Basics of Perspective


Hi, it's Nadia!

In this tutorial I'll write the basics of Perspective.

I'll use Clip Studio Paint rulers when drawing exaples of 1 point and 2 points perspective, and I've explained how to use those here if you need:


Everything around us in the real life like objects, houses, trees etc... is three-dimensional or 3D.
It is possible to represent the 3D in a 2D plane (like on a traditional paper or in digital canvas).

The 2D has two direction, X and Y.
For represent 3D, it has been added the Z direction:

But to know how and where to put this Z direction, it is necessary to have some references.
And they are:

- Horizon line
- Vanishing points

Horizon line

The horizon line is drawn on the canvas, but it can also be drawn out of the canvas.

In this way two world are created: the world above and the world below.

In the second example, since the horizon line is out of the canvas, all the drawing will be just in the above world

The "Horizon line" is also named "Eye Line" because is what the observer sees

1. The observer sees the object on the world below. When you draw below the horizon line (eye line), objects are seen from above.

2. The observer sees the object right in front of them.

3. The observer sees the object on the world above. When you draw above the horizon line (eye line), objects are seen from below.

(I've added a vanishing point to make the cube, I'll explain this later!)

2. If the cube is transparent, it shows the above and below, because the horizon line is in the middle

Vanishing points

It's 1 point perspective, when you have 1 vanishing point. I'ts 2 points perspective, when you have 2 vanishing points and so on.

1 and 2 vanishing points are always on the horizon line.

This is a 1 point perspective grid. From the point 1, draw radial lines.
It's not important the distance between them. Actually they are infinite, so you just draw what you need to see the grid ^^

Then, for the floor, use straight horizontal line (like the horizon line. If you do a diagonal horizon line, then also the lines for the floor need to be diagonal. I'll explain this later on "1 point perspective" section)

This is a 2 points perspective grid. From the point 1and 2, draw radial lines.
Now, here the horizontal lines have been substitute by the second point.
So you don't use horizontal lines for the floor, but you have to use the intersections between point 1 and point 2.

This is how floor and ceiling are with the grid.

For drawing the side, both in 1 point and 2 points perspective, use vertical lines.

If you draw all the lines can be a bit confusing, that's why I think that is better if you draw few lines or just the lines you need.
(When I use Clip Studio perspective rulers, I use only the floor grid!)

1 Point Perspective

(In the link I posted at the beginning of the tutorial, I say how I use the one-point perspective ruler, if you need it ^^)

I've created a ruler layer

Layer > Ruler/Frame > Create Perspective Ruler > Select 1 point perspective

And I've turned on the floor grid (when you click on the ruler with the object tool)

Tool Property > XZ plane

These are few examples on different way to move the perspective ruler.
As you can see, with just one point perspective, you can do lots of view!

In 4 you can see that the horizon line is diagonal. Doing so, you can create a tilted image, that usually is used for a dynamic scene like fighting or if you want to show speed etc...

Drawing a parallelepiped, square based (it seems that the base is a rectangle, but this is thanks to the perspective! I've done a square 5 x 5 following the guide) you can draw other square inside. And, as you can see, more you get close to the horizon line (eye line), more the square get squashed:

In fact, drawing right on the horizon line, the square its a line!

Using the selection ellipse tool, you can create ellipse with the perspective ruler:

1. Click on the selection tool and "ellipse"
2. Be sure "Snap to special ruler" is enabled
3. Do the selection on the square you've drawn
4. When you click, the selction will appear.
5. Now click the last icon "outline selection" and a window will appear: I've selected "draw on border" and line width "2 px" and click OK.
The ellipse has been created! ^^

With the selection tool, you can do multiple ellipses.
In "tool property" select the second icon on "Add to selection" and then draw the borded with "outline selection":

And if you draw two straight line, you have created a cylinder:

Now, you can think the human body as the same. Think the shapes as parellelepipeds and cylinders so you can do humans in perspective!

3D material are really helpful if you've just start drawing, because you can use them as references and for studying the human body as solids! ^^

Try drawing different solids in 3D. Then it will be easier to draw solids for the human body! ^^

To draw a face, first draw a sphere.
Place a pyramid more or less in the middle of the face for the nose (the distance does not matter, each face has different characteristics! ^^)
For the eyes there are two hollow spheres, and the lips two cylinders.
Once the basics have been drawn, the details can be drawn over the face (and you don't need to follow the base. When I sketch for practice, I draw more different things with the same base, by just adding details ^^)

Try to use the cube as reference for drawing the human face! Then you can try to draw all the body, but drawing a human body is easier in a 2 perspective point than with one.
I usually use 1 perspective point for drawing front, back and sides (normal, from above or below) and then 2 points perspective for 3/4 figure and similar ^^

2 Points Perspective

(In the link I posted at the beginning of the tutorial, I say how I use the two-point perspective ruler, if you need it ^^)

I've created a ruler layer

Layer > Ruler/Frame > Create Perspective Ruler > Select 2 points perspective

And I've turned on the floor grid (when you click on the ruler with the object tool)

Tool Property > XZ plane

When moving the two vanishing points, you can see that there are infinite possibility!
It's different by the 1 point perspective because it has not the horizontal lines, so the objects seems to have an angle going towards the camera (in 1 point perspective it's flat)

If the two vanishing points are too close, the drawing will be deformed:

A. The two vanishing points are out of the canvas and the drawing seems good;
B. The two vanishing points are again out of the canvas, but you can see that now it's a bit deformed;
C. Here the two vanishing points are in the canvas, and since I've drawn the box big, it seems deformed. But if I draw smaller, with the same vanishing points in the canvas, it will seems right:

This is because of the scale of the drawing. So it's not always necessary to position the vanishing points out of the canvas, it depends on what you are doing ^^

So after have done a bit a bit of practice on drawing parallelepipeds, you can think of it like containers.
I think it is easier to draw the figure if you have the "box" that contains it ^^

3 Points Perspective

(I've added this later, I've thought that now that you know how to do 1 and 2 points perspective, actually with three is quick and easy!! ^^)

(And also here, I remind you that if you want I've explained how I use the 3 vanishing point rulers in the link at the beginning of the tutorial ^^)

The 3 points perspective is the same as the 2 points perspective, but now has been added a third point.

There are no more vertical lines, the third point replaces it!

Point 1 and 2 can be moved as usual on the horizon line, but point 3 now can go everywhere!
But well, I suggest you to keep it as if it perpendicular to the horizon line, otherwise the "vertical lines" will be diagonal ^^

You can see from the example that the box is deformed because the third point it's too near. So just you just need to move it far away to make it better! ^^

The three-point perspective is also called "bird view" because with it you can make views from very high up.

When you want to draw something from below, you should put the 3 point above the horizon line.
When you want to draw something from above(bird view), you should put the 3 point below the horizon line.

For the 3 points perspective, I suggest you to use Clip Studio perspective ruler, because they are really useful since they can go a lot out of the canvas!

Here is the example with the third point above the horizon line:

And this is how I set the ruler with the 3 point below the horizon line:


Thanks for reading this far. I hope it was useful!
This tutorial is for perspective introduction only, but I will post other for drawing buildings, human in perspective and with more vanishing points ^^



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