The book on my Argenta project is finally printed! It contains images of the 25 pen and ink drawings I did of Argenta buildings, plus the history of the region, each building, and architectural facts. The book is 8 x 9.5″ and sells for $34.49 at http://www.blurb.com/b/6631540-the-argenta-national-historic-district, plus shipping. At present, you can get it from me for $35 (I’m not making a dime on it)! Let me know if you’re interested; I’m always willing to sign the frontspiece for you!
Here are some other images from the book:
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…
Let’s try to draw an imaginary country home using the concepts of two-point perspective. Here are the steps I used:
- On a large *18 x 24″) sheet of drawing paper, draw a horizon line and select two vanishing points as far away on the page as you can. Then draw the front corner of the house approximately 2″ tall. Draw vanishing lines from the top and bottom of this line to the vanishing points on the left and the right.
- Your imaginary house in this case will face to the right. Draw vertical lines to establish the length and width of the building. You have made a box similar to what we did before.
- On the wide part of the box, draw diagonal lines from corner to corner to find its center. Extend a vertical line through this center point and extend it about 1 1/2″ above the top of your box. This will define the height of the gable end of the roof.
- Connect the top of the gable with the vertical sides of the box at both ends, extending just a little beyond the side to make your eaves.
- Now draw a converging line from the gable peak to the left vanishing point. This is the top of the roof.
- What about the back side of the roof? To get this point, extend a vertical line from the right vanishing point all the way up as far as you can on your paper.
- From the left corner of the facing side, extend a converging line all the way up the left side of the gable until it meets extended line you drew from the right vanishing point. Make a dot where these lines meet — this is called a vanishing trace. Where it intersects the top of the roof is where your roof ends.
- Extend a roof line a little beyond your left house end to make the roof. From this point, draw a converging line to the vanishing trace. Where it intersects the roof line is the end of your roof.
- So far, you have made a box-type house with a gabled roof. You can make some windows on one side if you wish like you made windows in the indoor examples. Next post, I’ll discuss how to make a front porch, a walkway, and a fence enclosing the property!
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.
The following vocabulary terms are important in the study of perspective. I’m including them before we start a lesson on drawing in 1 or 2-point perspective, so that you are familiar with them. We have already discussed aerial perspective, so these terms are specific to linear perspective.
Linear perspective is the use of ellipses and converging lines to show depth. It involves foreshortening of parallel lines as they recede into the distance.
Foreshortening – An illusion of perspective when looking head-on to an object. It seems a lot shorter than it really is.
Ellipsis – A circular shape becomes oval when seen at an angle.
Eye level – This is a complete horizontal circle at your eye level as you turn your head or the horizon if you are at sea level. Everything in perspective is related to this line. All horizontal lines above eye level will slope downwards to the vanishing point, and all lines below eye level will slope upwards to meet at the vanishing point.
Horizon – The dividing line between sky and land – also known as eye level.
Picture Plane – An imaginary vertical plane at right angles to the line of sight upon which a drawing or painting is drafted. It can be regarded as the surface of your board or canvas. Think of it as a vertical sheet of clear glass at a short distance from you, through which you view your subject. What is seen on the picture plane is shaped by two factors: the height that the eye is from the ground and the distance the subject is from the eye.
Vanishing Point(s) – These are the points on the eye level on either side of the center of vision to which parallel lines going away from you converge and appear to vanish. Most of the time, these points occur outside the edges of your drawing board.
One Point Perspective – Also known as parallel perspective. If one side of the object is facing you, it is in one-point perspective. If you are standing in the middle of a street, edges are parallel, but seem to be meeting in the center – your center of vision (as in a railroad track).
Two Point Perspective – Also known as oblique perspective. If a corner of the object is the closest to you, the object is in two-point perspective. You will see two sides of the object at the same time, and the diagonals converge to a vanishing point left and a vanishing point right.
Three Point Perspective – A third point can come into play in perspective, but only when dealing with extreme heights or lows. Tall buildings are one example. In the case of looking up at a tall building (worm’s eye view) the edges of the building will not only recede to the two vanishing points (if looking at a corner), but there will be an upward (or downward) recession to a vanishing point. This vanishing point is always directly in front of the viewer at a 90 degree angle to the horizon line. If looking down at an object in three point perspective, it is referred to as a bird’s eye view.
Vanishing Trace or Sky Vanishing Point – A point used to determine roof lines. The point is extended from the horizon line.
Convergence Lines (also called orthogonal) are lines that converge at the vanishing point. These are any lines that are moving away from the viewer at an angle parallel to the direction that the viewer is looking. In the case of driving down a highway, these lines would be the edges of the highway as they move away from you forward into the distance.
Transversals – The horizontal lines of a “perspective pavement.” They get narrower as they go back into the distance.
Ground Plane – The plane stretching from the bottom edge of the picture plane to the horizon. It also forms the “ground” on which the viewer stands.
Viewpoint or Point of View – the fixed viewing position of the viewer. A normal viewpoint is at head height when the viewer is standing on the ground plane. If the spectator is standing on a stepladder, the horizon line will still be at eye level, but more of the ground plane will be visible. If the spectator’s viewing position is low down, the horizon line will be lower, and less of the ground plane will be visible.
LINEAR (THE USE OF LINES) PERSPECTIVE is what happens when buildings, trees, utility poles, etc. are seen in the picture place. It involves FORESHORTENING of parallel lines as they recede into the distance. The difficulty of foreshortening is what your left brain tells you. Rely instead on your right brain. YOU MUST DRAW WHAT YOU SEE, AND NOT WHAT YOU THINK YOU SEE! For example, you know that the trees seen in this sketch are the same size and height.
If you drew a line at top and bottom, it would be parallel, and never intersect.
But if you change your point of view and look at the trees from an angle, even though you know they are the same height, the one farthest away seems much smaller. The lines intersecting the tops and bottoms of the trees would converge at some point on the horizon line. (eye level). You have changed your position.
Locating the correct VANISHING POINTS (where those lines seem to converge) is the secret of understanding and using linear perspective. The horizon line or eye level changes if you change your position – If you crouched down, the eye level is lower – if you stand on a ladder, it would raise. Would you then see the tops or the bottoms of things?
Any other lines that are parallel to the tops and bottoms would also pass through the same vanishing points. Here is an example of a high eye level. The horizon line (eye level) is at the line of trees in the background.
But if I positioned myself lower while looking in the distance, the horizon line(eye level) would be at the bottom of the page, and I’d see a lot of sky, or in this case, ocean.
So this is just an introduction to linear perspective: more will follow.
Well, I just realized that I had not posted anything about working with perspective — both aerial and linear. This is an omission my teaching career couldn’t withstand! So I’m going to write a few posts about this subject before giving up!
If you are a realistic painter, or just want to show some depth in your paintings, you need to know something about perspective.
THERE ARE TWO KINDS OF PERSPECTIVE: AERIAL AND LINEAR
AERIAL PERSPECTIVE OR ATMOSPHERIC PERSPECTIVE: If you have drawn or painted a still life subject, you probably wanted to show these objects in space. It was shallow space, of course, but was still important. In a landscape, aerial perspective is most important, since you usually have a foreground, a middle ground, and a background. How do you effectively represent these different planes?
AERIAL PERSPECTIVE INCLUDES THESE ELEMENTS:
If you look at two objects in space that are similar, but one is farther away than the other, what happens? The one farther away looks smaller, lighter in value, lower in intensity, not as clearly defined, and may be overlapped by the one in front. Take a look at this example:
How do you know which tree is the closest even though the other trees may be the same size? It is larger, close to the bottom of the picture plane, in more detail, darker, and overlaps the trees and mountains in the distance. What happens to the trees and mountains in the distance? They are lighter in value, less intense, show no detail, are much smaller. The mountains in particular are low in intensity, appearing more lavender and gray.
Here’s is another example: In this painting, we know that the hay bale on the bottom left is much closer to the viewer than the others because of its position. Is there a definite foreground, middle ground, and background here? The foreground hill is more golden (more intense) than the three other hills as they move backward in space. It’s important to look closely at the natural landscape to see how this works.
My next posts will be about linear perspective — this is what happens when people start putting buildings, houses, barns, etc. in the landscape!