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How to draw three point perspective

Updated on August 26, 2012

We have learned in one point perspective that all horizontal and vertical lines are straight, while in two point perspective only the vertical lines are straight. Well, in three point perspective you need to forget about straight lines, because all lines (vertical and horizontal) will converge to a vanishing point. You will also have to draw more orthogonal lines that before, even to make a simple object.

Three point perspective is when you are looking at an object from down below or from high above, like when you are at the bottom of a building looking up. When you are in that situation you'll notice how the walls of the building seem to get close together on the top.

Don't put too much pressure on pencil when drawing the imaginary lines
Don't put too much pressure on pencil when drawing the imaginary lines

Simple box

Start by drawing the usual horizon line and make two vanishing points on the line. This time you won't start by drawing the object lines but instead we'll make the orthogonal lines first.

Make two lines from the vanishing points that converge together below the horizon line. This will be the base of your object.

Now on the top of your draw make a third vanishing point. This will be where the vertical lines will converge.
Don't draw this point too close to the horizon line, or your object will look quite distorted.

Now, from the vertex that is left from the bottom orthogonal lines, draw a line reaching the top vanishing point. One edge of the object will follow this line.

On the bottom orthogonal lines, determine how wide your object will be and draw two lines reaching the top vanishing point.

For now it just looks like a pyramid, but it will soon change.

Remember that, for now, you are just drawing the imaginary lines. These will not be a part of your final object, but they are essential for now.

Finally, close your object by drawing an imaginary line from one of the bottom vanishing points until it crosses the front edge. This will determine the height of your object. From the vertex you just made, draw another line, this time reaching the other bottom vanishing point.

By this time you can recognize your three point perspective box.

To finish it, just erase your orthogonal lines.

Now you have drawn your simple box in three point perspective.

Notice how all lines eventually converge to a vanishing point.

Remember that the more you bring the vanishing points together, the more distortion you will have on your draw.

Try to make a building by this method.

Draw a tall box and adding orthogonal lines you can easily draw the windows and doors.

If you feel confident enough, try adding another building.

Some tips

  • Use a ruler if you can’t draw straight lines very well. With practice, you’ll start to use it fewer times.
  • If you are using pencils, use the harder ones (H) to make the imaginary lines, and the softer pencils (HB/B) for the object outlines.
  • Practice makes it better. Start from simple shapes and give them details.
  • Further objects look smaller than the closer ones. The same rule applies here in three point perspective, where the higher objects will look smaller also.

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