What does one-point perspective look like?
Railway tracks are parallel, but they seem to converge in the distance.
You can learn to draw in perspective - it's much easier than you
imagine, and a lot of fun. We'll start with simple one-point
perspective, see what it looks like, and practice constructing simple
The first thing you need to know is that in perspective drawing, every set of parallel lines has its own vanishing point.
That will make more sense in a moment. Remember from math class that
parallel means running side by side, the same distance apart. So the
sides of a road or the sides of a door can both be thought of as pairs
of parallel lines.
Let's look at this picture. It's in one-point perspective. All of
the lines that are parallel to us - the railway sleepers and fence
posts - go straight across or straight up and down, and if they were
longer, they'd keep going straight across, or straight up and down,
staying the same distance apart and not meeting. The lines at
right-angles to us, the ones moving away from us, come together at a vanishing point in the middle of the picture.
To draw one-point perspective, we arrange our subject so that one
set of visible lines has a vanishing point right in front of us, and
the set at right-angles goes out to infinity on each side. So if it's a
road, it goes straight away from us, or if it is a house, one wall goes
straight across in front of us, not sloping. In reality of course, there
are always objects which won't be lined up perfectly, but for now,
let's keep things simple!
Draw One-Point Perspective
Notice that the back of the box - which you know is the same size as the front - looks narrower from this point of view.
To make sense of what we will be drawing, first lets take a look at a
box from one-point perspective in real life. Then we can see how it
works. Here's a photograph of a box on a table, again showing us how one
set of lines stays parallel and the other set vanishes to a point.
Note that the line across the back is not the horizon line
- it's the edge of the table, and is lower than my eye level, and so,
lower than the horizon. If we continue the lines made by the edges of
the box, they meet at a point above the table - at eye level. If we
could see into the distance, it would be on the horizon, (provided the
camera is looking straight ahead, and not tilted). The front edges of
the box are quite parallel.
Draw One-Point Perspective
Let's draw a simple box using one-point perspective. First, draw a
horizon line about one-third down your page. Use a small dot or line to
mark a spot roughly in the middle of the line. That's your vanishing
point. (Don't make it as big as this example - you want it to be small,
so that all your lines finish in exactly the same spot.)
Draw a Box in One Point Perspective Step Two
Now draw square or rectangle, well below and to one side of your vanishing point. Make sure your vertical lines are perpendicular
(at right angles) to your horizon line, and your horizontal lines are
parallel. No funny angles or wobbly lines! For a successful perspective
drawing, you need straight lines and corners that meet exactly.
Drawing the Orthogonals
Now draw a line from each corner of your square or rectangle to the
vanishing point. Make sure they are straight and finish exactly at the
vanishing point. In perspective drawing, we call these lines orthogonal lines
or orthogonals, which is derives somewhat from their meaning in
mathematics (because they are at right angles to the horizontal plane).