One-point Perspective Drawing [version A]

Introduction & Pretest

Welcome

Welcome to our Perspective Drawing course!

In this learning unit, we are going to introduce to you basic concepts in perspective drawing, and teach you how to draw some simple objects in one-point perspective.

By drawing in perspectives, you will be able to accurately portray the 3D space on a 2D canvas. How cool is that!

To get ready for the lesson, you’ll need:

  • a pencil;
  • a ruler;
  • a piece of paper.

Get ready? Let's start!

Pretest

Here are some questions for you before you start learning. Don't worry if you find some questions difficult. Just do your best guessing. You'll learn about them in the rest of the course. 

Pretest Question 1

What does HL and VP stand for in perspective drawing?

  • Horizon Line; Visual Point
  • Horizon Line; Vanishing Point
  • Half Line; Visual Point
  • Half Line; Vanishing Point

Pretest Question 2

Look at the picture of a street scene of London. Answer the following questions.

What type of geometric shapes and forms could you see in the picture below? (E.g., bus: rectangular block)

Hint

Pretest Question 3

Which of the following statement(s) is(are) true in one-perspective drawing?

  • One-point perspective means that there is only one vanishing point (VP) in the drawing.
  • All lines that are parallel in three-dimensional world meet at the vanishing point (VP).
  • The HL is subjective in that its position changes when the artist’s position change. If the painter crouch down, that horizon line gets lower. If you were to climb a ladder, that horizon line moves up in the scene.
  • The objects look equal in size in a perspective drawing regardless of their distance from the painter.

Pretest Question 4

Which of the following pictures illustrate an one-point view, thus is appropriate for a one-point perspective drawing?

  • a
  • b
  • c
  • d
  • e
  • f
  • g
  • h

Pretest Question 5

When drawing a prism in one-point perspective, what is the step after connecting the corners of the front shape to the vanishing point?

  • Placing an Vanishing Point on the Horizon Line.
  • Draw a horizon line.
  • Clean up the perspective lines and other lines used in intermediate steps.
  • Lightly draw the back of the prism.

Drawing parallel lines in one-point perspective

Drawing in One-Point Perspective

One-point perspective drawing is the simplest form of perspective drawing. It is appropriate when the subject is viewed ‘front-on’ (such as when looking directly at the face of a cube or the wall of building) or when looking directly down something long, like a road or railway track.

Here are some examples of one-point perspective drawing:

One point perspective drawing of a room.

Because the room is viewed "front-on", it's appropriate to use an one-point perspective.

One point perspective drawing of a street scene.

Because the viewer is looking directly down the street, an one-point perspective is used.

One point perspective drawing of a little girl.

Because the viewer is looking straight at the girl, an one-point perspective is adopted.

Today, we're going to learn how to draw simple objects using one-point perspective drawing. So let's begin.

Quiz: When to use one-point perspective

Which of the following pictures illustrate an one-point view, thus is appropriate for a one-point perspective drawing?

  • a
  • b
  • c
  • d

Worked example: Drawing a road

Let’s start with drawing a road in one-point perspective. Assume that the road is perfectly straight and travels away from us, such as the one shown in the photo below.

Please grab your pencil and paper. Follow the steps in the worked example below to create the road in one-point perspective.

Step 1: Draw an Horizon Line (HL)

Step 1: Draw a Horizon Line (HL).

The HL could be placed anywhere, but for now, let’s place it somewhere near the middle of the paper, which is often the case.

What is a Horizon Line (HL)?

In perspective drawing, a Horizon Line (HL) is an imaginary line that runs across the paper that represents the height of the viewer’s eyes. Thus, it is also known as ‘eye level line’. The location of the HL decides what you can see of objects.

Look at the illustration below. If the HL is lower than the object you are viewing, you would see the bottom of the object; if the HL is higher than the object, you will see the top of the object; while if the HL level at the object, you will see neither the bottom nor the bottom surface.

Quiz: Horizon Line

Where is the Horizon Line in each pictures below? 

Click the lines shown in the pictures to indicate your answer (you need to choose one of the three lines for each of the three pictures before you submit your answer).

Step 2: Place a Vanishing Point (VP)

Step 2: Place a vanishing point (VP) on the HL.

It could be anywhere on the HL, but in most cases, it is placed somewhere near the middle of the HL.

What is a Vanishing Point?

A vanishing point (VP) is a point in a perspective drawing where the two-dimensional drawings of mutually parallel lines in three-dimensional space appear to converge. There must be at least one VP in a perspective drawing locating on the horizon line (HL).

The existence of the VP tells us, the farther an object is located, the smaller it looks. This is a very important rule you need to follow in your drawing.

Look at the picture of a road, the two edges of the road are no longer parallel. The farther the road goes; the narrower it appears to be. Finally, it becomes a point. That is the vanishing point.

In fact, one-point perspective drawing gets its name from the fact that there is only one vanishing point in the drawing. See the examples below.

An example of one-point perspective

In one-point perspective, lines that are parallel in 3-D world converge at a single point on a 2-D canvas.

An example of two-point perspective

In two-point perspective, different pairs of parallel lines in 3-D world converge at two different points on the 2-D canvas.

Quiz on Vanishing Point (1/2)

The drawing of the box shown below looks good but in fact, it's flawed.

[1] What is the main problem it has?

  • There are different types of lines in the drawing.
  • All lines are parallel, which means there is no VP.
  • The horizon line is not shown in the drawing.

Quiz on Vanishing Point (2/2)

The drawing of the box shown below looks good but in fact, it's flawed.

[2] How should you make it correct?

  • Make the dotted lines into solid lines.
  • Make lines that are located farther from the viewer shorter.
  • Make lines that are located farther from the viewer longer.
  • Make the Horizon Line visible in the drawing

Step 3: Draw one edge of the road

Step 3: Draw one edge of the road.

Draw a line connecting the VP and a point at the bottom half of the paper as one edge of the road.

Step 4: Draw the other edge of the road

Step 4: Draw the other edge of the road.

Draw another line connecting the VP and another point at the bottom of the paper as the other edge of the road.

Exercise 1: Drawing the interior of a room

Now, you learned how to draw parallel lines to represent roads in one-point perspective! Try to apply the method you just learned to create something more interesting with us.

In fact, parallel lines are also useful when drawing the basic structure of the interior of a room, such as the one below. 

Could you identify which lines are parallel in the 3-D world? (Just focus on the basic structure of the room for now, and don't worry about the furnitures in the room)

Click here to see the parallel lines in the picture

Yes, the yellow lines, which represent the top and bottom edges of the side walls are parallel to each other in reality. Observe how they are connected to the corners of the back wall.

Now, practice your skill by completing the following task:

Exercise 1: Finish the drawing of a room. The first few steps are given to you below.

Step 1: Draw a horizon line.

Step 2: Place a vanishing point on the HL.

Step 3: Draw a rectangle to represent the back wall of the room.

When you finish, go to the next page to check your answer.

Check your answer for Exercise 1

Compare your answer to the drawing below. Do they look the same?

Notice that there's no perspective line shown in the final drawing here. You need to erase it away when you finish drawing an object.

For a complete drawing, you also want to clean up your HL and VP. But given that one might want to add furnitures and other stuffs in the drawing. We consider the drawing as an incomplete one. As the HL and the VP remain the same for all the objects you draw in a single one-perspective drawing, we don't remove it for now.

How you did with your drawing? Look for the following checkpoints in your drawing:

  • Checkpoint 1: Extend lines you draw and they should meet at the VP.
  • Checkpoint 2: The lines you draw starts at the corners of the back wall (rectangle).

Parallel lines and True shapes in one-point perspective drawing

In the examples above, the parallel lines we draw recede right back from the viewer. How about parallel lines that are on the plane of the paper/canvas? 

Looking at the picture may help you get the answer.

As shown in the picture, in one point perspective, surfaces that face the viewer (thus parallel to the plane of the canvas) appears as their true shapes without any distortion. This is one of the golden rule you’ll be applying all the time when drawing in one-point perspective.

Quiz: Parallel lines and True shapes

Shapes that ____ appears as their true shapes in one-point perspective. Lines that ____ converge at the vanishing point.

  • fall on the plane of the canvas; fall on the plane of the canvas
  • fall on the plane of the canvas; travel away from the viewer
  • travel away from the viewer; fall on the plane of the canvas
  • travel away from the viewer; travel away from the viewer

Drawing boxes in one-point perspective

Worked example: Drawing a house

Now, you have had a taste of drawing parallel lines in one point perspective, let's turn to learn how to draw different kinds of forms.

As you've already have a road on your paper, let's add a house besides the road, so that you'll get a drawing of street scene in one-point perspective!

Get ready? Pick up your pencil and paper and follow the steps in the slides below to create your own house.

worked example- house

Go to the next page when you finished drawing with the worked example.

Exercise 2: Drawing a box above the HL

In the above example, the horizon line (HL) crosses the box we draw. The same procedures applied when drawing boxes located either above or below the HL. Now, follow the instruction below to complete the drawing of a box above the HL.

Exercise 2: Finish the drawing of a box located above the HL. The first few steps are given to you below.

Step 1: Draw a Horizon Line (HL)

Step 2: Place a Vanishing Point (VP) on the HL.

Step3: Draw the frontal view of the box (a rectangle) above the HL.

Step 4: Connect the corners of the rectangle to the VP

Step 5: Lightly draw the edges at the back of the form.

Some hints for next step

Imagine the solid surfaces of the box to decide which edge(s) at the back of the form is(are) visible

When you complete the drawing, go to the next page to check your answer.

Check your answer for Exercise 2

Check your answer: Compare your answer to the drawing below. Do they look the same?

Also, check if you're correct on following points:

(This picture is to help you check whether you get critical points correct, not how your drawing should look like.)

  • Checkpoint 1: My drawing looks the same as the answer.
  • Checkpoint 2: The blue edges converge at the VP
  • Checkpoint 3: The dark red edge should be parallel to the red edge. The dark green edge should be parallel to the light green edge.
  • Checkpoint 4: No perspective line is shown.

Exercise 3: Drawing a parcel box below the HL

Could you try to apply what you have learned so far to draw a parcel box? Complete the following task on the same drawing as Exercise 2.

(Note: you don't need to draw separate HL and VP for Exercise 3.)

Exercise 3: Draw a parcel box with tapes wrapping around it. The first few steps are given to you below.

Step 1: Draw a square as the frontal view of the parcel box.

Step 2: Draw a pair of horizontal parallel lines and a pair of vertical horizon lines as the tape.

Your final drawing should look like this one here:

When you complete the drawing, go to the next page to check your answer.

Check your answer for Exercise 3

Check if you get the following points correct:

(This picture is to help you check whether you get critical points correct, not how your drawing should look like.)

  • Checkpoint 1: The orange edges converge at the VP.
  • Checkpoint 2: Edges in green are vertical.
  • Checkpoint 3: Edges in blue are horizontal.
  • Checkpoint 4: No perspective line is shown in the drawing.

Drawing prisms in one-point perspective

Worked example: Drawing a roof for the house

Now, you have a box to represent the body of the house. Let's move onto drawing the roof for the house. 

The roof of a house can be simplified as a triangular prism lying on the body of the house. Follow steps in the worked example below to draw a triangular prism by yourself.

worked example- roof (new)

General steps of creating prisms in one-point perspective

Now, you have learned how to draw boxes and triangular prisms. Have you noticed that the steps for drawing them are similar?

In fact, the steps of drawing boxes and triangular prisms are generalizable to any prisms. Could you summarize the general steps of drawing prisms in one-perspective drawing? Try to put the following steps in order by dragging them. (Assume that you start with a blank canvas)

  • Draw a horizon line.
  • Place a vanishing point on the horizon line.
  • Draw the closest side of the prism.
  • Connect all the corners to the vanishing point.
  • End the form (lightly draw the rear edges parallel to the front edges -> imagine solid surfaces -> darken the rear edges that are visible to the viewer).
  • Darken the receding edges that are visible to the viewer.
  • Clean up the perspective lines.

Exercise 4: Drawing a hexagonal prism

Now, let's practice how to draw a prism in one-point perspective.

Exercise 4: Draw a hexagonal prisms in one-point perspective. The first few steps are given below.

Step 1: Draw the HL and place an VP on it.

Step 2: Draw the frontal view of the hexagonal prism (a hexagon) above the HL.

Step 3: Connect all the corners to the VP

Step4: Lightly draw the edges at the back of the prism.

Some hints for next step...

Imagine the solid surfaces of the prism.

When you complete the drawing, go to the next page to check your answer.

Check your answer for Exercise 4

Your drawing should look like this one:



Did you get the following points correct?

  • Checkpoint 1: My drawing looks the same as the answer.
  • Checkpoint 2: The orange edges converge at the VP.
  • Checkpoint 3: The dark blue edge is parallel to the light blue edge; the dark red edge is parallel to the red edge; the dark green edge is parallel to the light green edge.
  • Checkpoint 4: No perspective line is shown.

Exercise 5: Drawing a irregular prism (an L-shape prism)

Now, let's use what you have learned to draw something more interesting. Let's draw letters in three-dimensional 

Exercise 5: Draw an L-shape prism. The first few steps is given to you below.

Step1: Draw the horizon line; place a vanishing point on it.

Step 2: Draw the frontal view of the L-shape prism.

If you're not sure how your final drawing should look like, click to view.

When you finish, go to the next page to check your answer.

Check your answer for Exercise 5

Your drawing should look like the one below:

Did you get the following points correct?

(This picture is to help you check whether you get critical points correct, not how your drawing should look like.)

  • Checkpoint 1: My drawing look the same as the answer.
  • Checkpoint 2: The orange edges converge at the VP.
  • Checkpoint 3: the dark green edge is parallel to the light green edge; the dark blue edge is parallel to the light blue edge
  • Checkpoint 4: Draw a vertical line from point A and a horizontal line from point B. Denote the intersection of the two lines as C. C is on the perspective line. (This is to check if you end the form in a right way.)
  • Checkpoint 5: No perspective line is shown in the drawing.

Measuring within one point perspective

Pre-training: Finding middle point in a 2-D rectangle

Suppose that we want our doors to be in the middle of each side of the house. How should we find the middle point? First, let's consider the door on the frontal side.

The frontal side of the house in one-point perspective is no more than a rectangle. Recall how you would find the middle point of a 2-D rectangle. 

Click for the answer here:

worked example- middle point

Worked example: Drawing doors for the house

Next, let's draw another door for the right side of the house. Follow the steps below and draw the side door for the house you create:

worked example- doors

Exercise 6: Drawing windows for the house

Let's also add windows for the house. Remember to use the techniques you just learned from drawing doors. 

Exercise 6: Follow the steps below to draw the window on the front side. Then, draw another window on the right side of the house, that is (1) on the same level, and (2) of the same size, as the front window.

Step 1: Extend the edges of the front door (to get the width of the window).

Step 2: Draw a square above the front door as the front window.

Go to the next page to check your answer when you finish.

Check your answer for Exercise 6

Your answer should look like the one below:

Also check if you got the following points right:

(This picture is to help you check whether you get critical points correct, not how your drawing should look like.)

  • Checkpoint 1: My drawing looks like the answer.
  • Checkpoint 2: The orange edges converge at the VP.
  • Checkpoint 3: The side edge (dark blue edge) of the window should be parallel to the house (light blue edge).
  • Checkpoint 4: The windows and doors on the two sides are of the same height (see yellow lines).
  • Checkpoint 5: the orange edge is a little bit shorter than the red edge.
  • Checkpoint 6: No perspective line is shown on the picture.

Final assessment

Task 1

Which of the following statement(s) is(are) true in one-perspective drawing?

  • One-point perspective means that there is only one vanishing point (VP) in the drawing.
  • All lines that are parallel in three-dimensional world meet at the vanishing point (VP).
  • The HL is subjective in that its position changes when the artist’s position change. If the painter crouch down, that horizon line gets lower. If you were to climb a ladder, that horizon line moves up in the scene.
  • The objects look equal in size in a perspective drawing regardless of their distance from the painter.

Question 2

Which of the following pictures illustrate an one-point view, thus is appropriate for a one-point perspective drawing?

  • a
  • b
  • c
  • d
  • e
  • f
  • g
  • h

Question 3

When drawing a prism in one-point perspective, what is the step after connecting the corners of the front shape to the vanishing point?

  • Placing an Vanishing Point on the Horizon Line.
  • Draw a horizon line.
  • Clean up the perspective lines and other lines used in intermediate steps.
  • Lightly draw the back of the prism.

Drawing Task

Use what you have learned, create a one perspective drawing of a two-storey house. The house you draw should have:

(1) two floors, which should be of the same height;

(2) two doors on the lower level, one on the front and one on the side, located at the middle point of each side, of the same size;

(3) two windows on the upper level, one on the front and one on the side, located at the middle point of each side, of the same size;

(4) a roof, in form of a trapezoidal prism.

When you finish drawing, turn to the next page to check your answer.

Check your answer

Here's one sample answer for you. However, your answer doesn't need to be exactly the same as the one shown here.

Go to the checkpoints to see if you got the answer correct.

Checkpoints

  • Checkpoint 1: The HL is higher than the doors (purple).
  • Checkpoint 2: The VP is on the line of edges that recede back from the viewer (edges in orange).
  • Checkpoint 3: The edges in green are parallel to each other.
  • Checkpoint 4: The window and the door on the front side are on the middle line (see yellow lines).
  • Checkpoint 5: The window and the door on the right side are on the middle line (see pink lines).
  • Checkpoint 6: The windows and doors on the two sides are of the same height (see blue lines).
  • Checkpoint 7: The windows and doors on the two sides are approximately of the same width (the red edge should be a little bit shorter than the dark red edge).
  • Checkpoint 8: No perspective line is shown in the drawing.

Thanks for your participation!

Congratulations! You have completed the learning unit of One-point Perspective Drawing. 

Thanks for your participation in our learner test! We hope that you have enjoyed it.