Welcome to Perspective 101! Every illustrator needs to know what perspective is, and how to use it. There are many books out there on the subject – but until you’ve learned a bit about the basics, those books can seem intimidating. So, this thread is meant as an introduction to perspective. From here you can dive into those books with enthusiasm instead of fear; or you can just pick up the basics and run with that.

Before I go on, a word of warning. Unlike most other skills in art, perspective is logical. Because of this, one mistake that people make with perspective is to give it a quick glance, understand it, and then because they understand it, they assume that they can use it at will without ever practicing it. (I was guilty of this at one point.) This is about the same as assuming that since you know what a piece of music sounds like, that you can play it on the piano.

Perspective and piano both require practice. Fortunately for you, perspective is the easier of the two to learn. I have suggested assignments with each subject below.

Index

What is Perspective?

One-Point Perspective

Assignment: Rectangular Volumes in One-Point Perspective

Two-Point Perspective

Assignment: Rectangular Volumes in Two-Point Perspective

Three-Point Perspective

Assignment: Rectangular Volumes in Three-Point Perspective

Three-Point Perspective, Continued

Assignment: More Rectangular Volumes in Three-Point Perspective

How Many Vanishing Points Do I Need?

Assignment: Rectangles with Different Numbers of Vanishing Points

Drawing From Observation Using Perspective

Assignment: Apply Perspective to a Drawing from Observation

Drawing Shadows in Perspective

Assignment: Draw Boxes with Shadows

Finding the Center

Assignment: Mess Around with Centerpoints

Circles in Perspective

Assignment: Ellipses

Drawing Shadows Part Two

Assignment: Draw More Boxes With Shadows

This is a work in progress. I will be adding more to it over time. If you see an error or have a request, please send me a PM and let me know!

If you do the assignments, please post your results elsewhere. I would like to keep this thread strictly as a reference. However, if you have a particularly good example of something that you think would make this thread a better resource, let me know!

For a much more thorough look at perspective, Elwell recommends a couple of books: Creative Perspective for Artists and Illustrators, by Ernest W. Watson, and Perspective! For Comic Book Artists, by David Chelsea. These books are inexpensive, and from the quick skimming I’ve given them so far, I am thoroughly impressed with the knowledge they contain. (I was going to add a third book to this list, but I seem to have misplaced it the darn thing. But it’s no big loss, because the former two books seem far superior.)

For discussion on perspective, there’s a thread in progress in the Fine Arts, Studies, And Discovery section.

Happy reading!

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