Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Linear Perspective

O.K. Here I am running late in my regular schedule and talking about the running lines of linear perspective, particularly in drawing man-made structures.   Buildings can be fun to draw especially if you have an interest in architecture or history and know just a bit about perspective. The old building on the left is a nineteenth century water pump station still in use today. 

The blocky structure to the right is a modern stone filled wire mesh retaining wall for a new commercial parking lot.  As a drawing problem an important aspect is the obvious linear perspective.  You can tell that our eye level is well below the base of the building with roof lines and even windowsills running downhill (right) toward an unseen horizon while the horizontal lines of the retaining wall are running left toward the same horizon, some below and some above our eye level. I remember in an earlier post pointing out that eye level and horizon are essentially the same. 

In the drawing on the right, done from a high hospital window, you can follow the obvious lines of perspective in the building's window wall converging on the vanishing point on the far horizon. Our eye level being far above the house and street below, all horizontal lines there run steeply uphill toward the horizon.

Below, in a typical street level view of a house, the roof lines (above our eye level) point down toward the horizon. The lines of the porch slightly below our eye level are running uphill. If I were a good instructor I would have superimposed color "Vanishing lines" over the drawings to emphasize those ideas but as I said, I'm running late! 

Once you can visualize the horizon as a line running across your view at your eye level, you will have solved half of all problems putting believable buildings on paper. The other half is in recognizing that vertical lines of the structure are (almost) always actually vertical in your drawing.  Don't let them lean as I did with those porch pillars.

There are always exceptions but in realistic conventional drawing keeping those simple rules in mind will save quite a bit of interpretation. Keep looking! Keep on drawing! Have fun!

"Line is the most powerful device in art."   John Sloan

"In (drawing) you must give the idea of the true by means of the false."  Edgar Degas

No comments:

Post a Comment