How do you make a perspective grid without getting confused?
Quick and dirty one point perspective:
just following the guidelines and keeping equal spacing on the bottom ^
Most digital art programs actually have perspective tools built into them. Photoshop, Sai2, MediBang, and Clip Studio all have tools that will automatically make perspective grids for you (for any kind of point perspective)
There are also TONS of resources on
linear perspective if you google it. It’s one of the most commonly used art methods. Give some of them a read for a better understanding. :) I know one through six. But I only ever use up to 4 most the time.
Just curious on how you approach composition and perspective. I feel as if sometimes I think too hard, not really about what to draw but how to draw it and make it look interesting. The comic panels you have been doing are amazing. Any tips/references on improving my knowledge of composition and perspective? What do you think about as you lay your pencil on the drawing paper? what goes through your mind?
*STANDARD DISCLAIMER* I’m not handing down life lessons or trying to assert that there’s a ‘correct way’ to draw. I’m just trying to make perspective more approachable for thems that want to tackle it.
Okay. Let’s do this.
1. Understand what perspective is and what it’s for. Stay away from rulers while you get comfortable.
Everyone struggles with perspective because 1. it’s not well or widely taught and 2. artists tend to see linear perspective as a set of rules rather than a set of tools.
Linear perspective is a TOOL we use to create and depict SPACE. That’s it. That’s all it is. Your goal is not to draw in ‘accurate linear perspective.’ Stay away from the ruler and precision for as long as you can. Your goal is to create the illusion of three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface. Perspective is just a tool to help you construct and correct that space.
2. Know in your bones that you can ONLY learn to draw in perspective through physical practice. There is no other way.
Grab some paper and draw with me. If you match me drawing for drawing you will be more fluent in linear perspective and spatial drawing by the end of this post. Unfortunately if you don’t, you won’t be.
3. Sketch around in rough perspective. NO RULERS.
So let’s make some simple space. let’s start with a two dimensional surface…
K. We have a flat, 2D surface. Let’s create some depth by putting a vanishing point in the middle, and having parallel lines converge towards it. Make a gridded plane inside that space.
Good. Let’s make that space meaningful by adding a dude and a road or something. (Again, parallel ‘depth lines’ will converge into the vanishing point along the horizon)
And now we have the rough illusion of some space. I didn’t use any rulers, and it’s not perfectly accurate, but we got our depth from that vanishing point right in the middle of the page. And since we have a little dude in there, we’ve got human scale, which allows us to gauge the size of the space we’ve created. Gives it meaning.
You need people or cars or some recognizable, human-scale THING in there as a frame of reference or your space won’t mean much to your viewer. Watch. We can make that same basic space a whole lot bigger like this:
Same vanishing point in the same place, completely different scale, and a totally different feeling of space. Cool, right?
3. Sketch around in rough perspective MORE. STAY LOOSE.
See what sort of spaces and feelings you can create with vanishing points and gridded planes on a post-it or something. Super small, super rough. Feel it out. Pick a vanishing point or lay out a grid in perspective, and MAKE SOME SPACE. Do it. Draw, I don’t know, a lady and her dog in a desert. I’ll do it, too.
Good job. LOOK AT YOU creating the illusion of space! This is how you’ll thumbnail and plan anything you want to draw in space. All of my drawings start this way. I think about how I want the viewer to feel and then play around with space and composition until I find something that works.
Once you have a sketch you like, and space that you feel, THEN you can take out the ruler and make it more accurate and convincing.
4. Draw environments from life.
I cannot stress this enough. Draw the world around you, try to draw the shapes and angles as you see them, and you will ‘get’ how and why perspective is used. Use something permanent so that you’ll move fast and commit. I usually use black prismacolor pencil.
You’ll learn or reinforce something with every drawing. I learned a lot about multiple vanishing points from this drawing:
Learned from the receding, winding space I tired to draw here:
Layered, interior spaces:
You get the idea.
Life drawing will also help you develop your own shorthand and language for depicting textures, materials, details, natural and architectural features, etc. Do it. Do it all the time. Go to pretty or interesting places just to draw them.
Take a second and just draw a quick sketch of whatever room you’re in.
5. Perspective in formal Illustration: apply what you’ve learned.
1. I always start with research. For this particular location I looked at Angkor Wat.
2. Once I had enough reference, I did a bunch of little thumbnail sketches with a very loose sense of space and picked the one I liked best.
3. Scanned the thumbnail and drew a little more clearly over it. Worked out the rough space before using formal perspective.
4. Reinforced the space with formal perspective. I dropped in pre-made vanishing points over my drawing. If I were drawing in real media here’s where I’d get out the ruler to sketch in some accurate space.
5. Drew the damn thing. Because I do my research, draw from life, and am comfortable drawing in perspective, I can wing it. I just sort of ‘build’ the ruins freehand in the space I’ve established, keeping it more or less accurate, experimenting and playing with details along the way. I erase a lot, too, both in PS and when drawing in pencil. Keeps it fun for me.
And that’s what I know about composition and perspective. If you want more formal instruction on perspective and it’s uses, you can use John Buscema’s How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way. Or If you want to get really intense about it, Andrew Loomis can help you.
Have you ever started drawing one-point perspective and then realized that even though you could draw the diagonals, you still had no idea where to place objects for relative size?
Welcome to my tutorial for drawing some very easy, flexible, and mathematically accurate perspective grids!
Here’s an example of the kind of thing I do with this.
So you’re just starting to draw your perspective grid on its own layer. You can change the transparency this way and draw things over it later. There’s the horizon line and the vanishing point in the middle.
But when you go in to draw your verticals and horiontals, what is this?? How do you break up the “hall” into even spacing? Just measuring equal sections won’t work.
Luckily there is a trick. Find the point that is ½ of the way to the center.
Then, imagining that point is the bottom of your page, find the halfway point to the center again. Keep repeating the process.
That’s right, each time it shrinks by ½. I call this the ½ perspective method, but if you guessed that it’s the Fibonacci sequence you’re absolutely right. I just didn’t want to say that in the title because the idea of math might scare off some people.
Anyway, use these points to place your verticals and horizontals.
Look at how even that is!
But!!! What if you want to space things a little more closely than that? Well guess what!! It works with literally any other fraction you can think of!
again simply measure the space between your last mark and the center.
What a finished grid in 1/3 perspective looks like!
And the kicker? You don’t even have to put the vanishing point in the center. You can put it anywhere else on the page and the same rules still apply!
See folks this is the sort of thing they should be teaching us in Drawing 1. But for some reason no??
Anyway, I recommend making a bunch of these in different spacings/angles/rotations whenever you’re bored and saving them so that you can just import them later when you need them.
waitwaitwait how does this perspective drawing stuff work
Okay, fair warning: I just picked up this thing like a few hours ago, my hands are rattling, my muses are excited and I’m so glad I went to Krenz aka cushart’s little seminar where he spoke extensively (in a language I haven’t practiced in a long time. aka not english) about the importance of “grounding” a character in order to make them realistic and believable.
The seminar was great because I actually… didn’t understand any of the perspective tutorial that I’ve read off the internet before this? The seminar was basically like a missing link for me, so I hope that I can share that in this long post.
So be prepared for long post!
Based on the seminar, he said the biggest issue with character posture and design he has seen many people do is that it’s based on assumptions and conjectures. Most of us absorb posture, dynamism and foreshortening by looking at other people’s works and imitating/recreating them (myself also being a big offender in this). Basically, he’s saying that there should be a structured approach for you to get into posing a character in your art /while/ allowing you to blend the character into a background seamlessly. He used a chunk of Mandarin jargon that I’m unfortunately unfamiliar with, nor am I familiar with the phrases in english, so take my phrasing with a word of salt:
1) Find/make/use a 16-square box.
Boring, I know.
2) Stretch it to your liking to determine the most important plane your character will be interacting with.
I used this plane because it’s an extreme example of how the grid can be used. Here’s an example of a sketch I did earlier with the 16-square grid being utilised as a normal 45 degree floor plan:
Anyway, back to my blank example, the angle of the 16-square will be mainly determined by your camera angle! The one I did is for a wall. The grid is mainly there to help you project the shapes of the object you want to draw! To help illustrate things, here’s an example of a L-shaped sofa or whatever leaning against the “wall” of perspective grid:
The lecturer basically said that it’s the easiest to draw the character/pose/object out in a side-view first, so that you can identify the position of each of the prominent points when you translate it into the 3D/grid plane. His explanation was borderline mathlike and was going into the area of geometry, which I’m not very good at. But basically, it’s about finding out how much “space” each part of your drawn object can take up, much like drawing geometrical shapes in maths class!
3) Draw a side-view of the pose you want.
Top left you can see I scribbled out the side-view of a horrible excuse of a pose. The most important things you have to find out is the angles and planes of note from the pose.Mr. Krenz mentioned equating the notable planes as an unfolded surfaces of a cardboard box; you can tilt at certain points, but it has identifiable angles, which is important for you to determine the angles of your torso, legs, etc and helps solidify your perspective angles when you draw em.
For the pose I drew, the points of note are: the head is leaned towards the “wall”, and the hand goes straight down; but notice how the back is curved and the butt is not close to the wall. This is important.
You’ll also notice that I drew a horrible excuse of a box projected out of the four squares in the 16-square grid. This is the important part! There’s actually some maths shenanigans as to the proportion of the box and how it relates to your anatomy, but I think the safest way to go is to assume a box projected out of 4 squares is equivalent to a torso. so that box = the size of one torso. that means everything from above the hip in the pose should fit into the box.
Remember how I harped on the position of the butt and hands and the angles? This one is for the next step:
4) Draw in basic spheres and shapes. Ignore anatomy for now.
If you see each part of the body as shapes (spheres, squares, rectangles), it’s easier to plot them out in relation to the angle of the perspective grid. Over here, you can see that the shapes are drawn in correspondence with the perspectives. I won’t cover much on this part, mostly because there’s already a hundred other perspective-box-shaped-how-to-translate-to-human tutorials out there that explains it a great deal better than I do. The vital point to take out of this part is that you must plot according to the position of each key point– the back curve, the hand angle, etc onto the geometric shapes when drawn. The box should help you out in this I hope.
5) Finally! Fleshing it out!
Yep. This is also where anatomy fixing happens, if you see the need.
Notice how the angle of the lad’s mantle, vambraces, shin guards, etc corresponds to the geometric shapes scribbled out earlier. This step becomes immensely easier with practice, but basically the gist is that the geometry lines help you determine the direction of the clothes and stuff you have to flesh out.
6) Not necessary, but put in shadows and shading to help solidify the scene.
I thinned out the scribbles here and dabbed on a dark color to immediately portray that the kid’s hiding in the shadow of some doorway. See, immediately there’s a background! And he does look like he’s sitting there and no immediate worries of how the anatomy or angles of things out of place, because the 16-square has already determined it for you beforehand.
I think the important part is that personally, this is easier for me to get into instead of looking purely at theories of horizon lines, vanishing points, etc because honestly, it is very difficult to see those if you’re drawing character-oriented pieces. While this technique is not foolproof and is actually more complicated (read: there’s actual math shenanigans in it that i didn’t get into), I think this is a good starting point for artists of any level to start training their eye to see in order to make characters better blend into the backgrounds.
I have so much difficulty drawing heads facing front. Even if I know the analogies and use lines as guides, they turn asymmetrical when I flip the image, or the feautures lean to one side more. Any tips?
1) Try flipping your drawings constantly instead of just after the face is completed. Every couple of lines flip it, fix it, and flip it again.
2) Try beginning with a skull, drawn in perspective with grid lines to keep it accurate, and work your way out from there.
I’ve learnt alot when painting the azir piece, but I’m still far from perfect with expressing realistic metal. The gifs up there could be self-explanatory for the more experienced artist, but if you want the full breakdown, more below.