Category Archives: LEARNING TO DRAW
Knowing about how to use linear perspective doesn’t mean that you have to be a slave to it. Using the principles of perspective in drawings and paintings that include buildings, posts, roads, etc. can become an internal knowledge that makes your artwork more realistic. However, some artists like to distort reality and in doing so, distort perspective as well. De Chirico is a prime example of this. Some contemporary artists do this as well: (from Artist Magazine, June 2010).
But here’s another way to use perspective creatively — an imaginary residence high up in the sky! This drawing uses 4 vanishing points — all related. The vanishing points are on vertical and horizontal lines. Try this in your sketchbook to work out your “dream house”!
If you have drawn the country home that I showed last post, you may be ready to add an addition or a porch to your drawing. Hopefully you have put in some windows, and maybe a chimney using the same converging lines to the vanishing points. All you need to do to add a porch or extension is to bring a corner post forward and use the same vanishing points and vanishing traces to add the roof. To add a center door, remember to make the x from each corner of the rectangle to find the center, and then position the door in the center. Steps could be added in the same way. A walkway that is parallel to the horizon line can also be added as per example. To make the fence posts and fence, follow this sequence: Decide where you want the corner post and draw it in as a vertical shape. Draw converging lines to the vanishing points from the bottom and the top of the corner post. Establish the second post arbitrarily when you’d like it to be using the converging lines for the top and bottom. Now, make an X from point to point of the first and second posts. This determines the center point between each post. From the center of the X, draw another line to the vanishing point. Then draw a diagonal line from the top of the first post through the middle of the second post. Where that line crosses the bottom converging line is where to position the third post. Continue drawing the rest of the posts in the same way, and do the other side the same way. Elaborate the posts any way you wish, but you have fenced off your country property! Remember to add trees and shrubs to make it homey…
Draw a rectangle 8″ high and 10″ wide in the middle of your large drawing pad. Draw your eye level a little above center so that you will have a lot of floor to play with.
Set your left and right vanishing points.
Close to the middle of your rectangle, draw a vertical line about 2″ long — this will be the corner of your room.
To draw the ceiling, connect a line from the top of that corner to the left vanishing point and a line to the right vanishing point.
To draw the floor, connect a line from the bottom of the corner to the left vanishing point and another to the right vanishing point. Do you see the floor and the ceiling now?
On one wall, draw a window and make sure your tops and bottoms are parallel — use the vanishing points. Draw the window casing as well, if you can. If you want, you may draw a door in the other wall as well.
To draw the floor tiles in 2-point perspective, measure off 1″ marks on the floor line from the corner of the room along the wall. Do this on both walls. You will have to extend your floor lines all the way off the paper in order to make all the tiles.
From each of those points on the floor line, draw converging lines to the vanishing points. If you do this on both walls, you will have tiles that grow smaller and smaller as they go back in space. You can darken every other one of these so that you can see the pattern.
I know this is difficult — I hope you understood my directions. Please let me know if I need to explain it further. We’ll draw a house in a landscape for the next lesson in perspective.
HERE’S AN EXERCISE YOU CAN TRY TO UNDERSTAND 1 POINT PERSPECTIVE INSIDE A BUILDING.
INTERIOR SCENES ARE MUCH DIFFERENT FROM EXTERIOR. PRETEND THAT YOU’RE IN A SMALL ROOM LOOKING AT THE BACK WALL –THERE IS EITHER A WINDOW OR A PAINTING ON THAT WALL, AND IT IS SEEN HEAD-ON. IN YOUR SKETCHBOOK, DRAW AN 8″ SQUARE IN THE CENTER OF THE PAPER. THEN DRAW A 4″ SQUARE EQUI-DISTANT FROM ALL SIDES WITHIN THE 8″ SQUARE. PRETEND THIS IS THE BACK WALL OF YOUR ROOM. DECIDE WHERE YOUR EYE LEVEL IS AND DRAW A HORIZONTAL LINE INTERSECTING BOTH SQUARES. SELECT A VANISHING POINT ON YOUR HORIZON LINE. NOW DRAW CONVERGING LINES FROM THAT VP TO THE CORNERS OF THE BACK WALL (NOT THE CORNERS OF THE SQUARE – NOTICE). DRAW DOORS, WINDOWS WITH CONVERGING LINES THAT MEET AT THE VANISHING POINT. NOTICE THAT YOU CAN ONLY SEE THE FRAMING OF WINDOWS/DOORS ON THE BACK SIDE.
TO DO THE TILE FLOOR MEASURE OFF 1/2″ DIVISIONS ON THE BACK WALL EXTENDING BEYOND YOUR SQUARES IF YOU CAN. DRAW CONVERGING LINES TO THE VP FROM THESE POINTS. THIS GIVES YOU THE ANGLES OF BOARDS OR TILES PERPENDICULAR TO THE SIDE WALLS. NOW, IF YOU WANT SQUARE TILES, START AT THE BASE OF YOUR PICTURE PLANE (THE 8″ SQUARE) AND MEASURE OFF 1″ UP AND DRAW YOUR FIRST HORIZONTAL LINE (THIS IS CALLED A TRANSVERSAL).
NOW, CONTINUE TO DRAW DIAGONALS ACROSS THE FLOOR FROM THE INTERSECTIONS OF THE CONVERGING LINES. CONTINUE IN THE SAME MANNER TO MAKE CHECKERBOARD TILES. DARKEN ALTERNATE TILES SO THAT YOU CAN SEE THE PATTERN. ERASE THE LINES YOU NO LONGER NEED.
I REALIZE THIS WILL BE DIFFICULT FROM A WRITTEN EXPLANATION. I USUALLY DEMONSTRATE THIS IN MY CLASSES, AND STUDENTS FOLLOW ALONG AS I DRAW. LET ME KNOW IF YOU CATCH ON TO THIS OR NOT. A TWO-POINT INTERIOR SCENE IS NEXT!
The easiest way to learn about 1 point and 2 point perspective is to draw simple open boxes above and below the horizon line (eye level). On the left of the example are open boxes in 1 point perspective – one is above the horizon line and one is below. We will begin with the box on the left (1 point).
First, draw a horizon line and a square above the line and a square below the line. Above the line you will see the bottom of the box; below the line you will see the top of the box (makes sense). Now, select a vanishing point on the line. On the top square, draw lines (orthogonals) from all four corners directly to that vanishing point.
Draw a horizontal line determining the width of the lower panel. Now you see a 3-dimensional box. But what if the box is open? Draw perpendicular lines from the corners of the bottom panel that meet the orthogonals at the top of the box. Now draw a horizontal line from those points that is parallel to the bottom line.
Erase the lines you don’t need and darken in the rear of the 3-dimensional box that you see.
Try doing the same thing on the bottom box in reverse. Sometimes you can’t see the inside of the box depending on where your vanish point is and how deep you make your box.
Next time, we’ll draw a box in 2 point perspective. By the way, it helps to use a t-square and triangle.
It’s been a while since I blogged — had a lot going on in my life lately. Today, I’m merely passing along some information about drawing the human form that I’ve gleaned from books and magazines. Unfortunately, I have no idea WHAT books and magazines I got these from. Suffice it to say that my students learned a lot from these charts. The first one is about the growth of children. You can see from this why babys’ heads and eyes always seem to be so big– they don’t grow as fast as the other parts of the body. I apologize for the darkness of the example — it was on colored paper!
This next chart illustrates how the different sections of the body can be seen as basic forms: cylinders, spheres, wedges. It is much easier to draw figures if you think about various parts as simply shapes and forms.
In the future, I probably will not be posting drawing/painting lessons from my classes. Instead, I will be sharing the artwork I have finished lately, or working on at the present. I may be hanging up my apron as an art teacher! At least for the summer! Happy drawing to all of you!
The ancient Greeks studied real human proportions in order to make their statues more ideal. The Roman architect, Vitruvius in the 1st century BC also studied the relationships of the human body and used these in his buildings. Leonardo DaVinci is known for his “Vitruvian Man” which he got from Vitruvius’ writings. He used the human head as his comparison point and based his measurements on an ideal proportion of 8 heads tall. This is pretty convenient in that the figure is 4 heads tall at the lower part of the torso, and can be divided into quarter points at the chest and knees. The arms are usually divided into half at the elbow as will the legs just below the knee.
But the human body is different in everyone. Most artists now say that the figure is 7 ½ heads tall, as in the following example. This was developed by a 19th century anatomist, Dr. Paul Richer. The half-way mark is just a little below the pubic bone, and the third head is at the belly button.
In the example below, see that the human body is basically 7 ½ heads or 7 heads tall, based on the length of the head. Males and females are the same, which means, of course, that the female head is smaller than the male. See where the arms come to – the waist, the knee, the pelvic bones. This is only a guide, because you have to look closely at your model to see his/her true proportions.
The illustration below is taken from Anatomy and Drawing by Victor Perard, 13th printing 1948 – one of my most prized drawing books.
If you really want to learn how to draw the human body, draw from photos, magazine pictures, and any time you’re sitting in a waiting room with others. Keep your sketchbook and pencil handy. One caveat, however: If you draw from fashion models, realize that the rule of 7 1/2 heads does not apply. Fashion illustrators and photographers enlongate the female figure so as to make the clothes look better. CHECK IT OUT!
Using a grid is the easy way to reproduce a photograph, and IT’S NOT TRACING! Renaissance artists such as Durer and da Vinci used a standup grid to get correct proportions of a live subject. In my last portrait drawing class, I showed my students how to use a 1″ grid on an 8×10″ photograph to draw their own self-portraits. Here is the result from one of my students, Linda Keesee. She placed the grid on the photograph and made another 1″ grid on her drawing paper, then drew from the photo square by square to complete the final product. If you want to enlarge a photograph, either use a 1″ grid on the photo and a 2″ grid on your drawing paper, or a 1/2″ grid on the photo and a 1″ grid on the paper. Either way, your drawing will be twice the size of the photograph.
Of course, if you’re confident of your ability, you could skip the grid and draw free hand, but that could get you in trouble! Also, some of you who have done this before might like to try the alternate method – making an x on the corners and dividing each section equally. If you do this, you’ll need to trace your photo and use the grid on the tracing.
You may think the ear is hard to draw because of its intricate folds and wrinkles, but if you just get the basic shape right, it’s not that difficult. If the head is drawn straight on, like a wanted ad, you can hardly see the ear, especially if hair covers it. The problem comes when the head is seen in 3/4 view, or in profile. That’s when you need to look carefully at the ear’s inner and outer shapes. Here is an example of the ear seen in profile:
And here is a young girls’ portrait
Noses are very much unique to the individual. They can be straight, crooked, with a big bump in it, have widely flared nostrils, slim, or large. My mother had what she called a “roman nose — it roamed all over her face!” Pay a lot of attention to the different shapes, angles, and planes of the nose. The bridge of the nose is a bone, while the edges are cartilage. There is a round ball at the end of the nose, and the flares of nostrils are wedge shapes. The overall shape of the nose is narrow at the top, and wide at the base.
After the structural lines have been made, shading the nose is the best way to define the form. If you’re drawing the nose from a front view, the only way to show the form is by the subtle variations of lights and darks. Don’t draw lines on the side of the nose. The darkest shadows lie next to the bridge. Drawing noses from a profile view is easier, because then you can ouline the nose. Nostril openings face down and should not be overstated. Because the tip of the nose is spherical, it usually has a highlight. Look carefully at the light source and the reflected light. The nose will also cast a shadow beneath it.
Here are some examples:
This example is from the Watercolor Artist magazine of June 1212.