A Guide for Teachers
As you work with perspective, you may think that as it increases from 1 point to 3 point perspective, it becomes more difficult. In reality, it’s not too much harder to learn 3 point perspective because it’s very similar to 2 point perspective. We see 3 point perspective in real life when we look up at a tall building or down from a tall building. 3 point perspective makes us feel like we are either very small and looking up at a tall building or that we are very high up, looking down on tiny people. To help you draw this, follow along with Fei Lu’s step-by-step instructions on how to draw 3 point perspective!
Not a reader? That’s okay! We have a quick and easy video on 3 Point Perspective for Beginners on our YouTube Channel!
Drawing a Rectangular Prism with 3 Point Perspective
A rectangular prism is an easy shape to draw while practicing 3 point perspective. It is the same shape as buildings, which is where we usually see 3 point perspective. The best way to draw the rectangular prism is to draw it as if it’s viewed from the corner, instead of head on.
1. Draw the horizon line
A horizon line is drawn across the page and marks the line of our eyesight. If we were standing within our drawings, it would be directly in front of us. It can be thought of as the line where the ground meets the sky. This line can be placed in the middle of the page, higher, or lower, depending on how you want the scene to look.
For 3 point perspective, where you place the horizon line will determine your point of view. If you draw the horizon line lower on the page, we will be ‘looking up’. If you draw the horizon line higher on the page, the perspective will be ‘looking down’.
2. Draw 3 vanishing points
Since this is 3 point perspective, there are three vanishing points. Two of the vanishing points are on the horizon line, while one is not. To keep it easy, consider placing the third vanishing point above the horizon line in the middle of the top of the page.
3. Draw the edge of the rectangular prism
3 Point perspective is most easily seen when we look at a building from its corner. This allows us to see the sides of the building vanish into space. You can achieve this by simply drawing a straight line as the edge of the rectangular prism.
4. Connect the top and bottom edge to the horizon line vanishing points
Use a straight edge to join each end of the corner vanishing point one and vanishing point two. Both of these vanishing points should be on the horizon line.
5. Draw the sides of the building
Unlike 1 and 2 point perspective where the sides of the shape go straight up, in 3 point perspective the sides lead to the third vanishing point. Use a straight edge and angle the sides towards the vanishing point that is above the horizon line.
6. Connect the bottom corners to opposite vanishing points
Since the shape is above the horizon line, we are able to see the bottom of it. You can draw this by attaching the bottom corners of the rectangular prism to its opposite vanishing point on the horizon (if the corner is on the right, you will connect it to the left vanishing point and vice versa).
7. Divide up the side of the rectangular prism to add windows
Start by separating the rectangle into equal parts. Each line will lead towards the third vanishing point above the horizon line.
8. Find the middle of the rectangle
You can find the middle of the rectangle by drawing an X that reaches from corner to corner. The spot where the X joins together is the middle of the rectangle. It will appear higher on the rectangle because of the perspective. Once the spot is identified, you can draw the middle line like this:
The middle line won’t be straight like the horizon line, but will line up with the left horizon vanishing point. Now that you know the middle of the rectangle, you can repeat this step and continue to find the middle of the new rectangles. So that you can create windows that are evenly spaced apart.
9. Draw the windows
Now that you have divided the large rectangle into smaller rectangles, you can outline which ones you want to turn into windows! Just like that - you have a building!
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.
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