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1 Point Perspective for Beginners

A Guide for Teachers

It’s no secret that perspective is a tough concept. From the guidelines to the forms to understanding it at all, perspective is really tough for a lot of artists, from new to seasoned. But when learning all things for the first time, you’ll want to start from the beginning. So here are Fei Lu’s step by step instructions for how to draw forms in one point perspective!

Not much of a reader? Don’t worry -- we have a short and sweet video all about 1 Point Perspective Drawing for Beginners on our YouTube channel!

Drawing a Cube in Perspective

Cubes are the most popular thing that artists start with when practicing 3D forms.

1. Start with a horizon line.

An image of a horizon line

The horizon line is what’s considered your “eye level,” or where the ground meets the sky, if you can see it. You can draw it as a straight line going right across your page horizontally.

Here’s a tip: Usually, our horizon lines aren’t directly in the middle of the page. Try drawing it a third of the way up or down the page and seeing how the forms will change!

2. Add your vanishing point.

An image of a horizon line with a vanishing point in the center

Your vanishing point is also called your “point of view.” This point is considered the “farthest” away from a viewer in a scene. In one point perspective, this point will always align with your horizon line. You can draw it as either a dot or a small vertical line.

Here’s a tip: Just like with your horizon line, drawing your vanishing point somewhere that isn’t the center can also add more interest to your piece!

3. Draw a square.

A square drawn above the previously drawn horizon line

Start by drawing a simple square either above or below your horizon line. This will be the first side of our cube!

4. Connect the corners of the square to the vanishing point.

The previous square's corners connected to lines that are connected to the previous vanishing point

Take each corner of your square and draw straight lines that connect to the vanishing point. Notice that the lines begin to come closer together as you go towards the vanishing point -- this is because everything recedes into your vanishing point! When something gets far enough away, it “vanishes!”

5. Add the other sides of your cube.

extra sides are drawn along the connected lines to create a cube

When drawing the other sides of the cube, they’ll remain parallel to the sides of your initial square. Make sure that your new sides are shorter than the original so that it has the illusion of going back in space!

Drawing a Letter in Perspective

Drawing a letter in one point perspective seems intimidating at first, but it’s really not that much different to drawing a cube! We’ll be drawing the letter J, but feel free to choose a different letter -- this technique works with all letters (we encourage students to try this with the letter of their first name)!

1. Start by drawing the letter.

the letter J is drawn underneath the horizon line

Just like when drawing the cube, we want to draw our letter as if it’s a “bubble letter” above or below the horizon line. This will be our first side!

2. Connect each corner back to the vanishing point.

The corners of the previously drawn J are connected to the vanishing point

Just like the cube, bringing each corner back to the vanishing point makes the letter appear as if it’s “disappearing” into the background.

3. Add the other sides of your letter.

Extra lines are added to make the J 3D

Now, adding the other straight sides are exactly the same as adding them on the cube, but if your letter has a curve, you generally just have to make your best guess. But just like the sides of the cube, your new sides should be smaller versions of the originals to create the illusion of the letter going back into space!

A star, cube, the letter J and cylinder in perspective

You can use these techniques to create many different forms! Try to experiment with different shapes to see which ones you can draw in perspective!

We have many different videos about perspective on our YouTube channel. Check them out if you’re looking for more tutorials like this one! If you’re a teacher, we have tons of resources that you can use for your classroom in our resources for teachers section on our website!

Teacher Resources:

If you’re a teacher that’s looking for classroom content centered around perspective drawing, visit this quick and easy resource!

If you’d like more worksheets related to the elements and principles of art, check out our teachers pay teachers page, where you can get worksheets and lesson plans for your classroom! More classroom resources like this one can be found on our art resources for teachers page, where we’ve covered all of the elements of art.

Any teacher now can facilitate world-class visual art lessons — even with no art experience! Get our art courses designed for classrooms, complete with step by step video lessons, assessment tools and handouts you can use every year.

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