Drawing boats is always a challenge. Those curved shapes are graceful and symmetrical and yet so difficult to put in perspective. How do you draw the right shape and make them look like they’re floating on the water at the same time? Whether it’s a giant tug tied up at dock, a sailboat heeling in a steady breeze, or a small dory pulled up on the beach, I have found a box to be the answer. What kind of a box you might ask? Well, a box big enough to encompass the boat. By putting the boat in an imaginary box, it’s easy to see how to keep the boat in perspective. This method requires being able to “see” the imaginary box, so it may not work for everyone, but it has really helped me. Let me show you what I mean. Let’s start with a boat on the beach:

Imagine it in a box. By noting the angle of the stern and the angle of the center line of the boat – from the stern to the bow -I can find the perpendicular lines to create my box. This drawing is a little light, but hopefully you get the idea:

Some aspects of boats are straight and parallel, like the seats on this boat. In a dingy the seats are often parallel to the stern. That means that all of the vector lines from the seats and the back of the box will go to the same vanishing point.

If a sailboat is leaning with the wind, draw the box at an angle:

The box concept also helps me draw cars. I find the box enables me to more clearly understand how something is made, what should be parallel and what should be symmetrical. It also gives me a framework to consider proportions from one item to another.

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