Perspective critiques please!

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    1 point perspective is really tricky and it always sets up a "looking down the train tracks" type of feeling that is often hard to work around. There are 3 things I would advise for this kind of perspective:

    1. Be careful with scale: your alley is too thin for the shot which makes all the angles more severe. Widen the alley and it will feel less cramped. Remove the stairs and anything that sticks out too far into the alley. Also, your buildings are too small which makes us be able to see too much of them. Run them off the page and you eliminate the harsh diagonals at the top of the page somewhat.

    2. Use as many horizontal objects as you can to interrupt the diagonal lines. THings like awnings and signs, etc. work great for that kind of thing

    3. "Cheat" the perspective. As david mentioned above, You can mess around with the vanishing point and still have it appear correct. In this quick sketch I really relaxed the vanishing points as they got near the top of the page which is where the real problems come in.

    Hope that helps some. Good luck! : )


  • SVS Instructor Pro

    @lee-white You know, for someone who barely uses linear perspective -- you sure seem to know a lot about it!

    It's almost like perspective is a tool you use only when it suits the needs of your image . . . 🤔

  • @sas Adding some thoughts to the first drawing:

    what is very important to me when doing wonky on purpose, is to keep some sort of general rules from typical perspectives and then keep the rules you impose on the wonkiness as well

    Important things - vertical lines - you either keep them straight and or you curve them for optical reasons (not because one of the buildings "dances" for example" and a particular effect

    • if you keep them straight you can either keep them all straight perpendicular to the bottom plane (the street plane)

    • or you make them taper slightly at the top as appears in your drawing, in that case you imply a second vanishing point at the top that unites all verticals somewhere very far outside the drawing. In that case, objects closer to the cobbled street on the vertical planes (on the facades) will appear bigger on their bottom than on their top. Meaning for example the first floor windows, all will have a larger bottom sill and a slightly shorter upper sill. In your frawing at the house on the right in the second view plane there's a window that looks like it's counterperspectival

    • if you curve the vertical planes slightly same rules apply but you should curve them all sort of in paralel with the same amplitude. otherwise some see to fall into the street

    I think that either curving or tapering slightly can soften the very exagerated lines of the perspective

    ibut i also think one of the main issues is actually scale and understanding how things become smaller the further they are from the viewer. The windows and doors should be narrower. Each window in the successive planes should become narrower and narower. also important to give depth and scale, the cobblestones are ineexplicably straight in the front and curvved in the back. and worse, they all seem the same size. Because of perspective they should appear smaller and smaller and narrower as they are further from the front. Also a rectangle in perspective would look like a paralelogram and if you draw the diagonals in that paralelogram you would have the middle. that's a way to correctly split a window for example into correct proportions. I agree with the street seeming too narrow and ditching the steps. the one on the left looks like it would go on forever and the ones on the right look like they are way to steep. as a general rule about stairs and steps usually in normal steps the heights of the step is lower than the width of the step (only on ladders or very very steep ship or attic stairs they are higher)

    The entire flight of stairs on the right of the character has 4 steps. it's behind the character but it still looks like one step reaches up to his knee. think in real life, that never happens. also, look at his show size, imagine it would have to actually fit on the step. Tiny details like that can give things more realism. you could have stylized the feet to be very tiny and unrealistic in which case it wouldn't have bothered because it still wouldn't feel like he can't put the foot on the step. but if you make the stairs big enough to fit his feet you will see that the stair would reeach way into the street so either make a smaller stir in the background, in a faraway plan or ditch it alltogether.

    your horizon line is sort of at the navel of the character as davidhohn shows abve. that would look like a child would look at the scene. it implies that the viewer has its eyelevel at the navel so in my opinion i think having the facades seem to fall into the street would imply again the samllness of the kid/viewer.

    i'm not sure if all this makes sense. i can't draw right now on the drawing but i hope it's helpful. i agree with what people already said. to me wonkiness has to work somehow and at least keep the "things appear bigger nearer to the front and smaller nearer to the back" kinda rule

    sorry. this is all over the place

  • @Sas Also this

    Just understand the principles, no need to construct the perspective with a ruler in the case of the cobblestones for example, you can aproximate and make them irregular and so on but keep the idea in mind of things slowly and gradually becoming smaller towards the back.

  • @lee-white Thanks for the help! Yeah you're totally right about the size of the buildings. I didn't see it before you mentioned it and widening the alley could help as well. I will give them a shot!

    I'm just a bit worried that if I put up more shop signs that maybe the attention of the person carrying all the gifts will get lost. I will sure try out all your tips. Back to the drawing board it is!

  • @irina Hi Irina. Great advice! Thank you so much for taking the time to look into this picture. Indeed the steps are waaaay too high! And I will pay more attention to distant objects becoming smaller and narrower.

    Thank you again for all your great advice. I will take it to heart when returning to the drawing board.

  • @irina Ohh thats a handy youtube channel, the my drawing tutorials ! And that's indeed the same stuff what Jake teaches in his perspective class. But should I use this method when making wonky cobblestones? Or just use them as a reference as you suggested? I mean.. does it work when making a wobbly perspective or will it make it too even and neat?

  • well, you can also go wonky wonky and look at Beatrice Alemagna for example. It's very "wrong" in many ways. I think what makes her stuff work very well is the fact that everything looks very childlike and she uses perspective sort of like in medieval drawings somehow. but her focus is on illustrating the scene so one understands what is there while also letting the eye move across the page and focus on different areas etc, but she focuses very very much on emotion and expression and on the rendering. textures and hatching and patterns and color and so on. her books sometimes take 6 years to make and she works and reworks scenes and characters many times until they look just right

    in my mind i feel drawing "wrong" on purpose is very very hard to do. I'm an architect and want to correct everything and feel very selfconscious when working on a perspective that i try to tweak to look wrong. usually when i show it to others i feel the need to sa nah, but it's wrong on purpose :))

    I find a lot of illustrators in the children's book field, perhaps more in europe or the uk ddon't focus so much on constructing a very severe perspective and a lot at illustration schools nowadays arrive at this sort of drawing by a lot of practice and observational drawing without being told specifically what is technically wrong. In the uk i have talked to students and they are not taking classes in perspective or constructive drawing so much as in other places. the focus simply is not on "drawing correctly" but on expression and message and on a lot of experimentation

    What i find useful for myself (since i do love wonkiness a LOT and am drawn toward it) is looking at the artists that are employing it and studying and trying to understand how they achieve the effects that i like, whether in environments or in character design. In character design i'm very drawn to a particular look that doesn't come natural to me and i'm not sure about how to go about abstracting so it doesn't look amateurish or forced. i am also trying to specifically avoid the more american disney-esque or cartoon netwoork type of character design though i wish i had fluidity in my designs as well. Bottom line i think there is no recipe, there is just a lot of trial and error and a lot of practicing and experimentation and analisys of what we have done

    alt text

    Look at this, she explains her process here. Check out the dozens of drawings just to find one particular perfect way to express disgust. Not a simple get it right quick recipe, just constant trial and error. Constant drawing and observing and constant redrawing. From all that appears style

    Just fail. fail fail fail fail and don't be afraid. and look at art and artists, films and all that, old maps and medieval drawings of cities or interiors, david hockney, the movie the cabinet of doctor caligari, etc... look at things. there is no rule. i do think understanding correct perspective drawing is important but you can focus on learning descriptive geometry and how to construct with a ruler etc or with a system. and you can also understand a lot by real and attentive and careful observation of the world. with a pencil in hand. so draw from life a lot

    this is a little all over the place but i hope it's useful somehow. i'm really thinking of wonkiness a lot too and i think the way to access it in a natural way is somewhere between being deliberate and being unaware if that makes sense. if we are too deliberate in making something look wrong it might appear fored and unnatural, if we don't think about it it will look too amateurish and bad, so somewhere in between is probably the sweet spot. but ne thing is true. ALL artists draw and redraw like mad. to come to a final drawing they do loads of drawings. they just don't stop

    it's a process, not a recipe

  • Also read these entries here. it's a good example of how to learn from a particular style or image in developing your own work and look

    Figure out what kind of wonkiness you are intrested in and exactly what you want to acheive with the wonkiness and what the purpose and message of the wonkiness is and then study a lot

    If you look at the alemagna image i posted above, her cobblestones look like regular patterns or hatches which makes the images consistent and also consistent with the entire book which is a melange of drawing painting and colage. she's not interested in making it look real there but more in the decorativeness, like on a tapestry

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @sas check out @Will-Terry's class on "drawing 50 things". He shows you how to draw a lot of stuff and still hold the focus of an image.

  • @lee-white Oh good tip! Thanks!

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