I have always been interested in perspective, the magic of turning a flat object (the paper) into a three dimensional illusion, however I have never been interested in doing 2 point perspective paintings or drawing of city scenes or even landscapes, beautiful or not. In life class I remember feeling increasingly frustrated with the “straight on” view and often wanted to get a more “interesting’ angle. I struggled with making these drawings, not being good at accurate drawings, but got there in the end.


one point perspective


two point perspective


three point perspective


isometric perspective

I was quite pleased with the fourth and fifth drawings. The key to doing the flat image was to give the entire surface equal weight.


flat perspective

The fifth drawing was quite challenging, I had become very aware of the “rules” and it was hard to let go of them. In the end I imagined I was creating a stage set and drew it as I imagined it looking. I think it was a mixture of three point and isometric perspective but I deliberately kept the ruler well away from the drawing, using my usual wobbly line instead.kitchen1ai

I looked at my drawings but they didn’t really help me with the meaning of the visual space with the different use of perspective. In order to better understand that I had to look at a variety of other illustrators that I liked, namely children’s books, graphic novels and the Japanese artists Horishige and Hokusai.

It became clear to me that most that I liked used either one point or 3 point perspective, as compared to a conventional painting of a scene which seemed to use 2 point perspective. After I looked at a variety of images I came to the conclusion that 2 point depictions of scenes were visually interesting and contained a lot of information, had the depth illusion but were generally emotionally neutral.

Looking at one point perspective I noticed how often it is used in children’s books, even if was played around with. I came to the conclusion that one point perspective intrinsically feels comfortable, safe, secure. In graphic novels it is used as the default mode, to move the story along. Three point perspective is used to ramp up (literally) the drama.

Isometric perspective I found to be also emotionally neutral but information rich, so very handy for maps and info graphics, but also in story telling can be used to set the scene.

Flat imagery is back to neutral, with the pleasure of the pattern, holding more of a decorative function.


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