Gaining perspective

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Jetty. Pen, soluble graphite, watercolour

Last week in art class we did an exercise on one point perspective. We were to practice  the rudiments of  eye-level-line / horizon line, and the point to which other lines travel. In short, perspective drawing. The word perspective may intimidate new sketchers. But perspective is really just a word which suggests that there are different ways of looking. And as artists, that is the most important thing we can learn.

smartcaptureIt doesn’t matter whether we are sketching a person, an object or a scene, we must look away from our page more than we make marks on it. And why is this necessary? – because we are looking, measuring with our gaze, taking in the shapes before us. A jetty provides a perfect chance to try one point perspective. Even though I’ve been drawing a long time, I realised I should have looked more before starting this sketch, as my angles could have been more acute.  Where you view an object from will affect the outcome of the sketch. Starting with the horizon line is helpful.  My vanishing point on the horizon line was slightly right of centre.

You may be tempted to use a ruler, but it’s better to sketch the guidelines freehand. The horizontal lines, for the planks on the jetty for example, will appear wider when closer to you, and narrower as they get further away. The perpendicular lines should be at right angles to the horizontal, tying in with the widths of each. I used a 0.5 pen to sketch as I didn’t want the lines too defined.  I added the colour later.

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Aquarelle pencil, pen and watercolour

Here is a less ‘drafted’ one-point sketch of mine. The horizon line is low, as I was seated in my car when I captured the image. Here, I focussed on the sky and sketched quickly. The way you draw is your choice. Sometimes you may which to focus in on detail, or use your arm freely to create more movement. With practice, drafting lines for any perspective will become second nature, because you will be looking more and seeing more before you start. Work quickly if you can. Jot a mark here, a mark there. Look up. Again. Another mark, a quick line. Look, look and look. Stand back from your work. Squint your eyes. This fudges the outlines and shows the tonal values better.

Enjoy your drawing.

2 thoughts on “Gaining perspective

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