Painting With Perspective

Persepctive will make your paintings realistic in terms of spatial relationships. This video lesson will give you some basics of applying perspective to your paintings.

Painting with Perspective

Abstract artists don’t usually have to worry about perspective, but if you want to paint real objects and have them appear realistic, perspective is something you’ll need to know about. Perspective is something that is sometimes bemoaned by new artists, as it’s a bit challenging to implement and requires practice and patience to get right.

But one thing it does do is make you look at scenes with a new, clearer eye. Instead of just looking at something and being able to copy it onto paper or canvas, you have to look harder and truly appreciate what your eyes are interpreting in front of you, and realize what objects actually look like depending on their distance.

Because we see things with our eyes in three dimensions, it’s sometimes challenging to copy what we see onto a two dimensional canvas. This is where perspective comes in. The biggest component of perspective is that objects appear smaller when they are more distant.

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If you’re standing on the end of the street looking down, a building near you appears taller than a building of the same physical height two blocks down. This is perspective. Toying with perspective creates all sorts of optical illusions that confuse the brain.

You’ve probably seen examples in a kid’s magazine, asking “Which line is bigger than the other?” with a drawing where one line seems clearly longer than the other. But upon observation with a ruler and a perusal of the answers page, you’ll realize the lines are actually the same size. This is perspective put to work.

Perspective isn’t something that comes naturally to artists. Historically, there have been many different methods used by artists for portraying three dimensions, this feature we see with our eyes only, on two dimensional paper.

There is evidence starting from the 5th century BC that artists were trying to create things in proper perspective, though they didn’t know quite how yet. Mathematical systems for creating proper perspective weren’t discovered until the Renaissance period.

Today, painting with perspective is easier than ever before because of the bounty of information about how to do it properly. Most perspective lessons begin with a lesson in one point perspective, where everything within eyesight seems to disappear into a single point in the distance.

The clearest example of this is railroad tracks. If you imagine yourself standing abreast some tracks, looking off into the distance where they’re disappearing, you should notice that the tracks don’t run horizontally in your vision, but resemble a triangle.

At the horizon line, the two parallel sides of the tracks converge into a single point. This point is called a vanishing point, and the line that the tracks follow to that point is the vanishing line.

Once you’ve mastered one point perspective, you can move onto two point perspective, three point perspective, and infinite point perspective. It’s something that will take a lot of practice to get right, so be ready to draw and erase more than you ever have before. But it’s definitely not impossible to master, and with time it will become very easy for you to get right.

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