Perspective Drawing for Beginners – an Easy Guide

Perspective drawing, a technique for representing three-dimensional objects on a flat surface, can seem challenging at first, especially in judging the size and distance of objects. To master this skill, visualizing 3D space is essential. Here are some streamlined tips and steps for beginners:


  1. Practice Regularly: Aim for at least 20 hours of practice for each type of perspective.
  2. Provide Visual Clues: Help viewers understand the spatial relationship between objects.
  3. Start Simple: Begin by drawing boulders of various sizes and positions on paper.

Steps for Perspective Drawing:

  1. Sketch basic shapes like squares.
  2. Establish a vanishing point and draw orthogonal lines (lines that converge at the vanishing point).
  3. Add additional orthogonal lines for depth.
  4. Trace or transfer the drawing for refinement.
  5. Begin shading, starting with light values, progressing to middle, and then dark values for depth and realism.

For further guidance, check out helpful tutorial videos on YouTube like “How to Draw Steps in 1-Point Perspective Easy” and “How to Draw a Room in 1-Point Perspective for Beginners.

These resources can provide visual demonstrations and step-by-step instructions.

What tools do I need?

You only really need two things to start learning how to draw perspective – a graphite pencil (or pen), an optional ruler, and some paper or canvas.

You can also use digital programs but for this guide, we’ll be sticking with traditional sketches using graphite pencils on basic paper which gives you maximum control over how much detail goes into each sketch.

It’s up to you if you want to go traditional or digital though because perspective drawing is much easier than you might think. For the purposes of learning perspective drawing, it doesn’t matter.

I’m going to show you perspective step by step and it’s as easy as pie! You will see that perspective isn’t difficult once we get started – I promise.

But before we start drawing, I need to explain a few more things.

What is perspective drawing in simple words?

Perspective is what gives a three-dimensional feeling to images such as drawings and paintings.

In art, it’s the representation of objects getting smaller and closer together as they recede from you; this effect can only happen because of perspective.

So when we use perspective in drawing or even painting, we are creating the illusion of depth and distance. It’s a simple trick on the eye that can make your art look very professional.

What are the 3 types of perspective?

The three types of perspective: Linear Perspective, Color Perspective, and Atmospheric Perspective. They are all used to create depth in a picture.

The more you study each type the better! Now let’s go learn what each is and how it looks.

Linear Perspective

The technique of creating the illusion of depth on a flat surface using straight lines.

The horizon line in a painting or drawing created with this method has all parallel lines (at right angles) converging to a single vanishing point above it.

Notice how as the lines get closer to the edge of the paper, they get further apart and any image (like the trees) also get larger as the lines fan out.

Linear Perspective example
This is Linear Perspective. It covers Horizon line, vanishing lines and a vanishing point.

Color Perspective

Color perspective is a psychological technique for expressing space using color and visual effects.

Using the visual and psychological features that these colors evoke in people, a spatial statement such as near and far can be produced by altering colors and contrasts.

For example, making the images in the background darker than those in the foreground gives the illusion of depth.

Color Perspective example
Color Perspective

Atmospheric perspective

You may have heard that objects in the distance appear less clearly and their color changes. This is an effect known as Atmospheric Perspective, which can be caused by several factors like foggy conditions or mountainous landscapes.

In atmospheric perspective, things that are closer are meant to appear more in focus and the further away objects are meant to be, the more blurry or out of focus they will appear.

Atmospheric perspective example
Atmospheric Perspective

What are the elements of perspective drawing?

Perspective drawings are made up of three important elements: The horizon line, vanishing points, and vanishing lines that disappear into the distance.

Human perception can be understood through these basic pillars to create a realistic image with depth.

Horizon Line

In a perspective drawing, the horizon line is a horizontal line drawn across the picture, usually across the middle of the page, most times in the upper third half or lower third half. The horizon line might be a temporary pencil line that becomes a permanent line where sky and ground meet.

Vanishing Points

Vanishing points are points on the horizon line in an image where two parallel lines merge to give the illusion of depth.

Vanishing Lines

Vanishing lines are the actual parallel lines that connect the image to the vanishing point. They go hand in hand with vanishing points.

Now all of these work together to allow you to make perspective drawings that are either 1 point perspective, 2 point perspective, or more.

For beginners, we will stick with 1 point perspective and 2 point perspective.

Elements of Perspective showing Horizon Line, Vanishing Point and Vanishing Lines
Elements of Perspective showing Horizon Line, Vanishing Point and Vanishing Lines

1-Point Perspective (Frontal View)

1 Point Perspective also known as Frontal View is a drawing method that shows how an image will appear to get smaller as it gets further away, converging towards a single vanishing point.

Examples of 1 Point Perspective

When should we use 1 Point Perspective?

The 1 point perspective view is a great choice for depicting public spaces: bars, cafes and restaurants and the interiors of rooms where the two side walls are joined by a back wall.

It can also be used when drawing any object from the front or rear such as a car.

It lets you represent your idea on paper by showing the maximum amount of space in any one dimension while not neglecting other important details like lighting or textures with these two representations.

While I have a nice video below that shows 1 point perspective in detail, I also want to show you this cool trick I came across on Instagram that involves using a thumb tac and a piece of string to help you get the 1 point perspective worked out easily.

image 226

2-Point Perspective (Oblique View) / Two-point perspective

2 Point Perspective is also known as an oblique view. It is a view of an item that displays its elevation, plan, or section on which parallel lines projected from the corners using 2 vanishing points instead of just the one, hence the 2 points in the name.

Examples of 2 Point Perspective

When should we use 2 Point Perspective?

The 2 point perspective view is a great choice for depicting the inside of a room where you have two walls are joined at the same point without a read wall, and both side walls are opened up to show anything that needs to appear on either side. The same perspective points can be used to add windows, bricks, tables etc.

What is Foreshortening in perspective?

In perspective, foreshortening is the illusion that makes one side of an object or shape appear shorter than it actually is because one side of it is closer to the viewer while other side looks like it is further away. 

Here are a few foreshortening examples.

Extreme Foreshortening
Lamentation of Christ (1480) by Andrea Mantegna; Andrea MantegnaCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Foreshortening Examples 2
A detail of Corregio’s Assumption of the Virgin (1526-30); Antonio da Correggio, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

How to draw in perspective

Learning how to draw in perspective is easy but requires practice. As long as you follow these simple steps you can repeat them over and over for any type of image.

As this guide is all about perspective drawing for beginners, I have found a video that explains how to draw in perspective in an easy to understand format.

drawing objects in perspective video

The benefits of learning how to do a basic perspective drawing

Drawing with perspective will help you understand the big picture of your work and how it all comes together.

Perspective drawings are much easier for beginners than many people think since they’re about seeing things from one point in space instead of drawing specific objects or figures clearly defined against a flat surface.

Perspective is an important skill to have under your belt if only because there are so many different modes/angles at which artists can draw – but learning this basic technique as soon as possible makes doing complicated stuff within said spaces easy!

There are many benefits to learning perspective drawing and what they mean. If you do this, it will help your drawings stand out from the pack.

You can use perspective in any type of art such as pencil or charcoal drawings, watercolor paintings, and sketches.

What is mixed perspective in art?

Mixed perspective in art is when the artist combines or mixes the various perspective types in the one artwork.

For example they may mix 1 point perspective with 2 point perspective. This can be done but should not be overused without experience as you can start to make your drawing look distorted.

Perspective Drawing for Beginners – Wrap up!

I really hope you learned a lot from this perspective drawing for beginners guide. Perspective drawing helps artists show depth and distance. Drawing specific objects or figures clearly defined against a flat surface is perspective drawing for beginners.

With practice, you will be able to turn your drawings or paintings into basic 2 dimensional flat images into something realistic that gives the illusion of depth, space, distance, and the like.

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