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In the slightly more complicated world of TWO POINT PERSPECTIVE, we now need to consider how it relates to scenes in real life. Here, roads don’t always go straight, buildings are built at different times and sometimes at different angles to the road. We can get eye levels and vanishing points all over the place

This is an Italian street scene. We have two separate sets of buildings, a slope in the road and walls that are not vertical.  It is still possible to calculate the lines to be followed to get a good representation of the effect of distance on the walls and windows.

Nearer home,  we look at another problem picture

This is the famous scene at Gold Hill, Shaftsbury, the site of the Hovis advert of many years ago.  I have included this photo taken in snow and at night – just because it looks so inviting!   

First, let us look at the more usual image of this (below) and how perspective works on a downward curving road.  

In the lower photo, I have shown the perspective of the nearest buildings on the left (yellow).  The perspective of the next pair of buildings on the left (light blue) where the VP is off the page,  and the lines for the set of posts on the right (red).  

If you try to draw all your VPs in, you will not be able to see your original picture for lines !

Let us look at how eye level in the picture affects how we make assumptions about our position.

When we paint a picture of a scene direct from ‘nature’ we have to decide where our eye level is going to be in the picture and ensure that any lines of perspective in nearby buildings relate to vanishing points at that level.

Look at the lines on the Gold Hill example. The VPs for the buildings – certainly those nearest the viewer, all rest on a line somewhere close to the sky.  We can ignore the VP of the posts on the right as they follow the slope of the road downwards

Perspectives are much easier when they only relate to single surfaces all pointing the same way and at the same angle !

One other image to get your head around.  This works the other way  and is a Venetian cloister.

Many of your VPs  will finish up on the outside of the picture – or close to the edges. This is perfectly normal. It may just mean that you need to add a scrap of paper to your drawing board

( or even the far side of your desk ! ) to fix the position of the VP whilst you do the framework of your picture

Look at those curved arches. Now that is another problem. The spaces get narrower as they become more distant. How do you calculate how much narrower to make them?

This is similar to the problem of a fence and the need to know the way the apparent spaces between the posts change as the fence recedes into the distance.  We will look at this later.

Look at this picture below

and see where you think the

lines of linear perspective will run

Looking at the bridge, see how that arch shape changes as we move around.  Our view point changes and so do shapes like circles and arches.  How do we draw these ?   What about the tops of glasses and other circular things?. How do we draw tiles and arches receding into the distance?


Let us consider circles first.  To draw a circle we should first draw a square to contain the circle.

See the drawings below:

Once we have the technique of drawing the circle within the square, we can distort the square to obey the laws of perspective and then draw our circle within it.

This will give us the essential basic shape to enable us to draw arches in perspective:

The further round the arch comes, the flatter the circle. This method helps in drawing things like railway viaducts as seen below:  The near arches are more circular, the far ones more pointed

You may have noticed that as the arches get further away, the gaps between the stonework get narrower and narrower.  This is also a problem for drawing a series of fence posts or the pillars to a church cloister. We need a way of drawing these spaces so that the distances are accurate.

There is a simple method for finding the correct spacing.  First draw three lines to the VP giving the horizontal guides for the top, bottom and middle. Draw your first upright and then the second. Put in a cross in the first space and then copy the exact angle of the upright line in the second space. This gives you the horizontal distance to the third post and the cross will give you the bottom position.  See the diagram on the right

You can then repeat the method across your drawing, and you will find each space is smaller than the one before and correct in perspective.

This gives you correctly spaced posts at the correct height

Our final exercise is to look at tiles on a floor

This is not the only method of drawing tiles in perspective, but It does work for me !

Tiles are a tricky one, but bear with me and I will go through the process gently ….

Draw your first square in correct proportion. In my first example here, it is the bottom left tile.

 Identify the vanishing point you require, and then you can put in your ‘verticals’ to show the lines of tiles going away from you.   Then put in a diagonal line to the far side of the floor . This will usually be a projection of the original shape of the first tile you drew.

At each point where our diagonal line crosses a vertical, we need a cross line to give us our horizontals.

Hey Presto ! we have a set of tiles in perspective.

But what happened if our tiles are being viewed on the diagonal ?  OK, that is a complication , but not impossible to solve.  You will need to use two point perspective to draw the tiles and a true vertical line to help with the spacing of the tiles to give distance with flatter, smaller tiles at the back and larger, more upright ones at the front.

May I say at the outset that you need to be VERY careful over your measurements and your accurate drawing.

I wasn’t as careful as I could have been, and as a result the tiles failed to keep exactly to shape and position. The purpose of this tutorial is to show you the technique … and that is my excuse !!!!

Start with your horizontal line and correctly measured vanishing points.  It helps to have a feint central horizontal to make sure you stay on target see image 1:

Mine is more obvious so you can see the method

1 2 3 4 5

2 sees the addition of two perspective lines that define the front tile.  Make sure the lines cross on the vertical guide line……… ( see left)

( If you wander off and your line moves away from that central line, your drawing will get increasingly inaccurate )

3) Put down a marker horizontal, level with where the previous pair of perspective lines crossed the middle (see left )

and connect up to the VPs ( making sure that these lines also cross at the centre). Then put down a further pair of outer markers level with where the last perspective lines crossed and connect those up.  I found it helped to make a single mark on one side and draw the crossing line with reference to the centre.

You should then be able to build up your tiling to completion.

 Now remove unnecessary marks and you have your tiles

             (see below)

If your construction of lines is all drawn in accurately and lightly on the paper, you can then go over the top with a stronger line and refine the drawing as a set of tiles.  All other bits of lines can then be erased.

OBVIOUSLY this is a long way from being a comprehensive review of perspective.

There are places I suggest you go to see more information and by the time you have read the scripts from a few writers, you may start to get the idea more clearly.

YouTube is a great help in making things clear.   http://www.draw23.com/perspective   has some good explanations and a YouTube video

There are also good Video examples on YouTube at :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=felys-u4nfk      and


which has some nice music as well

And if you would like a very detailed explanation with one, two and three point perspective explained,  have a look at :


Bon Yoyage !




A Look at the basics