7. How you sit (or stand) changes everything.

We’ve talked about starting your sketch by reducing what you see to big shapes, then drawing those shapes onto your paper. Now we’ll learn that this shape will change depending on how you sit (or stand) and view your subject!

Let’s review the concept of vanishing points, key to any perspective drawing. Remember Rule #1, lines that are parallel to each other in reality, appear to converge to a single point in the distance, and that point is at the height of your eye level, or on your Eye Level Line.

And this is the tip in the book:

Here is a simple example inside my house. I’ve chosen the opening of the door as my big shape, but notice how that big shape changes…

One-point Perspective (left) …………………………………………………. Two-point Perspective (right)

On the left: ONE-POINT PERSPECTIVE. I am sitting so that my body is looking straight ahead, my line of sight is perpendicular to the wall or door opening in front of me, like in the diagram on the left in the book. In this view, there are lines in only one direction that recede away from me (as seen in the hallway walls). All other lines appear as true horizontals (as seen at the top and bottom of the door frame). Sitting this way creates a true rectangle (also called an ELEVATION view in architecture-speak) that I can use as my big shape. Because there is only one vanishing point, this yields a one-point perspective view.

On the right: TWO-POINT PERSPECTIVE. I am sitting in the exact same spot, but now I’ve turned my body ever so slightly to the left. As soon as I do this, I no longer have a true rectangle as my big shape. In this view, there are lines receding away from me in two directions: what before were flat horizontal lines are now lines that are angling down or up to a point way off to the left — this is one vanishing point for all the lines that are parallel to each other. The other vanishing point is the same as before, directly in front of my at my eye level. Because I now have two sets of lines that are receding away from me to two different points, this is a two-point perspective view. Key to know is that BOTH vanishing points are on my Eye Level Line!

So the big lesson in this post is that how you sit or stand to face your subject is key to determining the shapes in your view, and how you sit also determines whether or not you will generate a one-point or a two-point perspective sketch! It’s as simple as that. Look carefully at my work and you’ll see that nearly all my sketches are simple one-point perspective views, as they are way easier to sketch! More on this as I develop a sketch of this exciting view inside my house for tomorrow’s post 🙂

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