Learning how to draw one-point perspective drawings is the first step towards a 3D drawing. It combines the concepts of 2D and 3D to a point where someone cannot just show a single object or scene but a whole perspective. This can include a view of a market or a road that keeps narrowing down as the road keeps getting far. It can be a train’s path, a whole line stretched out, beginning from where the person is standing to the end of the sight.
It is an art of things becoming smaller at a distance to a point where they completely disappear. They look 3D and realistic. This art has been practiced in society for centuries and has led us to the modern art of 3D. If you are drawing something which is not narrow or you are not facing it directly, like a wall, then this art style is not appropriate.
A lot of artists switch to this style to bring more realistic looks to their work. If you are just getting started with this art, there are multiple things you have to keep in mind. While you can find online tutorials, there are some mistakes that almost all the rookie artists make. The things you need to avoid are:
01. Starting without understanding the one-point perspective
One-point perspective, as the name suggests, is the perspective of one single person. It is based on how a person would perceive something, and it is used to provide a meaning of something deep through painting.
It is a kind of linear perspective and has a single vanishing point. Paintings of cars in depth where there is no depth, a view of the sky in the night, or any other kind of drawing does not qualify as a one-point perspective drawing until there is no element of depth in it.
When you learn how to make a one-point perspective drawing, do some online research and try to find out what you are trying to achieve. Anything ranging from a long road with multiple cars to a single room drawn from a single wall showing the rest of the 3 walls and creating an illusion of depth.
It can be used to construct the hallways, create a more depictive image of what a building is supposed to look like, etc. You can connect the vanishing points together and continue the rest of the painting normally.
02. Not understanding one-point perspective drawing terms
One-point perspective drawing doesn’t work like regular drawings. You can just lay down the paper and start sketching or drawing on the paper casually, but when it comes to point perspective drawings, you need to familiarize yourself with the following terms:
Parallel lines are the lines that never touch. They go along on the same plane, from and to the same direction but never interact with each other or intersect with each other at any point.
The side to side level lines with the horizon is known as horizontal lines. These lines are parallel as well and will be parallel to your bottom and top edges of the paper.
Vertical lines are parallel lines as well. They are parallel to the right and left sides of your paper and intersect with the horizontal lines at all points.
As vertical and horizontal lines are parallel to the sides of the edges, slanted lines are not parallel but are drawn diagonally.
The Horizon line presents the eye level of the viewer. Most of the time, this line is completely imaginary, but if you are having some trouble working without it, you should draw it lightly to erase it afterward without any problem.
It is a point on the horizon line where all the lines meet and create a vanishing point. At this point, the vision of the painter disappears as that point is far away, and everything vanishes from that point forward.
This point doesn’t have to be in the middle of the paper and can be located anywhere you want it. It can be on the top, bottom, right, left, or at any other point in between these points.
Perspective lines are the lines that meet on the vanishing point. In real life, all these lines are parallel but to create an illusion of depth; they converge on the paper in the perspective drawing.
The plain 2D surface is called a plane. A paper has two planes; the normal cube has 6 planes, etc.
Forms, on the other hand, are three dimensional and have a volume and depth. The whole idea of perspective drawing is built around converging 2D and 3D.
03. Avoid starting off big when drawing a one-point perspective
Just looking at the pictures does not mean you have got the hang of the drawings. If you are looking to master the technique, dive into it but step by step.
Trying to create a whole painting in a single day will make you lose your self-esteem, and you will give up fast. Many people have this problem, and with one perspective drawings, you need to be as patient as you can.
You can start by drawing one perspective box. Almost everyone has tried these boxes in their childhood in the classrooms, and while some got the hang of it, others just kept failing over and over.
There are some easy steps you can follow to create a one perspective box.
Drawing a horizontal line:
The first step is as easy as it comes. You just need to draw a straight line on the paper, and that’s it. This line will represent the eye level of the painter.
Drawing a vanishing point:
We have already discussed that the vanishing point is drawn on the horizon line. As we have already drawn a horizon line on our plane, the next step is to pick out a vanishing point on it.
You can pick any point on the line, and the box will be built back towards it.
Drawing a square:
As we are drawing a box, the first step will be drawing a square on the paper. You can draw it below the line at any size but a little smaller than the horizon line that we had drawn earlier.
Keep the lines completely vertical and horizontal on the square.
Connecting the points:
As soon as you are done with the square, connect all the points on the vanishing point. Start connecting all the corners on that one point, and as soon as that is done, you will be able to automatically see a more 3D shape.
This is one of the wonders of the one perspective drawing that the drawing magically starts appearing more 3D and more realistic after a few strokes on the paper.
Creating a form:
When you have connected all the points together, you will get a better perspective of your drawings. You can now create a form by adding the lines between the points and creating the perfect perspective box.
Erase the lines:
When you are done creating the square, you can remove the lines connecting the vanishing point and the other points on the paper. You can then remove the horizon line as well and complete your drawing.
04. Not learning to make alphabets
When you have once mastered the technique of drawing a square or a cube with the one-point perspective technique, the next step is the alphabet. They give you a sense of the holes and other different points.
Skipping this point would again make you feel left out in several drawing activities. They are an essential part of the whole technique, and you will be using them at different points.
Drawing a 3D letter will open you up to new perspectives that will allow you to build better rooms, buildings, etc.
Here is how you can draw a simple 3D letter in a one-point perspective:
Drawing the alphabet and the vanishing point:
Whatever letter you are trying to write in 3D, just write it normally and create a horizon line. Pick out a point no; it’s just the way we did when we were trying to make a square and call that point the vanishing point.
Converging the lines in one-point perspective:
Take the lines from every corner of the alphabet, for instance, alphabet J, and drag it towards the vanishing point. With this 3D look, you can work on the alphabet easily.
Ending the letter:
Once you have drawn the lines on the vanishing point, you need to pick out the length that you want your letter to be. Look at the lines behind the letter and decide what point would be the best to end the lines and form a letter there.
Once you have decided the point, draw the same letter, in the case, the letter “J” and try to meet all the points on it. That would be the ending part of your drawing, and when you have formed the other “J” behind the original one, you can just delete it.
Remove the lines that seem unnecessary and only keep the points that make sense at that point. As we are going for a more 3D look, you can remove the lines which were joining the letters from the back.
Think of the front lines as they are creating a wall, and anything behind it is hidden.
You can try this technique on other alphabets as well, like A, F, etc.
05. Don’t draw inside details before drawing the overall shape
When a lot of people are done with the basics, as we have just discussed, they mostly move on the designing the interior of the building straight. It can be the interior of a room, a whole building, or just a drawer, which is shown from the perspective of an ant.
Drawing interior includes drawing the 3D walls from in between, and no one can get the hang of it until they have mastered the walls from outside.
It is much like drawing a giant cube when you are drawing a building, but it helps you in the process of learning. It is important that you learn the exterior before moving onto the interior, and moving directly to the interior can be a mistake.
You are not sure what a building is supposed to look like, and you will lack the skills to draw a normal wall.
Here is how you can draw the exterior of the building without any problem:
Draw a giant square:
It can be a giant or a normal-sized square on the paper. Draw the horizon line and sketch out a square where you fancy your building to be.
The square or the rectangle that you have drawn will be the basic front side of the building. Everything will be drawn behind it then while it serves the basic purpose.
This will be the closest the artist can be to the building, and that is the only look that they are receiving from where they are standing.
Completing the cube in one-point perspective:
Complete the cube then by using the normal technique that we had learned before. Remove the lines that are converging and only keep the ones required. Connect all the points to one another and form a perfect shape that has a front and aside.
Building a door:
We are trying to get our drawing better from a one-point perspective, and as we are drawing a building, it will need a door in the front of the building. To center things in a one-point perspective drawing, all you need to do is draw a cross on the front, and the point where the two lines meet will be the center of your square, rectangle, or any other shape.
Just make sure the cross drawn connects the different angles inside the shape. You can then draw the door in the middle of the shape and represent it with a single cube in 2D shape on it.
Remove the lines that you had drawn previously, and you will have a perfectly stable door for yourself.
Draw the walkway outside the door, and if you are not sure how, connect the walkway to the vanishing point once. You will be able to understand the alignment of the points better while you are doing that instead of just drawing one theoretically.
Drawing a door on the other plane:
While you have just drawn a door on the front plane, there is still a plane on the other side, which is giving the building a 3D look that it has right now. To draw a door on that side, you can follow the same steps again.
Draw an “X” on the plane connecting the points and draw a door in the center. You can then draw a walkway that leads directly to the entrance. Just two parallel lines on the footnotes of the door would serve the purpose fine.
Adding the windows:
Windows are the last part of our drawing. You can create the windows on the front plane easily. It is just going to be a 2D drawing, and adding the small squares in the same plane can be achieved easily.
For the other plane, notice the edge of the first window and start dragging the line over the other plane. You will be able to see that the lines will start closing in together and will give you a better perspective.
The top and the bottom of the lines will define the windows of your building, and you can then just draw them on it. Clean up the mess after it is done, and add in the colors that you want.
06. Avoid making the windows the same size
As you have now learned how to follow the steps of drawing a one perspective drawing and are familiar with the concept, we can get down to some more specific details and mistakes that the artists make.
Making all the windows the same size is a common rookie mistake and often leads to ruining the whole painting. When you are drawing on a 3D plane instead of the 2D, you need to take care of the windows.
The house or the building is narrowing down and is creating an illusion of depth, and while that is taking place, your windows need to get smaller as they keep moving farther away.
07. Avoid making the door is too large in one-point perspective
Doors on the houses are going to define your house. The bigger the door will be on the house, the smaller the house will look.
You can create perfectly sized doors by keeping in mind how many doors long is your house? Creating the door too small and not sizing the windows correctly according to it would be a bad impression as well.
You can start making the doors of the houses at a small distance.
08. Avoid ignoring the vanishing point in one-point perspective
The vanishing point is the most important point in your perspective drawings. Until or unless you don’t have a vanishing point, your drawings will make no sense and will be completely non-sense in every manner.
You need to define a point where all of your points will meet. All the objects in your drawing will need to be 3D, and the vanishing point will give it a better feeling of 3D. Not defining a single vanishing point and instead of creating everything as you like would make the whole painting disturbed. You will see objects in 3D but not on the same plane.
09. Avoid starting with the side walls when drawing one-point perspective
Many people make this mistake quite too often. While they are still learning or even when they have established some good skills with one-point perspective drawing, it still requires you to start from the front.
Whether you are working on the interior or the exterior, you need to start with the walls that you can directly look at. There will always be a wall that is straight in front of you from where you are starting, and that should be your focus point and your go-to wall in any drawing.
The vanishing point will make it easier for you to sketch out the remaining walls or lines instead of starting from a sidewall. This is especially important when you are working on the interior as the walls need a center to converge on.
10. The details
Every image needs more details to make more sense to the viewer. When working with the one-point perspective drawings, the details cannot be simple.
If it is a front plane of a building or a room, your accessories or the other details can be laid out normally, but if they are not in the center focus of anything, they will keep getting smaller as they keep moving forward.
If you are trying to show a car at the end of the road, and the car is too small in size to be even noticeable, you still need to make it properly, so it narrows down and ends at a point.
This is the basic need, and a single item out of place in these drawings can ruin everything.
11. Taking virtual help
It is okay to look up for some inspiration on the internet, and it is suggested that you do so. There are multiple drawings online, and you can learn a lot from them. Instead of just drawing the live sceneries, try drawing the normal drawings.
Mimicking them will give you a better sense of what you are trying to achieve with your painting and how good it looks. The live paintings will lack that advantage as you have nothing to compare the drawings to, and you will be stuck with the live view only.
You can move to the live view step by step, but until then, keep the tutorials online close to you and try to perfect the drawings of others.
Keeping in view the above-mentioned factors, it is clear that there are certain imperative points you need to keep in mind. Always make sure to take things slowly and follow each step with individual focus. Don’t rush things or directly go for the big picture. Focus on the minute points and details. It is mandatory to comprehend the one-point perspective. Never start off directly with the side walls. Always feel free to take guidance from the online tutorials by experts to grasp the nitty-gritty effectively.
Other topics to help you at drawing:
- Top 10 Tips to Drawing Backgrounds Like a Pro
- 10 Tips for Drawing People for Beginners
- 8 Tips to Create Simple Flower Drawings (For Beginners)
- The Ultimate List of Skills You Need to Begin Drawing
- 9+ Things to Avoid When Learning How to Draw a Car