One Point Perspective

Perspective drawing is the representation of three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional plane showing accurate height, width and depth, and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point.

The illustration below shows the difference between orthogonal and transversal lines. Orthogonal lines are parallel to the ground plane and connect to a certain point, namely the Vanishing Point. The vanishing point is on the horizon line and in line with the person viewing the scene. The horizon line is at eye level.

Transversal lines are parallel to the picture plane and towards each other. Transversal lines connect orthogonal lines.


Perspective in drawings or paintings have the following common similarities:

- Objects appear smaller towards the horizon.

- Color values get cooler as distance increases. An example of this is the cool blue color of distant mountains.

- Depending on the light conditions, objects get lighter in value as it recedes towards the horizon.

- Objects also appear to have less contrast with softer edges as it recedes towards the horizon.

  1 point perspective  

  How to Draw a Cityscape using One Point Perspective

1. Draw a line representing the horizon. The position of the horizon will determine the vertical position of the viewer. If the horizon line is low...then the viewer is on ground level. If the horizon line is towards the top of the page...then the viewer is standing above the objects looking down at them. E.g If the viewer is standing on top of a mountain looking down at streets and buildings, the horizon line would be higher. The horizon would always be at eye level.

2. Determine the vanishing point(VP). The VP will be on the horizon line directly in line with the viewer.

3. Draw orthogonal lines to create the top and bottom lines of the buildings. Each orthogonal line will meet at the VP. See the diagrams on this page to illustrate the concept.

4. Draw transversal lines that connect to the orthogonal lines. Most of these lines will be parallel to the horizon. Others will be vertical lines.

  1 point perspective  

Notice how the street poles on the left side of the road gets smaller towards the VP. The distance between each pole also shortens. The same can be seen with the distance between each stripe on the road and also the distance between the buildings.

The illustration below shows a horizon line, vanishing point, and orthogonal lines that create each row for the lavender field. Move your mouse over the illustration to view the landscape painting.

The vanishing point is directly in line with the sun. The lines for each row of flowers(orthogonal lines) meet at the vanishing point where the sun is.



Move your mouse over the bottom image to see the orthogonal lines, vanishing point, and structure of the building.


Two Point Perspective

Two Point Perspective can be seen when there are two vanishing points on the horizon. An example would be if the viewer was standing on the corner of a street facing a building and being able to see two sides of the building. The corner of the building would be closest to the viewer.

In this case the orthogonal lines on the left side of the building would meet at vanishing point 1. The orthogonal lines on the right side would meet at vanishing point 2.


perspective tutorial


2 point perspective

Three Point Perspective

Three point perspective can be seen where the viewer looks upward at a tall building or downward at the same building.

When the person stands on ground level looking upwards, the building is narrower topside than the bottom. The same can be said for looking down upon the same building. This time the base of the building would be narrower than the top.

The first two vanishing points would be positioned on the left and right of the building somewhere on the horizon line. The third vanishing point would either be below the building or above the building, depending on where the person is standing.

If the person stands on ground level, then the third VP would be above the building. If the person looks down upon the building, the VP would be below the building.


3 point perspective


3 point perspective