The basics of perspective are easy to grasp, and can be applied to create a more realistic sense of space within a drawing. Perspective basically deals with depth, and how objects, people, buildings etc. recede into distance from the viewer. One of the most clichéd examples frequently used to demonstrate the concept of perspective, is the railway line. The photograph below taken from the Empire State Building illustrates the same principle.
We shall be looking at one-point, two-point and three point perspective in this section, but not to be presumptuous I shall briefly go over the terminology, so that you are familiar with a few of the terms used below.
Horizon: Represents the eye level of the viewer.
Vanishing Point : A point on the horizon where lines converge.
One, Two and Three Point Perspective
One-point Perspective (aka parallel perspective) - one plane of interest is shown - only useful if you are looking directly at the front of an object. Vertical and horizontal lines remain parallel.
Two-point Perspective - Used in most perspective drawings for objects turned on their side. Vertical lines remain parallel to one another, horizontal lines recede towards a vanishing point.
Three-point Perspective - Used to show a viewpoint looking at objects from above, or below, for example to gain the bird’s eye perspective of superman as he flies over the skyscrapers to rescue a damsel in distress. Vertical and horizontal lines recede towards a vanishing point.
Experimenting by creating different shapes in one-point perspective
As objects recede further from the eye into the horizon, atmospheric conditions render them subject to a tonal perspective. The effect is most distinguishable in foggy conditions where objects in the foreground appear darker, and those in the background grow lighter and lighter until they are lost or almost lost within the atmospheric haze. The four photographs below demonstrate this condition; the top two were taken in the early morning, and bottom two in the evening - a low lying sun can contribute to the sense of atmosphere and depth.
The video below made with vine charcoal quickly demonstrates the effect of distance.