ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Finding Your Artists Eyes: Perspective

Updated on July 30, 2010


I have been drawing and painting since I was a child and so, naturally have become pretty good at it. Don’t get me wrong I don’t claim to be the best artist around because I feel there’s always something new to be learnt, but I am good enough that people often ask me how exactly I do it! Now these kind of questions always get me thinking, and when you’re self taught like me and your skills have just gradually developed over time it is quite difficult to actually explain the processes involved! Nowadays when I sit down to draw something, I just draw it! My mind has become so used to turning the physical angles of reality into the implied angles on paper, I just do it automatically! I suppose it’s the same as if someone asks you how to walk? Well you just somehow put one foot in front of the other and, walk! We don’t have to think about each step anymore because our brain works it out for us and just gets on with it.

After all this thought however I have thankfully found a way of explaining what I think is the most difficult part of drawing, which is understanding angles and perspective. It also spurred me on to write a complete e-book about learning to draw as a beginners guide! It can be a little tricky to grasp at first but luckily it’s not quite rocket science, so pretty soon (after a little practice of course) you should be able to automatically translate those angles and understand the illusion of perspective. So do read on, and hopefully I’ll be able to dispel any confusion you have and send you in the right direction!

The illusion of perspective
The illusion of perspective
Measuring the angles
Measuring the angles

Understanding the illusion of perspective is all about understanding how an object SEEMS to change size as it goes into the distance. If you look up at a tall building it seems much narrower at the top! A long bridge or a road can almost disappear into a speck! So how do you personally tell if something is small but close or large and far away? You probably do so through your natural perception of perspective! See I told you it wasn’t rocket science! The angles come into play as you learn how to apply that optical illusion onto paper, and the size of the angle depends on how far away the edge of the object is meant to be.

The number one problem with people who are learning to draw and struggling with perspectives, is that they’re still listening to the part of their brain that says, ‘that shouldn’t be an angle and should be the same size!’ You must learn to trust that all is not as it seems…no wonder some artists have been held in a kind of mystic reverence for centuries!

Take a cube (or just a square box if you’re short of cubes!) as an example. If you were to place it on a desk in front of you, with one of its faces level with yourself, you will see that its sides seem to go off at an angle to the desk even though they are still in perfect contact because the desk is also ruled by perspective. You know that all four sides are exactly the same size (it wouldn’t be a cube otherwise!) but the sides again SEEM smaller or narrower.

I still remember when perspectives finally clicked into place in my own head, I was only around 6 or 7 years old and getting frustrated because my picture of a house just didn’t look right! That shows you how particular I have always been about getting things right! My father, who was quite good at drawing though never practiced it as a hobby, sat down with me and got me to look at a box. I looked back and forth between the box and my picture, and finally realised that it looked wrong because I had drawn the sides of the house on the same ground level line as the front of the house! I discovered then that I had to ignore that logical part of my brain, because even though a house is still on the ground it does SEEM like its sides rise away at an angle due to the illusion of perspective. That day paved the way for me and my journey into the realm of 3D drawing.

If you are still struggling with the concept I would suggest that you sit down in the same way that I did and look at a box. Really look at it, for as long as you need to, and use your pencil held in the air in front of you to ‘measure’ the angles as this helps. Consider it the Zen enlightenment of the art world! With a good understanding of angles you will have gained a little more sight through your ‘artists eyes’.

If you are still struggling with the concept I would suggest that you sit down in the same way that I did and look at a box. Really look at it, for as long as you need to, and use your pencil held in the air in front of you to ‘measure’ the angles as this helps. Consider it the Zen enlightenment of the art world! With a good understanding of angles you will have gained a little more sight through your ‘artists eyes’.

There are other techniques for drawing accurate angles and lines, like the ‘2 point perspective’ technique used by graphic designers which uses guidelines to help you. While this is a handy to technique to learn at some point, I still think it better that people learn how to look for and ‘see’ the angles for themselves before using drawing aids. I do cover the technique in my fore mentioned e-book ‘Learn to Draw’ which is really a beginners step by step guide for learning to draw from scratch.

If you are new to the hobby, I would suggest you visit

Hopefully I have been of some use to you today, feel free to leave me any comments or questions about the topic!


2 point perspective of a cube
2 point perspective of a cube


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)