Two-Point Perspective

The principal of two-point perspective is essentially the same as one-point perspective except there will be two vanishing points on the horizontal line as the name suggested. The vertical line remain vertical and parallel in the drawing. All the horizontal lines will appear to converge to two vanishing points on the horizontal line.

Depending on the location of the object in relation to the vanishing points, the pictorial outcome will be varies.

Two-point perspective is commonly use in a perspective drawing. Due to the its nature, two-point perspective helps reveal three-dimensional quality of an object very well such as depicting a three-dimensional ideas of a building. This type of perspective can be used to display three-dimensional quality of interior spaces or courtyard area in architectural design.

When constructing two-point perspective, and to get a better result, it is better to place one of the vanishing points further away from the object, normally somewhere that is not in the drawing area.

One – Point Perspective

Being able to draw a perspective drawing is one of most important skill for people who engage in drawing as part of everyday life. Particularly for observational sketching, a perspective drawing plays a significant role when one wants to convey the scene to represent depth in drawing. There are several types of perspective: one-point, two-point and three-point perspective, and each type of perspective is also divided into normal eye view, worm’s eye view, and aerial view. Constructing a freehand sketching perspective can be tricky particularly with a limited time window when you are doing outdoor sketching.

A normal eye view perspective is commonly used when doing observational sketch since it represents the actual human eye level that we normally perceive our surrounding environment. The examples below show a process of constructive a one-point perspective for rapid outdoor sketching.

Establish Horizontal line and the vanishing point
Establish the building proportion by using door fame as a starting point
Establish objects’ depth by using foreshortening lines that are drawn into the vanishing point
Giving scale to the building by giving more detail such as window and mullions
Adding scale figure will help giving a building scale in relation to a surrounding environment

If necessary adding trees may help make a perspective becomes more realistic
Finally adding shade and shadow will convey a better depth to the drawing
You can finish this type of drawing in 10-15 minutes.

Next time, I will talk about two-point perspective.

In situ sketching

Watercolor 5×8

Why is it important to learn and practice on site sketching? Students often ask this common question when I take them out for on-site sketching. In situ sketching is a process of re-creation of a space in which we situate ourselves within the building and its environment. Such activity spurs us to have immediate embodiment and interaction with the building, site and surrounding environment. While sketching, we engage ourselves with not only seeing, but we also interact with the building and its surrounding environment through its materials, volume, smell, texture, temperature, existence. With all of our senses activated through the act of sketching, the particular moment allows us to develop perception both consciously and unconsciously. The experience develops our perception by focusing in on the link between line, form, texture, proportion, space, light and value, color and material. Additionally, in situ sketching engages us through the physical act of drawing when representing our thoughts and perceptions on paper. An act of on-site sketching fosters the critical correlation between mind and hand as a process of design thinking. Yet, the action of sketching cultivates a development of muscular facilitation such that sketching becomes unconscious in the creative process. While sketching a building, we see and experience a three-dimensional quality via walking through an actual building. We begin to learn, and piece together these perceptions to form a holistic understanding that goes beyond sight-seeing.¹Understanding architecture through drawing demands a certain activity from the observer. First, one needs to look at overall shape and proportion of observed architecture, and then create a rough sketch of form and shape by simple lines. Later on, one elaborates light and textures. The observation and re-creation process is an intuitive but necessary experience in order to fully understand the thing seen. In Experiencing architecture, Steen Eiler Rasmussen described a group of boys playing soccer in front of the enormous church of S. Maria Maggiore in Rome in comparison to tourists who visited the church for sight-seeing:

“I do not claim that these Italian youngsters learned more about architecture than the tourist did. But quite unconsciously they experienced certain elements of architecture: the horizontal planes and the vertical wall above the slope. And they learned to play on these elements. As I sat in the shade watching them, I sensed the whole three-dimensional composition as never before.”³

¹Jenkins, E. (2013) Drawn to Design: Analyzing architecture through freehand drawing. Basel, Birkhauser: 46.

² Rasmussen, S. (1993). Experiencing Architecture. MIT press: 17-34.