One Point Perspective, Demonstration

This video is a drawing demonstration of how to apply rules of 1 point linear perspective into the context of observational drawing using pastel pencils.

The processes of how to identify the vanishing point, the vanishing lines, establish the horizon line, and how to develop the drawing to convey a convincing sense of space are all explained and shown. Demo by Art Prof Clara Lieu.

Video Walkthrough

  • Easy perspective tool: tie a piece of string to a pushpin, place the pushpin where the vanishing point is, and then move the string around to trace in the vanishing lines.
  • The pusphin and string technique can be a lot faster than a rule.
  • Start your line sketch with a lighter grey pastel pencil, instead of a black pastel pencil, it’s easier to sketch with.
  • Look at Prof Lieu’s “cheat sheet” to see how the linear perspective works in the reference photos used in this video.
  • Start your drawing very small when drawing a linear perspective space, much smaller than you think you should.
  • The exact same principles of gesture drawing apply to drawing linear perspective.
  • Pretend that you have “X-Ray” vision, see through the objects, figures, and planes in the space.
  • Look for landmarks, objects like a trash can, a figure, a light on the ceiling, etc. to guide you.
  • Drawing your space loosely allows your drawing to look less sterile and technical.
  • Think about linear perspective as 1 piece of your artwork, it’s not everything!
  • Be willing to make tons of changes to your drawing, don’t settle for something that is fundamentally flawed.
  • Linear perspective is always right or wrong, there is nothing in between.

Prof Lieu’s Tips

When I taught a course on linear perspective at RISD, the first exercise I had them do was to walk around the RISD library and take photos of various linear perspective situations.

Often people struggle with linear perspective because they are taught to make cubes and very generic buildings. (a cube with rectangles and windows, nothing else, what building looks like that???)

You can’t draw linear perspective if you can’t recognize it in real life. The students shoot the photos, and then I ask them to identify which photos are 2 point, which are 1 point, 3 point, etc.

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