Looking Up

For most drawings, basic two point perspective works just fine.  Occasionally, we might want to try a more dramatic angle.   Let’s use this classic New England church to demonstrate three point perspective.  From a distance one can draw it nicely using two point perspective.  The steeple is tall and, although it reduces in size with each level of ornamentation,  all of the vertical lines will remain parallel to the vertical edges of the paper – the standard for all two point perspective subjects on a horizon line.



Now, move in close to the building and look straight up at the steeple. You can see that the vertical lines get noticeably smaller as they move away from you, in fact if we were to extend them, they would meet somewhere in outer space.  This is the third vanishing point.


Because this vanishing point is so far away, it’s best to hold a pencil along the angles that you see, then recreate those angles on your paper.  Do you know where the horizon line is for this picture?   It’s off the page  below the scene.   It’s important to understand that when you look up or down at a sharp angle, the third vanishing point is not on the horizon line.  The horizontal lines depicted in your picture will, however stay on the horizon line. I know that’s a bit tricky to understand.  But trust me on this, once you see several good examples of it, it begins to make sense.



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