Perspective is used to draw a three-dimensional object or when you are drawing a scene where you would like things to seemingly disappear into the background or alternatively, come towards you. Artists and designers use perspective to map out their artworks or as a finished piece.

Simply put, perspective dictates that the closer something is to you, the larger it should be drawn, and the further away something is, the smaller it should be drawn. This means that things look thinner in perspective than they would in real life. For example, pathways look wider when closer to you and people are miniature if they are further back.

The more you begin to understand perspective, the more you can create with it. You can always start in pencil and then once you've gained a bit of confidence, use a darker line or pen to fill in the lines you've drawn.

So grab a pencil and a ruler and let’s get started!

One Point Perspective

A good place to start when practicing drawing perspective is with a box. we all know what it’s meant to look like and so we can create the right perspective using a simple form. Once you’ve learnt the basics you can move on to more complex pictures later.

1. Start by placing a dot in the middle of your piece of paper. From that dot, create two "construction lines" coming away from the dot down the page.

In the image, these are the two middle lines coming down towards the bottom of the paper. Ignore the other lines for now, as we will use these later to draw more boxes.

2. Draw a horizontal line somewhere between the two construction lines to create the top of your cube and then draw the rest of your square shape.

3. From the top of the square, draw another horizontal line between the construction lines, leaving roughly half a square's space between them. Measure the length of your square for accuracy if you need to. You can then join the corners of these lines to create the top face of your box.

4. You can now practice steps 1-3 starting from different construction lines coming from the same one point. You can draw as many of these lines as you like:

How did you get on? Now, we're going to try something a bit more complicated:

1. Start with your dot and create 4 construction lines coming out of it.

Tip: The closer the lines together the softer the perspective will be, the wider the lines are apart the more the image will appear to come right at you.

We're going to draw some houses – as they are lots of box shapes really, so will help you get the hang of perspective, whilst also drawing something a bit more interesting than boxes!

2. Draw four or five horizontal lines to map out your buildings. The closer to the dot, the thinner the building will be. It’s all about practice here, so don't be afraid to experiment. They may look odd at first but don't worry - you can change them later.

In the image here, the buildings are going to come to an end before they reach the dot - the vanishing point - which has been marked with two horizontal construction lines on either side of the dot, signifying the end part of the buildings.

3. Draw more construction lines so that you get the perspective right for the windows and doors. Always start the construction lines from that single dot at the back.

Just remember that the further away from the vanishing point something is, the larger it will seem. This means that doors and windows should be drawn wider, the further away from the vanishing point they are.

4. Once you have drawn in your basics, you can start to add some details. Flowers, plants, people in the streets - it's up to you.

Have a go at drawing your own perspective image. It doesn't have to be a street. Perhaps you could draw some beach huts down one side facing the sea?

Two Point Perspective

Ready to take things up a notch? We are going to start with a cube shape to learn a bit more about two point perspective, and then move onto a different picture.

1. Start with two dots on either side of the page (you can draw a line across to create your horizon line if you like), then add a vertical construction line about half way between the dots – it doesn't have to be perfect.

2. Draw four lines, two extending from each of the two vanishing points and crossing over at two points somewhere in the middle of the page. Draw a vertical line from where the construction lines meet, and then two more lines either side. Join them up along the construction lines to create your cube shape.

Now, let’s do some other two point perspective drawing.

1. Start with the same vanishing points and central construction lines as previously, before adding in some vertical construction lines to create a basic form.

It is starting to look a little like houses again, so now it's time to get a little more artistic:

2. You can draw whatever you like - we've started with trees, following the vertical construction lines back to the dot on the right hand side, narrowing the width of the trees as you near the vanishing point.

3. Create a footpath and a building to the left-hand side using construction lines to help create the illusion of a three-dimensional building.

Do you find two point perspective easier or more difficult? You can create some really interesting pictures with both types. The Ingram Collection has some great examples of these different perspective drawings, including Hebebuhne by Michael Sandle. Can you find any others? When you are ready, you can have a go at three point perspective, and beyond. The possibilities are endless! 

Can't get enough of drawing? Why not join one of our upcoming Drawing for Adults sessions?