level, this relationship would remain unchanged.

THEREFORE: THE EYE LEVEL NOT ONLY DICTATES BUT IS SYNONYMOUS WITH THE VANISHING LINE FOR HORIZONTAL LINES.

VAUISMIHG LINE FOR HORIZONTAL LIN65 / UOFUrONTAL PLANE

VAUISMIHG LINE FOR HORIZONTAL LIN65 / UOFUrONTAL PLANE

Horizontal View Eye Level
GROUMO PLANE ^
Vanishing Line Plane

^-ground plang

[28] Why The Observer's Eye Level Dictates The Horizontal Vanishing Line - Theory

Eye Level Horizol

In the drawings above and below note carefully the lines of sight. Those pointing to the foreground (1, 2) make relatively steep angles with the ground, while those pointing further away (3, 4, etc.) make increasingly smaller angles and become more and more horizontal. If the tracks went on endlessly then the sight lines viewing them at infinity (<») must be virtually horizontal.

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eve L.evei_

Sightlines Drawing

Looking at this situation from above, we note that the lines of sight embracing the width of the foreground ties depart from the observer at a wide angle, and that this angle gets progressively smaller for sight lines to ties progressively further away. We can therefore conclude that at infinity this angle is so infinitesimal that a single sight line can be used. In that case we would "see" a 7-ft.-wide cross-tie by means of a single sight line; total diminution would have occurred and only a point would appear on the picture plane. This point, of course, is the vanishing point of the tracks.

Now look at the side view again and note that this same single sight line pointing to infinity (<») is horizontal (i.e., parallel to the ground). Therefore the vanishing point of the tracks must be at the observer's eye level.

In fact, all horizontal lines, if extended indefinitely like the railroad tracks, would appear to converge to a point at the observer's eye level.

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