# How to Draw - Basic Linear Perspective

In this first installment of my ongoing series of "How to Draw" Instructables, I will show you how to create real-looking three dimensional shapes.

Linear Perspective is the most basic form of perspective in which all objects with faces parallel to the horizon, appear to converge in the distance at a single point on the horizon (the vanishing point).

To learn what on Earth this possibly means, grab yourself:

- a few sheets of 18" x 24" paper
- a pencil
- a straight metal ruler
- a white mars plastic eraser

and dare follow me to the next step.
Remove these ads by Signing Up

## Step 1: Vanishing horizons.

If you were to stand on a plane and look out into the distance, the imaginary line that demarcates between the Earth and the sky is considered the horizon. For argument's sake, the horizon is a straight line (even though in actual space it is slightly curved).

Now, if you were to stare straight ahead at the horizon, the point on the horizon directly in front of you would be considered the vanishing point. It's called the vanishing point since all objects seem to vanish towards it as they go back into the distance.

## Step 2: A single point. A single perspective.

One-point perspective is marked by the fact that all objects seem to converge towards one solitary point on the horizon. In order for all objects to converge at a single point, their closest face has to appear to be parallel to horizon.

In other words, if there was a cube between you and the horizon, the face of the cube closest to you would have two horizontal lines parallel to the horizon. In fact, everything viewed in this perspective must have horizontal lines parallel to the horizon.

If horizontal lines are no longer parallel, you have just gained a whole new perspective (but lets not worry about that for now).
 1-40 of 54 Next »
Parabola9494 years ago
Very nice tutorial. I've always been big on perspective, so for an example to others, here's a very small idea of what can be done. The city was from back in middle school, never finished it. The cubicle maze.. Well, that came out when I got into abstracts. I still have it hanging on my wall (made it when I was... 17?) But seriously- good tutorial for anyone wanting to learn this kind of stuff. Sorry- this thing won't let me make the images any larger... so they are kind of hard to see.
3 years ago
hi i really would like to learn how to draw perspective drawing of 2d drawing. For example u have been told to convert a 2d birds eye view of buildings into a front view perspective drawing. How would you do that?
4 years ago
That first drawing is amazing.... Made me think of Inception. Well Done!
mona.kh.777362 months ago

Hi, I have a micro teaching assessment in two weeks. I have picked one point perspective subject to teach in 15 mins, but for practical task bit not sure what I can ask students to do in 10 mins. Can you help me in this? A simple, quick practice for one point perspective! Many thanks

vincent75209 months ago

Thanks for sharing your talent !

I'de love to enter each morning in an elevator car as well decorated as the one you show on step 1 !… ;)))

Ace Frahm3 years ago
Where can I find "How to draw - Advanced Linear Perspective"?
vishalapr3 years ago
I just finished typing up my instructable on perspective drawings on word and then I see this!Now Im wondering wether I should make an instructable or not??
randofo (author)  vishalapr3 years ago
You should totally put up your own. The more the merrier.

I've been wanting to do some more drawing instructables, but never enough time... so much to do... so little time.
3 years ago
I know!I might!But this is so much better explained!
vishalapr3 years ago
Well explained instructable!
I sooo think that there should be a drawing and an origami contest on instructables.com!!!
d1ndian3 years ago
hi i really would like to learn how to draw perspective drawing of 2d drawing. For example u have been told to convert a 2d birds eye view of buildings into a front view perspective drawing. How would you do that?
3 years ago
Not completely sure if that question was for me or Author (randofo), but could you be a little more specific? Not sure what exactly you mean, but I'd like to try to help.
jerryjcepic3 years ago
love this, would like to learn more on perspective to draw urban landscapes.

how do you go about drawing items to scale and proportionate to where they are on the horizon, are there measurement techniques?
mrfluffy3 years ago
doing epic perspective drawings when i was thirteen too (even though im now 14) *fist bump*
bertus52x114 years ago
Did you ever make the "How to draw - Advanced Linear Perspective" ? Since your I'ble was so clear, I was eager to see the rest...
beehard444 years ago
ooh, i remember my grade 5 art class
POLARISGREATBEAR4 years ago
Like most artists, I formally learned to create perspective drawings while in high school. However, I soon found that when drawing products for use in catalogs, a certain amount of “fudging” had to be done. As your drawing recedes back into space, distortion occurs that really messes with the drawings viewability. Back in my studio days, some of the illustrators used a gadget called a rabbit ears. It looked like a goofy type of T-square that was articulated in a way that would allow the artist to utilize vanishing points that would almost have been impossible otherwise. A little digging on the internet should result in an explanation of the construction and use of this handy little gadget. Also, I found that if a drawing “looks right”, it usually is good enough. I’ve personally drawn thousands of product illustrations in perspective, both conventionally and on computer. I have to say this; as a pro, you have to learn to know when to say when, as far as accuracy is concerned. Most clients never know how much effort goes into a piece of art (heck, their clients), but they do know what they want to spend. Usually, there is a wide gulf between the two.
Clayton H.4 years ago
Reminds me of this...
4 years ago
Less than three, less than three.
4 years ago
Less than three what?
4 years ago
<3
4 years ago
LOL Never heard or "saw" that one put quite like that. I do know a teenager who will get a kick out of less than three! Thanks for the reply.
4 years ago
I love XKCD!!!
When I learned this in High School Art Class I made many drawings utilizing this technique. I loved how the pictures turned out and was tickled to find I actually had some talent for art. Years later I tried to draw a covered bridge using this technique, it turned out fairly well but was missing the depth I wanted to convey, your ible has shown me what I was missing. Thank you and awesome job!!
Mudbud4 years ago
Aparently it didnt go well then eh? great ible' though..
rookie15 years ago
Really good instructable! Very easy to understand. It is the one thing I have trouble with. Very good
cd415 years ago
5 years ago
A lot (and i really mean a lot) of artist use perspective in their drawings/paintings.
Sonico5 years ago
Im off to university end of this year, and have never done perspective drawing before. My course will involve alot of it, and i would just like to say. Your tutorial has been a great help, you've giving me the basics to survive... :) Thankyou very much (:
wenpherd6 years ago
do you use printing paper
iq_abyss6 years ago
It has been 410 days since you posted this ible, whet is "How to Draw- Advanced Linear Perspective" going to be published? My art class is working with perspective now, and I'm really into it! Thank you for this ible though.
randofo (author)  iq_abyss6 years ago
Yes, I have to post the follow up. And I want to do a series on two and three point perspective. I'll get back to that in a few weeks once I get some time.
hilmc6 years ago
I teach drawing--currently at Marshall University--and I'm always looking for new tools for teaching linear perspective that make it more fun and less intimidating. I stumbled on this while searching around. This is a great little tutorial, but there is a problem with the text in step 2. You have used the word "perpendicular" when you should have used "parallel." The horizontal edges of the buildings that face the viewer are PARALLEL to the horizon line, and the facing planes of those buildings are PARALLEL to the picture plane. In the situation shown, any plane or edge that is not parallel to the picture plane (the invisible window that the viewer looks through) is seen in a foreshortened view and will appear in a drawing as a diagonal or a vertical.
randofo (author)  hilmc6 years ago
eek! Thanks. fixed.
royalestel7 years ago
I approve! Great jorb!
7 years ago
you did a great jorb out there homestar!
6 years ago
lol good jorb!