1. Perspective Rule #1: Converging Lines

OK, since this is basically an online tutorial, let’s start at the very beginning…

Key to all things in perspective is the #1 Rule: Lines that are parallel to each other appear to converge to the same vanishing point in the distance.

Think railroad track. We know the two rails are the same distance apart, so how weird is it that when we look at the tracks in the distance, we see the two rails appear to cross, or “converge”? We actually see this all the time but take little notice of it, and it’s THE most important concept in perspective sketching — it’s key to our perception of depth and space around us. Lines and edges that are in reality parallel to each other, appear to vanish, or converge to the same point in the distance– the Vanishing Point.

So how do we find that point in our view? It’s easy:

  1. Close one eye to flatten out your view. (We need both eyes to perceive depth, so seeing your view accurately is easier with one eye shut.) To help you, try taking a picture of your view with your phone, and look at it flattened out. You can even use the Mark Up feature to “draw” on the image as you analyze the view.
  2. Use your pencil or pen to extend the lines that are receding away from you, and find the point where these lines intersect. I often use edges where the wall hits the ceiling, or joint lines in paving or wood floors. TIP: When sketching outdoors, I generally use the lines of windows on a wall, moulding, or a roof edge, NOT the ground. If the ground slopes up or down even a little, it will throw off the location of your vanishing point!
  3. Once you’ve found the point where receding lines converge, mentally “pin it” to something in your view, sort of like playing Pin The Tail On The Donkey. That’s your Vanishing Point!
  4. Now you can use that point to draw other lines in your sketch, no matter where they are in your view. If lines are parallel to these, they will all go to this same vanishing point… like the edge of the front porch in the photo. Once you’ve located that point, it’s essential that you use it to build your sketch.
  5. One way to study this is to take a photo, print it out, and draw over your photo. You’ll easily see where the lines are converging to find your vanishing point!

Much more on how to use this point and what it means in the next posts! I hope you will follow along and encourage others to do the same! Thanks…

16 thoughts on “1. Perspective Rule #1: Converging Lines

    1. HI Cynthia, so wonderful to see you here!!! Yes, all this is so difficult…but I’m counting on Sevilla next year and really hope you can make it. Indeed, let’s hope the world will be a better place… xxS


  1. Hi Stephanie
    I have followed you on Instagram – bought your books and have been so inspired by your work.
    Thank you for sending out a workshop at this time … your generosity is such a kind gesture …
    So cool …
    Thank you so much
    Be well
    Cathy Webster


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