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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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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Perspective Drawing 101...Drawing a house and a hallwayusingonepointperspective

What is one point perspective?


The lines of this road converge at a vanishing point on the horizon line. Objects that are near the viewer are at the bottom of the picture. Objects that are far away are near the horizon line. Objects will appear to get smaller and closer to the horizon line the farther away they go. The horizon line is exactly at the eye level of the photographer.

I took this picture as I walked to work this morning. If you were to take a ruler and extend the lines of the building stretching away towards the horizon, you would find that they actually do meet at a point. That point is where the horizon is. If you extend the line of the road stretching away from me you would find that it meets at the same exact point. The horizon isn't actually visible in this photo because the buildings are in the way. The sides of the buildings are vertical (perpendicular to the horizon line and the bottom of the page).

Print out this picture and draw directly on top of it. Extend the lines of the road and building stretching away from you until they meet at the vanishing point. Draw in the horizon line only after you have figured out where it is by extending the lines.

Renaissance artists and architects discovered the rules of perspective and used them in their drawings.

Here is a simple step by step tutorial for drawing a house in one point perspective. We will go on to try two point perspective in a later lesson.

First print out this picture of a house

Then follow these simple, step by step instructions:

I found the worksheet below, which illustrates how to create a different house,on Google images and do not know it's author. The directions are nearly identical to my own. 

Are you ready to draw a hallway?

Remember, the horizon line is at the same eye level as the photographer. For the purpose of this exercise, I would like you to make the people in the hallway the same height as the photographer. That means, no matter how far away or near they are, their eyes will always be at the level of the horizon line. They will appear to get shorter the farther away they go and their heads will appear smaller, but their heads will still be at the level of the horizon line, just like in the picture above.
Here is a simplified diagram of a hallway. I drew the lines going off into the distance first, to determine where to place the horizon. The horizon is placed exactly where these lines converge at the vanishing point. The horizon is lightly drawn in pencil and will be erased when the drawing is complete.

I drew a rectangle to show where the back of the hallway is. The corners of the rectangle touch the corners of the hallway. The sides of the rectangle are vertical and the bottom and top are horizontal. All the people in the picture would be the same height if they were standing next to each other. They appear to get smaller as they get farther away. Their heads are all at the same level as the horizon because they are the same height as the viewer.
The concept of one point linear perspective was first discovered in Florence, during the Renaissance, by Filippo Brunelleschi


The Renaissance
The first one point perspective paintings were created during the Renaissance. Art in those days often had a religious or moral theme:

To learn more about linear perspective, watch this wonderful video published by the National Gallery:

If the video above is unavailable, click on the links below to view the video, in seven parts, on the National Gallery Website:

Part 7

Compare the one point perspective in Masaccio's painting, 
The Holy Trinity, to the one point perspective scenes in this montage of Stanley Kubrick films:

Kubrick was the director of the ground breaking 1968 science fiction film, A Space Odyssey. While the film was famous for it's many special effects, the most spectacular special effect that Kubrick employed was one point perspective.

One point perspective was the newest most innovative 'special effect' available in Masaccio's time. It helped to bring the story behind his paintings to life. Viewers looking at The Holy Trinity in 1427 must have felt as if they could almost enter the world of the painting. Nothing like it had ever been seen before. Kubrick used the same technique to bring his own stories to life in the twentieth century.


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  2. excellent...can hardly wait for the next lesson

  3. excellent lesson...can hardly wait for the next one...as a beginner this is pretty helpful

  4. your lesson was really helpful!

  5. Perspective- how it works always confused me. And after reading your post and practicing, i have finally understood it.

  6. Perspective always confused me, but not after reading your blog post. Thanks!

  7. Very helpful lesson for all the person who wants to avoid their errors occur in drawing House Design.

  8. Thank you :) Very very helpful! loved the National gallery of art documentary. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Great article! Looking to help my 7th-8th grade art students with 1 point perspective; this will be a great help!

  10. Great site! I will use your site for my students.

  11. This was very helpful! Thank you!

  12. I like your blog it's really cool and nice thank you for sharing this great information about the Climb nice work.


  13. tooo good i love u r way of tutorial

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