Working with straight lines is one thing, but how do you deal with round? Circles in perspective can boggle the mind. I find it helpful to put the circle in a square. This makes it so much easier to to see how the circle relates to the rules of perspective.
A good example for drawing round is a simple paper cup. If we hold the paper cup squarely in front of our eyes, with the round bottom of the cup perfectly centered within the opening, we know we are looking at a full circles. But the minute we tip the cup or move it up or down, the round opening starts to become elliptical. The more we move the circle away from us, the narrower the ellipse becomes. This is where seeing becomes critical. To draw a believable paper cup, pay attention to the exact size of the ellipse.
The simple stools in the art studio where I teach make a great subject. As the stools move away from my vantage point, the seats become not just smaller, but narrower ellipses too. The brain insists that those seats are round, but your eyes reveal the truth. Do you see what I see? I’m thinking some new words to the old Christmas song might remind us to check our ellipses.
Circles are everywhere – tires, flower pots, plates, traffic lights, tools, spools, and more. Learning to draw round objects accurately will enhance your work. One final tip: if you’re not sure whether or not your circle is correct, measure the proportions of the ellipse with your thumb and pencil point. So often the width is much less than we think it is. Just one more way to check what you see.