How important is it to learn linear perspective? Computers can calculate perspective angles and create a drawing for us, so what need is there to learn it traditionally?
To begin with, pencils and paper are not going away soon. The freedom and spontaneity of mark-making, the tactile quality of a writing surface and drawing instrument, and the immediacy and convenience of the human touch will forever remain seductive. The sensuality of the hand persists and will survive as a valuable aid to visual communication, as will the need to place your ideas accurately on paper.
Furthermore, knowledge is empowering. As a professional, understanding the foundations of drawing, how we process images, and how we interpret what we see are principal skills. This knowledge transfers directly to your drawings, giving them an air of confidence. If you understand the geometry of lines you have a powerful tool to create believable images.
You can avoid learning perspective—but only for a while. Those pesky drawing problems will continue to surface: the misguided lines, the trapezoidal buildings, the awkward ellipses, the floating figures, the shapes that, well, just look “off.” The problems seem endless.
You realize it is time to end your procrastination. It is time to learn perspective. This realization is typically accompanied by a heavy sigh, for learning perspective can be overwhelming. Take a deep breath. Give yourself time to let the material sink in. It takes practice. It also takes an abnormal amount of left-brain thinking; at least, more than most artists like to do. Approach the material one problem at a time, from the simple to the complex, step by step. Have a solid understanding of the basics before you progress to the advanced.
Depending on its proportion and scale, a cuboid can represent a building, a car, or a person. All objects can be reduced to simple geometric forms. You may wish to use colored pencils to color-code the procedures.There is no one correct procedure. There is, however, only one correct answer, one correct result—just different ways to achieve it.
After becoming well-versed in perspective theory, you will be able to find various solutions to any given problem. These solutions become evident when you understand the “whys” as well as the “hows.” I want this book to illustrate how to draw accurately, but also to explain why the procedures work the way they do. I have attempted to create a book for beginners and for the advanced. I want to tackle the difficult problems as well as the basic problems, to create (as much as possible) a complete perspective book. That being said, it is impossible to include solutions to every scenario. The purpose of this book is to give you the information needed to extrapolate from the given samples, and to find a resolution to specific problems not addressed here. Remember: with knowledge, there is nothing too difficult to draw.
Tools of the Trade
Here is a list of equipment you will find useful. Perspective drawing requires precise angles and dimensions. Having the proper tools and understanding how to use them is important to creating successful images. You will need:
- A drawing/drafting board. The type with metal edges designed to accommodate a T-square.
- A T-square. A T-square is designed to draw parallel horizontal lines.
- 45° and 30°/60° triangles. In addition to creating these angles, they are also used to draw vertical lines.
- A protractor. Useful to draw angles other than those drawn by the triangles.
- A ruler. One made out of transparent material is best.
- Color pencils. Perspective drawings can become complicated. Color coding your procedures is a helpful technique.
- A sharpener. Keeping a nice point on your pencils is important.
- Tracing paper. Working with overlays is another method to keep elements in your drawing organized.
- A compass. A beam compass is also useful for making circles and arcs that are too large for a standard compass.
- Drafting tape. Keep your paper securely fastened to your drawing board.
- An eraser. For that rare occasion when you make a mistake.