Perspective is a drawing technique that creates a realistic illusion of depth and distance in a two-dimensional art object such as paintings, drawings and architectural drawings. In perspective drawing distant objects look smaller and more blurred and closer object seem bigger and sharper.
Learning how to draw perspective is relevant for most drawing objects, especially landscape and street drawing, but also for drawing people and different objects. If you want to learn how to draw perspective, read about the different types of perspective drawing methods used by artists.
When we think about drawing perspective we usually refer to linear perspective – geometric (or mathematical) perspective, based on the fact that objects look smaller as it gets farther from the viewer. To draw this type of perspective artists usually create one (or more, in more complicated artworks) horizontal line at eye level. When drawing the sea, for example, the line will be represented by the horizon, the meeting point of the sky and the sea.
The vanishing point is an important term in perspective drawing. It refers to the point on the horizontal line where all the fading parallel lines meet.
In one-point perspective, the vanishing point is usually in the middle of the picture and it gathers all the horizontal and vertical lines. A famous example of a one-point perspective artwork is Leonardo De Vinci’s Last Supper, where all the parallel lines vanish on the head of Jesus.
Drawings can include 2–3 vanishing points, and multiple point perspective drawings are usually more realistic and complex. In a two-point perspective the vanishing point could be outside the picture surface.
A different perspective drawing technique creates an illusion of three-dimensional using color and drawing techniques such as shading and abstraction. In atmosphere perspective artworks the closest objects are drawn sharply and in details, using warm colors, while the farthest objects are drawn small, blurry, often unrecognized and with cool colors.