Welcome to The Helpful Art Teacher, an interdisciplinary website linking visual arts to math, social studies, science and language arts.

Learning how to draw means learning to see. A good art lesson teaches us not only to create but to look at, think about and understand our world through art.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Helpful printouts. Learning how to draw in one point perspective continued...

The vanishing point of a perspective drawing is often off the edge of the picture. Prior to instruction, almost all students try to fit the vanishing point into their picture. This can cause unwanted distortion.

Try this exercise:

Download the pictures above and print them out. Choose the printing option that allows you to print 4 photos to a single sheet of paper. For the purpose of this lesson, the photos will need to be small. 

Cut them out and glue the line drawing to the center of a very large (18x24) piece of paper. Keep the color photo as a reference. You will need it later.

Your job now is to find the vanishing point and the horizon line. The vanishing point is off of the edge of the picture but you can find it by gluing the photograph to a larger piece of paper and extending at least two lines on the buildings as they go down the street.

You are now ready to get a second piece of 18x24 paper and try drawing these houses yourself, using the two photographs as a reference.

Use a pencil and draw lightly. Keep everything the same size. This means that you will be drawing a very small street scene on a very large piece of paper.

Done yet? How did it turn out? Anything like the original? Are you ready for the next step?

Now you need to fill in the rest of your perspective picture. You already have the horizon line and some other perspective lines in place. You know where your vanishing point is.  It's time to draw the rest of your city. Please fill the entire page. Be as creative as possible and have fun!

Some helpful hints:

I strongly suggest you make (or purchase) a 90 degree right triangle to use when drawing in perspective.
To make a right triangle, just use a piece of sturdy shirt cardboard. The corner will already be 90 degrees. Measure the sides and make sure they are equal,  then connect them with a ruler before cutting.
 Voila! a 45, 45, 90 triangle. Or print out this triangle on heavy card stock:

When drawing a pointed roof in one point perspective, measure the  line at the bottom of the roof and find the middle of it. Draw a vertical line (perpendicular to the bottom of the page) straight up to find the apex of the roof.

All lines above eye level will appear to go down as they get farther away from you. All lines below  eye level will appear to get higher as they get farther away from you. The horizon line is exactly at the same level as the camera when I snapped the photograph.

If you run into trouble drawing anything in perspective try this trick: Imagine that you just bought the item and it is still in it's box. Draw the box the object came in, in perspective, with the lines going to the vanishing point, like this:

When you are done drawing the box place the object you are trying to draw inside, standing on the floor.

 I want to draw a street mime and his dog but I first have to imagine the box they came in.

 I pretend that the mime and his dog are standing inside, on the floor of the box. When I am done drawing the details I will erase the box. 

Please see my other posts on perspective drawing:

Perspective Drawing 101...Drawing a house and a hallway using one point perspective

Try doing the same excercise using your own photographs. Be creative and most of all, have fun!

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