Mastering Perspective Questions

  • Warm Greetings!

    I've just listened to the "Mastering Perspective" SVS course and had some follow-up questions that I'm hoping someone might be able to help answer.

    1. When is it appropriate to change your vanishing points in a piece? If you choose, let's say 2-point perspective, do you need to keep the same vanishing points for the whole piece? It seems like there may be some exceptions, such as Lee White explains in an earlier post from 2016:

    2. For a group of figures, I understand that you want to keep the same horizon line if they are of the same relative size, but what do you do if you have one of the figures sitting or if there is a child of much smaller stature in the mix?

    I've ordered a copy of Perspective Made Easy by Ernest Ralph Norling which may help answer these questions but wondered if you all have some tips you might be able to share.

    Any information is greatly appreciated, thank you!

  • @djly From my understanding of perspective. If you have objects that are aligned, such as a block of houses or buildings, you keep the perspective the same using the same vanishing points. If you are putting something that is turned, facing a different direction, or intentionally want it to stand out, you create different vanishing points.

    For sitting and standing figures, I approach it the same way, just like You draw standing figures coming forward using the other figures and the horizon line as a guide, you can draw a small sitting figure next to a standing figure to get the size and proportions right, then pull that forward.

    In both situations the horizon line is your best friend in lining things up.

    I hope that helps its hard to explain verbally ill see if i have any images in my perspective books that could help.

  • @Aleksey thanks so much for your quick reply! Your responses were really helpful in clearing-up my confusion on those concepts. Your simple tip that "the horizon line is your best friend" and the situations when you can veer from your original vanishing points was so helpful. The figure tip was so simple, but made it much easier to understand how to get the proportions correct.

    Thank you, thank you!

  • @djly oh im glad haha i was worried it would sound confusing

  • @Aleksey nope, not confusing and completely answered my question. Thanks!

  • Pro

    @djly Good questions!

    1. Think of your perspective like a grid: most things will be aligned to it, but in life as in drawing some things will undoubtedly be turned in a different direction. The example of a bunch of boxes of the floor is easy to follow (you can place the boxes any angle you want so they won't always follow the alignment of walls, buildings, etc). But many other things will require different perspective points. Let's say you have a spiral staircase, for instance. How do you draw that inside your grid perspective? You can't, you will need several new perspective points to make that happen. Recently I needed to add a perspective point to draw a very tall angled roof, as I was having trouble getting both sides of the roof symmetrical in my perspective.Things like that! Life can rarely be completely boiled down to 2 perspective points, sadly! There are always special cases.

    2. The horizon line helps you measure distances in your perspective grid. Make sure you decide what height it is early on. For instance if your horizon line goes up to the shoulders of a 6 feet tall man, then your horizon line is about 5 feet tall. You can use that information to deduce how tall to draw other things if you know how tall they are (a 3 foot tall child for instance, or a sitting woman coming up at 4 feet, etc) Use the same information to measure accurately the height of objects, buildings and other things in your image!

    I hope that helped and good luck! I know perspective is really tricky and it took me years to even sort of know what I was doing haha... The rules are simple, but their application is NOT. You always seem to run into scenarios where knowing the rules isn't enough to know what to do or even where to start. What if you need to draw evenly spaced windows on a round tower? An ajar door? A skylight perched on a roof angled at 75 degrees? It often seems frustrating, but there ARE answers to those questions and you will conquer all those challenges in time 🙂

  • @NessIllustration - I can't thank you enough for your very thoughtful response to my questions. Imagining a grid is really helpful in understanding and further cleared confusion. By the way, I've been following your feedback on other posts, as well as your work, and really admire both.

    Thank you!!

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