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Drawing Techniques

Bring Sketches to Life with Two-Point Perspective!

Emilie Apel
Jun 26, 2024
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Ever looked at a drawing and wondered how the artist made it look so real and full of depth? Well, this week, we will show you one awesome trick that can take your architectural drawings from FLAT to FAB!—using Two-Point Perspective!

This is based on art tutorials by phenomenal artists, Jazza in the Illustrator’s Guidebook and Mark Kistler in Learn to Draw in 21 Days course.

Whether you are sketching a bustling cityscape or a quaint alley, understanding this technique will elevate your art, giving it a realistic and professional appearance.

What’s Two-Point Perspective?

Imagine you’re looking down a road, and both sides of the road seem to merge way off in the distance. That’s the magic of two-point perspective! It’s a cool technique where lines seem to vanish into two points on the horizon, making everything look more three-dimensional and lifelike.—Super handy for drawing anything from big city buildings to cozy little alleys.

How to Draw Using Two-Point Perspective

  1. Start with the Basics: Begin by drawing a horizontal line across your paper. This is your horizon line, and it represents your eye level. Next, decide on two points on this line, far enough apart from each other – these are your vanishing points.
  1. Draw the Closest Vertical Line: This line represents the closest corner of the building or structure you are drawing. Place this line between the two vanishing points, and remember, the placement of this line can drastically change the look of your drawing.
  1. Set Up the Guide Lines: From the top and bottom of your vertical line, draw straight lines going to each vanishing point. These lines will guide you in creating the sides of your building. They should appear to recede and meet at the vanishing points.
  1. Sketch the Outline of Your Building: Decide the width and height of your building and mark a point along each perspective line where you want the building’s edges to be. Connect them back to the vertical line, and voila, you have a box-shaped building!
  1. Add Some Details: Now’s the fun part—add windows, doors, and other cool features. Keep in mind that all the horizontal lines should also head towards the vanishing points.
Jazza teaches drawing with perspective guides

Remember, feel free to add some elements from your imagination into the mix! Check out this lively example from our artist, Mark Kistler!

Drawing a castle with perspective
  1. Shade and Finish: Add some shading to bring out the light and texture, and think about where your light is coming from to get those shadows just right.
Mark Kistler draws a castle

Seeing It in Real Life

Before you dive into drawing, take a moment to look around your own city or street. Notice how the edges of buildings and streets seem to stretch towards the horizon? That’s two-point perspective in action!

If you’d like to learn more about creating your own environments with perspective, have a look at chapters 4-6 of the ‘Illustrator’s Guidebook: Perspective, Backgrounds, and Composition’.

Prefer to learn through video lessons? Check out lessons 13, 14, 17 & 18 of the course, ‘Learn to Draw in 21 Days’, where Mark Kistlers delves more into perspective drawing!

Sketch the World Around You

Ready to try it yourself? Your challenge is to go out into your environment and find a scene to sketch using two-point perspective. It could be a street view, a row of townhouses, or any structure that interests you. Play around with different views and buildings. It’s all about experimenting and having fun with your sketches

Share Your Art

We’d absolutely love to see what you come up with! Feel free to send your drawings to this email, or tag us on social media. We might even showcase your work in our next newsletter to inspire others.

With a little practice, you’ll get the hang of it and start seeing your sketches pop with life and dimension. Can’t wait to see the perspectives you choose!

Happy Sketching!

Emilie Apel
Emilie Apel

Emilie Apel is a French/American multidisciplinary artist based in the U.S. She travels frequently to Nepal and loves exploring the fusion between her meditation practice and art. Emile's favorite medium is watercolors.

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