Artists have striven for centuries to achieve realism in drawing. When creating a representation of an object or person, they often want to create a realistic image that is recognizable instantly. One common and reliable method that has developed over time is the art of perspective drawing.
Perspective drawing allows two-dimensional images to create the illusion of being three-dimensional. When looking at three-dimensional objects, the farther items appear smaller than those that are close to the viewer. This is the effect of perspective. A well-made perspective drawing, coupled with good shading technique, can contain a very detailed level of realism.
One-point perspective makes use of a single vanishing point, a point in the distance that serves as the theoretical farthest distance possibly seen by the viewer. All objects will appear to point toward the vanishing point. This is achieved by drawing a point, then drawing the front of your objects. Draw a faint line from each corner or edge to the point, decide the depth of the object and draw the back edge, then erase the remaining line segment going to the point. A common example of one-point perspective is a drawing of a view down a street, with buildings getting smaller toward the vanishing point.
Two-point perspective works on the same principle as one-point perspective, but it adds a second point. This is useful for achieving realism because our two eyes each have a slightly different angle of view. In some cases the two points might be close together, such as in a view down a street with the buildings on the left going to one point, and the buildings on the right going to a point that's slightly to the right. In other cases, two-point perspective is used with two points on opposite sides of the paper. This is effective for creating the appearance that an object is coming toward you at an angle. An example would be a drawing of Times Square, with the left of a building going to a point on the left of the page, and the right of the building angled to a second point that's on the opposite side.
Three-point perspective takes two-point to another level, adding a point to give the appearance of being above or below an object. To understand how it works, draw a point on the left, right and bottom of a piece of paper. Make a dot in the center of the page, then draw a faint line to each point. Along the left and right lines, draw a second dot and a faint line from each to the bottom point. Draw a line from the bottom point to the far left and right points, stopping at the left and right lines. Erase the lines outside the cube that you just created, and you are left with what looks like a skyscraper viewed from atop another building.
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