One & Two Point Linear Perspective

The essentials of 1 point and 2 point linear perspective are explained in this video by breaking it down with clear, concrete images that make it easy to translate perspective to observational drawing, as opposed to dry and boring diagrams of cubes and blocks.

Basic ideas of linear perspective, such as point of view, and how the scene and perspective can dramatically affect the narrative of the artwork are explained.

By providing specific, concrete visual examples while breaking down how 1 point perspective works in a practical manner, linear perspective becomes accessible and straightforward. Discussion led by Art Prof Clara Lieu.

61 min. video

Video Walkthrough

  • The way linear perspective is taught is usually very dry and boring.
  • Linear perspective projects are usually cubes and generic buildings in space.
  • Actually, linear perspective can be extremely dynamic and exciting!
  • Linear perspective is right or wrong.
  • Linear perspective is a geometric system.
  • You can tell visual narratives by using linear perspective.
  • To understand linear perspective, learn how to identify it in real life.
  • Being able to draw blocks in perspective is not very useful.
  • Test yourself: walk around and see if you can identify linear perspective.
  • Observation exercise: shoot photos anywhere you see 1, 2, or 3 point perspective to test yourself.
  • The differences between 1, 2, and 3 point perspective.
  • Linear perspective shows a specific point of view of a person who is in the space.
  • The horizon line (the eye level) is always a perfect horizontal.
  • The horizon line is where the sky meets the ocean.
  • Ask yourself what is above eye level vs. what is below eye level.
  • To find 2 point perspective, stand in front of a corner!
  • In 2 point perspective, vanishing points usually are off the image.
  • Look for geometric patterns in spaces: tiles, checkered floors, rugs.
  • Draw from life to start learning linear perspective, gesture drawings that map out an interior space.
  • You don’t have to use a ruler!
  • Add people into your drawings to show a sense of scale.

Prof Lieu’s Tips

Linear perspective really is a situation where it’s right or wrong, it’s the one circumstance in the visual arts where it’s that clear cut. Linear perspective is not a skill you can learn here and there, once in a while.

Out of all the skills you can develop as an artist, linear perspective is a skill that really does take very intentional, sustained practice.

Artists mentioned

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