Demo: 2 Point Perspective


Drawing Fundamentals: Perspective and Angle


Lesson Info

Demo: 2 Point Perspective

Two point perspective gets a little bit more complex, but it's pretty fun because it starts to really create this really interesting spatial dynamic. So I wanna show you a little animation that explains two point perspective and then we're just gonna go through it again working with these ideas. So let's go ahead into that animation. Great. Alright, so two point perspective. How does it differ? So two point perspective has two points on the horizon line instead of one point. So let's break that down. Let's look at it again. So here's a horizon line with two vanishing points this time instead of one. And let's see how we might build this. So these vertical lines represent the front corner of the boxes that we're going to build. From that front corner, from the top and bottom point of each of those line segments that are creating the front corner, we can draw lines all the way back on either side to the vanishing points and you can already see the space start to zoom, right? You can star...

t to see, whoa, they're coming at us rather than being flat in space which is really kind of magical. And then here they are with those little diagrams taken away. They're not quite done yet, but the one at eye level is more or less how it would be because we're not seeing the top or bottom 'cause it's eye level, but let's finish out the ones above and below. So if we start to bring lines back, and I'm gonna go through this with you, from the back edges, the back corners, then we can start to establish the underside and the top side of the higher and lower boxes from the eye level. So, and if we skew them to be asymmetrical boxes, we can still do the same thing. So it's kind of fun to like move em around. It's almost like there's like elastic bands attached to them on two little nails like moving these boxes around and seeing what happens to the stretchy bits that bring them back to the horizon line and how that affects the box. So in the end, kind of a more finished situation might look something like that. So let's go through the two point perspective and then we're gonna talk a little bit about sighting angles and establishing a box to the ground plane which definitely has a bit more to do with two point perspective and look at some examples and go from there. Alright, so let's get into two point perspective. So let's say that you're walking down the street and you get to a street corner and you're like, "Wow, this building is so gorgeous. "It's like coming right at me and look at these streets "going back into the distance. "How in the world would I draw that?" So that's a scenario where you'd be using two point perspective. The corner of something is coming right at you and things are spanning out in space from there. Alright, so in this case, if I'm working with a block as I mentioned, instead of the block coming straight at me, I'd be turning it in space so I'm seeing the corner come at me. So we're gonna first work through this conceptual model and, again, you have this, almost this exact example in the practice pages that you can absolutely download and I've created them so there's just these little like dot to dot lines that you can follow, but I think it's important to see it in real time so let's do that. Let's work with that a little bit. Okay, so let's start with the two points on the horizon. I'm gonna darken up the horizon line a little bit so you can see where that is. And then we're just gonna draw three boxes from three different angles and I think it'll make a lot of sense. Alright, so there's my horizon line. It's going back to my two vanishing points. That's my eye level. So the box that I construct here, which I'll do first, is going to be, you're not gonna see the top or the bottom of the box 'cause we're looking right down through the middle of it. So let's do that first. So from this top point of this, we're gonna call this a line segment, it is a corner coming at us in the end, from the top point and the bottom point of that line segment we're gonna pull lines back to the two vanishing points. So let's check that out first. We can color code it again. I think it makes it a little easier. So from here we're gonna take it back and I'm just gonna kinda make a light red line that brings us back to that horizon. And then from the bottom back to the vanishing point we're gonna bring this back and then we'll take this back to the vanishing point. So you can see that the angling down of this line and the angling up of this line get carried all the way back to that vanishing point. So the same thing is true for the angling of the other side. I'm gonna angle down towards the vanishing point and then up towards the vanishing point. We angle down when something's above our eye level. We angle up when something's below our eye level. And we'll just reinforce that here. And then simply just to finish this box which is the simplest of the three we just decide where we want our back corners to be, here and here, and if we get rid of this middle line, voila, we have a box that's looks 3D, straight on, and it relates to these two vanishing points. So that's pretty, pretty straightforward. Let's try one from below. You might think, "Well, why would I wanna learn "to draw a 3D box from below?" Well, imagine drawing, imagine you were walking through New York and you were looking up at skyscrapers and you were looking at their rooftops and how they angled down and you'd be looking from below so this a scenario that would set you up to be able to do something like that. So here's another case where we're gonna take the top point of this line segment, the bottom point of that line segment. We're going to take em back to the vanishing points, but this time it's pretty high up. The angles are gonna be a little more extreme. But both of these lines are angling downwards now because this entire block is above our eye level. So I'm just going to take this line down to the vanishing point here, take this line over to the vanishing point here, and then let's make, let's give a little corner to this one. So we have one side of our box established. We're gonna mirror that on the other side and I think you probably get this whole going back to the vanishing point so I'm not gonna trace all the lines on this side, but I'm gonna show you how this is really a mirror image of what's happening on the other side because this is a symmetrical box. Okay, so this starts to look a bit like this, but it's suddenly raised in space and it doesn't really feel like a box. It feels more like a folder because we don't have a bottom to it. So this is a little tricky, but not too bad. So the final step for creating the bottom facade of the box is to take the bottom point of this back corner and the bottom point of this back corner and like crisscross them over each other. So I'm just gonna show you. So you're gonna take this point and you're gonna connect it to it's opposite vanishing point. So we're gonna take it, you're gonna bring it over and I'll do the red line here so you can see. And it's gonna connect back over to that side. Then on this side you're gonna bring this point back across the middle. You're gonna bring it over and then down to that vanishing point. So now you can see you've got the whole box and just to reiterate that this is the bottom, this is the bottom of a box viewed from below. And we've elevated it. We've had the lines come down and converge to the vanishing points. And the only thing left to look at now is what happens if it's below the vanishing points or the eye level. So let's check that out and then we'll have a real sense of how this all works and then we'll do one in real time. I'll do a quick sketch of a block from life. Okay, so here is our last frontal corner coming right at us. It's a line segment. Just as a review because we've done the other ones already but let's do this anyway because it's really helpful to see how it's put together. So you're gonna do a line segment. This is gonna end up traveling up this time because it's below our eye level. We have a line segment there and then we have another little line segment here. And you know once you practice drawing these boxes with this system then it's really fun just to doodle them, you know, doodle them from different angles, doodle them in space and just play because you'll become more confident if you start with the structure and practice the structure. I'm a firm believer of structure first. And then after you practice the structure and you have those tools in your tool belt, then you can absolutely kinda go freeform and use these to, use these rules to, you know, allow yourself to be imaginative and have some creativity with it. So now this side is mirroring that. It's going back into space. I'm gonna go ahead and name this back corner here. And then we just have one last crisscross. This last crisscross is going to go this upper corner and this upper corner are gonna crisscross back to the opposite vanishing points. So let's do that. It's going here to here and let's bring it across. Color code it. And then we have this one and voila, we've established the upper part of the box. Pretty nice. Let's give it a little bit of emphasis just so we know that's the top. Yeah. So now we've taken these boxes, we've raised them, we've lowered them, we've had them in the middle and this is classic two point perspective. So let's take this idea and let's review it by actually drawing a block from life in two point perspective. So we have this block, my old friend the block, and the first thing I have here is this little diagram. So I know in this case because, you know, it would be cool if we could suspend the block really high, and I could draw it from below, but, like, you know when you're drawing a still life or blocks on a table we're often at eye level either at eye level or above eye level. It is, however, interesting to experiment with raising and lowering them so I often have my students, if we have a still life setup, I have them consider not only their view to it in the round, but I also have them consider their vista. So right now my vista is a bit on the high side, but if I came down lower and I lowered myself to the block, I'm seeing less and less and less of the top plane and more of the front and all the angles are changing. So just a little bit of shift or if I put this block up on top of some other blocks or on top of a platform, it would really change. But as long as the front corner is facing me I'm still working with it in two point perspective. Okay, so I've got this two point perspective, I have this block, this little mini block in the foreground, and I'm noticing that, just like we saw there, if I draw this front edge, I notice that I can span this all the way back to the vanishing point and cross over to that one and make a really nice sort of upper area that's sort of a diamond shape and then the lower area. And once again, with this one I really wanna pay attention to, once again, the ratio of the height of this front area basically from here to here from my eye, you know, I'm not talking about like taking a ruler and saying, you know, "How high is this versus that?" I'm actually talking about my perception of that due to space and perspective by measurement, measurement from a distance. Measuring this and comparing it to that. So by taking a sense of what this is and then asking myself, "How many of these lengths "fit, let's say, between here and here?" This is where, you know, actually from here to there it's almost equidistant again, and that's so surprising 'cause my brain intellectually wants this top area to be much broader, but perspective is really like a trick of the eye and so you have to measure and you have to look at the relationships, otherwise things are gonna skew and they're not gonna feel like they're resting well in space. So with that in mind we have our front corner, we've established our perspective, we've taken a look at sort of the ratio of height to width. So let's take a look at how we might construct this block larger, but with these ideas in mind. Now here's the thing, on a small scale, I can put both of my vanishing points on my paper. On a large scale, we're imagining those vanishing points out here. Some people like to take like strings and bring those points out to the side. Some people like to put like a big piece of paper down under their drawing to make sure that they have it right. In this case, I'm basically gonna be mirroring what I did in this one and just implying that these lines are coming out and converging to distant points just to sort of review the ideas. So you can strategize for yourself in that way. Alright, so freehand drawing of a block in two point perspective. We have a, so the first thing I'd be looking at is what's coming at me which is this front corner. So rather lightly, I'm establishing a front corner. And then I'm sighting some angles. So sighting angles is an interesting process and I'm gonna also talk about that with this and then I'm gonna reiterate it in a little bit with another diagram just so it makes a little bit more sense. So sighting angles. Because this block is not parallel to me, the angles of the corners to my eye are in a particular way and if I don't create the correct angle to that edge, then these are also gonna be kind of wonky.

Class Description

This beginner-friendly class will teach you essential techniques for drawing realistically. Understand perspective and how to sight angles for better accuracy. Instructor Amy currently teaches in the Fine Art departments of several New England colleges including Rhode Island School of Design's Certificate Program and she has exhibited her work nationally, winning numerous grants and awards.

This class covers:

  • Practicing 1-Point vs 2-Point perspective
  • Learning how to sight angles and place them with accuracy
  • Measuring relationships of height to width

A series of practice pages will be provided to get you started. You’ll draw three dimensional forms from multiple angles, and learn perspective that applies to landscape drawings, buildings, and still life.


DiDi Hendley

Excellent instructor! Simple to understand instructions, told in few words. Thanks Ms. Wynne and CreativeLive!

Wendy Nelson

Fantastic - I learned so much and got answers to things I was struggling with. This is a great beginner class.