Egg carton perspective

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Thread: Egg carton perspective

  1. #1
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    Egg carton perspective

    I have been trying to draw a humble egg carton, only to find I can get even close. Never realized egg cartons are so intricate and complex! I attach a photo of the infernal object, but it is only to illustrate what I mean. I prefer to learn to draw from life rather than photos.

    Anyway, at present I don't know much about perspective, and that might be part of the problem? But I'm not sure how one even applies perspective in a case like this, with all the circles, and slanting lines and so on. I after all want to draw not just AN egg carton, by constructing it, but this particular one, from the specific angle from which I saw it.

    Any general or specific advice? Perhaps I am throwing myself in too deeply and should start with far simpler objects? Perhaps in an object like this I should ignore perspective and just try to draw what I see as well as I can?

    Anyway, it turned into a vastly more challenging exercise than I thought, and I have this feeling one might actually learn a great deal by drawing such a humble but unexpectedly complex object.

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    perpective will help or you can compare angles to a true verticle or horizontal line. Either way start with the larger shape first divide it up into six boxes and use those divisions to place the smaller shapes within those markers.

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    if you draw it sight-size, you won't need to worry about perspective. problem solved.

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    I would put that in a fairly complex subject category, but a great subject. Like dpaint said, just work from large shapes to small. There isn't a lot of perspective going on because you are so close to the object - keep it in mind just to help but it would be very subtle.

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    My advice is to put away the egg carton for now and try something a little easier like a show box with the lid maybe put a roll of tape on it or something. Build up to shapes like this if you are a beginner.

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    Start with general shape, then lay in more specific pieces.
    Get the overall box into perspective first, then get into details.

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    I quickly sketched in the basic, starting point structure to show what I mean, start with overall shape...
    Then look for what's vertical, what is slanted, and how far away from the 'box' boundaries it is.

    Last edited by Conniekat8; February 26th, 2012 at 06:12 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by duztman View Post
    if you draw it sight-size, you won't need to worry about perspective. problem solved.
    I don't have enough space. Everything I draw, I have to do at a small desk, so that i have never been able to set up a proper sight-size arrangement. Will have to try some other trick!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Conniekat8 View Post
    I quickly sketched in the basic, starting point structure to show what I mean, start with overall shape...
    Then look for what's vertical, what is slanted, and how far away from the 'box' boundaries it is.
    I am aware of this method, but I find that I can't get it to work. I get the big box shape all wrong, and/or I find it almost impossible to visualize the smaller shapes inside the big, imaginary one. It looks very neat and easy the way you have illustrated it. But when I draw from the real object, I have to imagine those construction lines, and imagine them exactly right. And that is partly where my problem lies. I get the angles in it all wrong, and I can't work out where the smaller shapes inside it should go.

    Now I don't know if perhaps there is some further trick to this, or whether it is just a matter of practice, in which case it might serve me well to first try out simpler subjects, and/or perhaps sketching large numbers of boxes in perspective from imagination, so that I get a feel for them?

    This subject should be relatively easy because for all its complexity it is after all a very regular and geometric shape, but I find it to be probably the most difficult thing I have ever tried to draw. It strikes me as weird that I should struggle more with such a regular shape than with a more complex and irregular one! ;-)

    Anyway, thanks to everyone who replied. This is turning into a very interesting exercise, vividly illustrating weaknesses and huge gaps in my abilities, that I was never aware of because I have never tried this sort of subject before. Although come to think of it, I have in past had similar struggles with things like chairs, or other such geometrical subjects where one should be able to visualize a box around it. I think I never really learned to think in three dimensions - thus far I have always just tried to draw then shapes in front of me, but the weaknesses of that approach are becoming clear when I try a complex subject like this.

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    do you have experience drawing boxes and rectilinear items in perspective?
    If not, you nay want to pick a simple form to start with.

    Personally, I don't have very many tricks, perspective and rectilinear forms, I could always just see and reduce to 2d. I'm the opposite, I need to learn how to reduce organics to 2D... I'm just starting to get basic experience doing that in life drawing. Starting off with simpler shapes....

    Hopefully someone else will be of more help here

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    Quote Originally Posted by Conniekat8 View Post
    do you have experience drawing boxes and rectilinear items in perspective?
    If not, you nay want to pick a simple form to start with.

    Personally, I don't have very many tricks, perspective and rectilinear forms, I could always just see and reduce to 2d. I'm the opposite, I need to learn how to reduce organics to 2D... I'm just starting to get basic experience doing that in life drawing. Starting off with simpler shapes....

    Hopefully someone else will be of more help here
    I'll experiment a bit and see what I can do. I have a feeling I'm going to have to learn to look at everything in a completely new way. Or something! I tried to make it as easy as possible by drawing the carton from precisely above, so as to basically eliminate perspective, but I found that even that way I couldn't get even close. It was once again a case of being incapable of starting out with simple squares and then filling them in with the details: I get the squares all wrong, or the details inside them. It's difficult to "make sense" of what I'm seeing.

    I noticed another thing that was never much of an issue before, because I have never really drawn much besides organic shapes, and it is this: I am quite incapable of drawing straight lines and neat circles and ellipses freehand. I suspect this is part of the problem here. When I try construct a box, subdivided into smaller boxes of equal size, I cannot for the life of me get them all the same size, or draw neat, straight lines, or circles or ellipses inside such boxes. But as far as I know one is not supposed to draw this sort of subject with a ruler? Perhaps I need to practice a bit simply drawing lines, boxes and circles freehand?

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    Quote Originally Posted by blogmatix View Post
    I noticed another thing that was never much of an issue before, because I have never really drawn much besides organic shapes, and it is this: I am quite incapable of drawing straight lines and neat circles and ellipses freehand. I suspect this is part of the problem here. When I try construct a box, subdivided into smaller boxes of equal size, I cannot for the life of me get them all the same size, or draw neat, straight lines, or circles or ellipses inside such boxes. But as far as I know one is not supposed to draw this sort of subject with a ruler? Perhaps I need to practice a bit simply drawing lines, boxes and circles freehand?
    Oh for goodness sake... If you need to draw a straight line, it is perfectly okay to use a ruler! That's what rulers are for. Same goes for perfect ellipses, circles, etc. It's okay to use compasses or templates for those.

    If you're going to do perspective exercises without driving yourself completely crazy, feel free to use a ruler.

    As for the eggbox in question... I don't know if it would help to try various approaches? Say, try approaching it in terms of contour/negative space, or put some harsh lighting on it and try approaching it in terms of interlocking value shapes, or other experiments, and then come back to construction/perspective?

    Or as an experiment you could make a transparent grid, set it up in front of the eggbox, and try drawing what you see through the grid (I haven't tried this, but I've heard some people find it a helpful exercise when they're trying to understand what they're seeing...)

    And maybe meanwhile try construction/perspective on some simpler objects and work your way up to the eggbox...

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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    Oh for goodness sake... If you need to draw a straight line, it is perfectly okay to use a ruler! That's what rulers are for. Same goes for perfect ellipses, circles, etc. It's okay to use compasses or templates for those.
    I actually like the slight imperfections that result from working freehand, but then they should be SLIGHT! ;-)

    If you're going to do perspective exercises without driving yourself completely crazy, feel free to use a ruler.
    Yes, for exercises it is probably a good idea to initially try to get it exactly right before getting all creative. I have been doing some perspective doodles freehand though, and I think even they are helping me to begin to see things a bit differently.

    As for the eggbox in question... I don't know if it would help to try various approaches? Say, try approaching it in terms of contour/negative space, or put some harsh lighting on it and try approaching it in terms of interlocking value shapes, or other experiments, and then come back to construction/perspective?
    The way I have always drawn was to see things in terms of interlocking shapes and negative spaces. In this particular case the approach broke down because the object turned out to be simply too complex for me to make sense of. I could perhaps achieve some accuracy if I worked from a reference photo, from where it is easier to clearly see angles and line lengths and so on. But I specifically want to learn to draw from direct observation.

    I am now beginning to think focusing exclusively on shapes and negative spaces might actually be a bad habit, because it is not always appropriate. One tends to forget that the objects actually exist in 3-D space. As I mentioned before, I have long noticed a tendency to get geometrical sort of shapes wrong: I draw someone sitting on a chair by drawing interlocking shapes, but even very slight errors tend to perpetuate themselves and I end up with a figure that looks fairly credible, but a chair that is bent out of shape. That sort of thing happens when I get so focused on shapes that I lose sight of the three dimensional aspects and perspective.

    I'm beginning to see why many people here on CA heavily criticize Betty Edwards' book. It's the one I learned to draw with, and I am now beginning to run into its limitations. I seem to struggle a lot to see objects as solid, three-dimensional things, which is why I struggled so much to try out the approach of imagining a box around the whole thing. One has to get that imaginary box exactly right, and I have no idea how to achieve that!

    Or as an experiment you could make a transparent grid, set it up in front of the eggbox, and try drawing what you see through the grid (I haven't tried this, but I've heard some people find it a helpful exercise when they're trying to understand what they're seeing...)
    I have considered this, though I wonder if I'd be able to keep my head still enough ! ;-)
    Could perhaps set up a plumb line or something. That will also help.

    And maybe meanwhile try construction/perspective on some simpler objects and work your way up to the eggbox...
    Yup, this is probably the best approach. I think I should perhaps draw a single one of the cells in the egg box, and see how I manage with that. In the meantime I now have a very good reason to learn a bit of perspective, something I have always been very lazy to do, but it appears the knowledge can actually come in handy. ;-)

    Edit: I attach a somewhat rough sketch of the egg carton, which I did by trying to conceive of the subject as a set of interlocking shapes. You can see the problem: I cannot get anywhere close to the correct shapes, and the further I am from the shape I started out with, the worse it gets because small errors get perpetuated and amplified. When it comes to subjects this complex, I have to find some other approach, because I can't "see" the shapes. I get hopelessly lost in all the complexity, and after a while can't work out anymore which shape it even is that I am working on. ;-)

    It has another disadvantage, and that is that it is difficult to decide how large to draw the first shape. Draw it too large or small, and the object will not fit on the page, or be way too small, so that it will be difficult to work it into a composition.

    It's probably a good idea to try out simpler objects first, because I couldn't get even a single cell of the carton right. Well, a new challenge then... ;-)

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    It's not bad - a little inconsistent is all with some of the repeating features. That is one of the things that makes this subject very difficult- and at the same time a great thing to try to draw, because you can SEE where you are off and your approach isn't quite right.

    The solution (or approach for me anyway) would be to make sure I had accurate spacing/volume on the individual egg "cells" and a sense of a plane for the top, which would keep the ellipses in check and consistent. Axis and construction lines would be a big help in maintaining consistency - something as structured and repetitive as this requires a structural approach.

    Edit: Good job by the way - now do it again! That is where some serious learning, problem solving and retention will happen.

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    I'm disappointed. The way you go on about how horrible you are, I expected something much worse than that. That's a perfectly respectable first go at a complex subject like that.


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    Me, too... I was expecting something that looked like a moose wearing snowshoes...

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    One of my teachers said not too long ago... "What do you expect from the first time, to draw like Michelangelo?" (or some other master)
    Just because you see irregularities, it doesn't mean it's not good. That's another thing they point out often, "stop thinking in terms of good and bad"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Conniekat8 View Post
    "stop thinking in terms of good and bad"
    Excellent point!

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    Thanks for all the kind words. Perhaps I'm too self-critical. But I have been drawing for many years and it is sometimes frustrating to seemingly make no progress at all on some things. In fairness to myself, this kind of subject is actually sort of new to me, and frustrating or not, it has also in some ways been a revelation.

    Anyway, I ain't giving up. Back to the drawing board, as many times as it takes. ;-)

    Thanks for all the input. I have a few busy days coming up and I don't know when I'll have sufficient time for a real drawing as opposed to a rough sketch again, but if I manage to improve my egg cartons, I'll come boast with the result here. ;-)

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