Drawing various forms in perspective based on a GOTHIC CATHEDRAL | Elwira Pawlikowska | Skillshare

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Drawing various forms in perspective based on a GOTHIC CATHEDRAL

teacher avatar Elwira Pawlikowska, Illustrator / Designer at Grim Dream

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (24m)
    • 1. 0 INTRO

    • 2. 1 ELEVATION



    • 5. 4 FRONT PART 1

    • 6. 5 FRONT PART 2

    • 7. 6 FRONT PART 3

    • 8. 7 SIDE

    • 9. 8 MATERIALS

    • 10. 9 SUMMARY

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About This Class

Hello everyone! I’m happy that you’re here!

I’m an architect, illustrator and concept designer with a special fondness for gothic style. 

Make yourself comfortable and take a look at a process of drawing a gothic cathedral.  

The topic itself is quite extensive, so we will focus  on its most iconic aspect: the frontal part shown in a perspective view. 


This course is not only about gothic style. As perspective is a crucial tool in drawing architectural objects, I’ll put emphasis on that. 


You’ll be guided how to draw a cathedral’s front step by step, from general simple solids, to fancy details.  

By enrolling to this class you’ll also gain an access to a file where I gathered quick explanations on drawing various geometrical elements in perspective. 

  • how to draw various shapes and solids in perspective,  
  • how to multiply and divide shapes in perspective 
  • how to find their middle points.  

It’s actually more useful that it sounds! 

If you’re fairly new to drawing buildings, you may want to watch this course first:

Drawing Houses Step by Step based on a Very Nice Example of a Wooden Cottage



A wooden hut is a good architectural subject to begin with but don’t be intimidated by cathedrals!  

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Elwira Pawlikowska

Illustrator / Designer at Grim Dream


Hi there! I'm Elwira - an illustrator and concept designer based in Stockholm. After getting master's degree in Architecture I started GRIM DREAM - a brand focused on hand-drawn illustrations in an old school, vintage style. I cooperate with game companies, book publishers, and musicians.

I find my inspirations in works of Old Masters, fantasy books, heavy, melodic music and long walks in the woods. My favorite themes are related to steampunk, middle ages, and architecture in general.

In 2017 I got silver "A' Design Award" for concept designs of Rampage System.

Here, on Skillshare, I'm sharing my knowledge and experience I gained during my university studies and my professional career related to designing and drawing architectural objects.

Feel free t... See full profile

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1. 0 INTRO: Hi, I'm EBITDA and illustrator and graphic designer. And the Gothic cathedrals are actually my favorite architecture or subject, or the topic itself is quite extensive, so we will focus on its most iconic aspects. The proton part, shown in a perspective view. This course is not only about Gothic style, it's mostly about perspective drawing, which is not that difficult. If you know the right tricks. Showing gothic cathedrals is often considered to be extremely difficult task. Whereas if we think of a cathedral is a collection of basic solids, let task seems to be much easier. It may be quite complex. But let's look at this at least way. Drawing five windows is not five times harder than drawing on the one. I'll discuss the most common features in this kind of building, as well as present some options helpful in creating own unique designs. It's perspective is a crucial to enjoin the architectural objects. I'll put the emphasis on that. You'll be guided how to draw a cathedrals front step-by-step from general symbol solids to fancy data is. By enrolling to this class, you will also gain an access to a file where I gathered quick explanations on drawing various geometrical elements in perspective. It's actually more useful than it sounds. This course is divided into seven parts. Let's begin with an easy one. 2. 1 ELEVATION: That's how a front elevation of my cathedral looks like. And that's the left side of the frontal part. These are just flat views. I will draw down in perspective in a while. But first we should discuss basic elements of cathedrals, France. Of course, there is a huge variation of cathedrals features, but I wanted to keep it typical and at the same time, interesting to draw. The most typical facets are divided into three parts, both horizontally and vertically. Our cathedrals, we have one central tower, and even cathedrals without any tower in its frontal part. But as I said, I wanted to keep it quite representative. The middle part we have the main part dial is flanked with two towers. The bottom part consists of granted always. The middle one is the largest, and it can be emphasized three triangular decoration. We can also see buttresses because of lots of huge openings in the walls. That construction had to be reinforced with external buttresses, which could be widening of walls or could take forms of elaborated Tourette's or even so-called flying buttresses. It's very logical that the building is more stable if it's wider at the bottom and thinner in the upper parts. And in the case of really high buildings built with stones or breaks, it's especially important to remember that. Now let's move to the second part. It can be a decorated area. We've statues on just artists. It seems that the Gothic artists and masons just hated flat surfaces. Decorations were designed in a way that emphasized the verticality of the building. Columns be knuckles and pointed arches can be used wherever possible. Let's stop here for just a moment. The most typical pointed arch was created by intersection of two circles. You could place an equilateral triangle in the middle, but other proportions would be fine as well. And of course, the curations. Take a look at references, many of them, and then just use your imagination. If you watched my classes in designing fantasy architecture, you might already seen these drawings. I allowed myself to reuse them here. It's called recycling. You may want to practice drawing pointed arches for awhile to achieve these type of result and not this one. Now, another part, in the first area, we should place giant windows, or at least one impressive rose window in the middle. Of course, it's not obligatory, but it will research ashamed to draw a Gothic cathedral and just skip the rose window. And this second and different areas can be arranged in a reverse order. And the port towns just have to be placed in the bottom part. Now there are only bell towers left. In the case of our perfect Gothic cathedral, they should seem light and delicate. Usually the towers were symmetrical, but sometimes because of economical issues are changing fashion. They were quite different. Let's remember that Gothic churches were often built for several generations. Here between the towers, there is also error of part visible, but it could be hidden behind the fancy decorated wall as well. If you'd like to design your own Gothic elevation. There are plenty of inspirational materials on the Internet. Variety of the creative and even construction of elements is enormous. The next lesson is dedicated to basics of perspective. If you are already familiar with this topic, you can jump right to the third lesson. 3. 2 PERSPECTIVE SHORT THEORY: Understanding crews of perspective is obligatory while joined architectural objects. It may sound like bad news, but it's not a knowledge for only the chosen ones. You've probably heard about the various perspective types, such as 123 perspective. Even if a three-point perspective is attempting option, we will focus on the most commonly used two-point perspective. Two-point perspective means that there are two vanishing points. In other words, lines that are in reality parallel and never cross each other in a flat view in virtually meet in a point lying on the horizon line. And parallel lines lying on the perpendicular wall will meet in the second vanishing point. The first thing we should draw is a horizon line. In this case, it will be placed very low. Why? You may ask? Well, a theoretically the horizon line can be placed to wherever you want. Horizon line is simply a level of the observer's eye. If they observer would be a flying bird, the horizon could be placed at the level of cathedrals towers. However, if the observer is a human standing on the street, the eye level is in most cases at 1.5, 175 meters. In the case of an observer standing on the roof of a nearby house, the horizon line will be placed on several meters high, and so on. My observer is a person standing across the square. That's why the horizon line is on 1.5, 175 meters. Now let's determine placement of vanishing points. In the case of my cathedrals front, one of the vanishing points will be placed for now on the so-called paper. And the other point is somewhere to the right outside the frame. In general, vanishing points should be placed quite far from each other. How far exactly? I would recommend a trial and errors method to gain some practice. If these points are too close to each other, the result can look like this. And if they are too far from each other, the result wouldn't be much better. Most likely only one or non vanishing point will be visible on the paper unless the object is super tiny or the paper is really huge. But let's imagine any way that we are zooming out the scene. Now we can see that one of these points is closer. So the sidewalls are significantly shortened and the other point is quite far away. So this wall can be seen almost in a frontal view. Getting back to the drawing, Here's another line, I will call it the main line. The main line is a vertical line that is in a corner of the frontal part. Here to put it simply, the front and the left wall meets board to if theory, Let's start drawing for real. 4. 3 PERSPECTIVE BASIC ACTION: Gothic cathedral is a perfect excuse to practice drawing various geometrical shapes in perspective. Let's see, this part looks almost like a square. This space should look like a square in the perspective shortcut. So this segment should be somehow shorter than this one. Even if on the flat views they are the same length, but not too sharp. Otherwise it will have proportions of a vertical rectangular. We just have to use our common sense. We can easily determine where the middle of the front elevation is by drawing diagonals. And you can see the front can be divided into three equal parts, horizontally and vertically. It's not an obligatory proportion, but clearly defined shapes and proportions just make things easier. Again, I'll just use my intuition to draw these lines in the right place. Even if these sediments are equally long. In the case of perspective view, each next segment should be slightly shorter than the one on its left. The gable and these parts of dollars are the same height as each of the horizontal beds. So we can draw a score here. Here. And here. The walls of the left tower are about 50 percent higher than in the case of the right tower, which means that we should add an area of these proportions. How to do this properly? I'll show you a trick. Here is a square. We can easily divide it into four equal squares. Now we can draw another diagonal between the line going through the middle of the square and fro this point until it meets this line. We can do the same from left to right. And here we have the extra 50 percent of height. If needed. We can continue with adding more and more diagonals to achieve other proportions, both vertically and horizontally. Let's check proportions of the roof on the right tower. Two squares. How smart? The gable is, one score high. Now we can focus on the left to all, which means that we will aim to vanishing point on the left. Actually lines on sidewalls of both towers should meet in the same vanishing point. Even the line of the roof should aim to the same vanishing point. The left side without the tower has proportions of three squares and 1.5 square for the tower. It may seem to be an unnecessary work, but it's good to gently sketch even back walls that would be normally infeasible. Now we should find the top of the roof. It's of course the point where diagonals cross each other. The base of this roof is square right now, but it will turn into an octagon in awhile. Here you'll see clearly how to draw an octagon. We use the old trick. We have diagonals to divide our square into four small squares. And we repeated to divide those four squares into 16 squares. Now every site of the score is divided into four parts. Now we have to mark sections that are just slightly closer to the middle. Then these lines. Finally, let's connect the dots. Looks like a perfect octagon. Now let's do the same on our joint. And let's join the octagon with the top points to create a roof. Okay, we have the basic shape, the trivial app. I'd like to say that this part was the most complicated one. If you feel that you need to watch this lesson once more, please don't end from now on. It should be only easier with each next lesson. 5. 4 FRONT PART 1: Let's take a closer look at one of particles. To have a better understanding of proportions, we can divide the square into four smaller squares. Now you can see that the top of the arch is exactly in the place where this vertical line means that top edge, the upper line of the doors is exactly in the middle of the square. Foreigner divisions reveal how wide apart I'll ease. I'm going to repeat these divisions on the actual drawing. The arch start somehow above the middle of the square. Okay, so what's going on here? Here we have the outer arch. To make it three-dimensional. We can sketch lines leading to the second vanishing bind, just as we did during drawing the sidewall. Now this arch is repeated in shape, but placed along these lines. Now the inner arch, It's also three-dimensional, so we can sketch lines leading to the second vanishing point. Now we should just repeat this shape, but again, place it along these lines. Do we really have to construct such detail so precisely? Well, it's up to you. It's definitely good to keep in mind too, are all these lines came from. But I will just use my common sense and use the receipt. Smaller arch on the same plane are shifted towards the vanishing point. Even smaller arch on the same plane are shifted toward the vanishing point, and so on and so on. These column lines are simply extensions of lines creating arches. By the way, I got rid of a part of the bottom line because the doors will be deep inside the wall. Okay. I feel that this part may also need some closer look. The base or if you prefer, the plant has a quite fancy profile. We've rounded, convex upper part and concave middle part. The upper line is by a coincidence at the height of the horizon line. Lines creating the left side of the please lead to the vanishing point to the left, the front side again, and the left side. But something doesn't look quite right here. If this red surface was flat, the intersection line would look just like this lovely green line. However, as I've said, the upper boat is convex and the middle one is concave. So this surface looks rather like this. So the intersection line will run more or less through the middle of this shape. But we're this slightly asymmetrical shape actually came from. This part is more curved with because the cylinder circles are kind of shown in an almost front of you. While circles in these cylinders are much more compressed because they are faced down the closer vanishing point, our left vanishing point. The bird above that Doris has some protruding pledges, so they should intersect with their PLRs. This way. I'll explain how to draw arrows window in perspective later when I'll be drawing the large one. Now I just want to say that it obviously shouldn't look like a perfect circle because it's squished entity or that BY perspective, view, to achieve more or less symmetrical patterns, it's got to divide it with delicate lines first. Just a super-quick close up of the details. To draw this triangle out of him. Berkeley's exactly the same logic as during the are just a few minutes ago. Rockets are my favorite Gothic details. On this little drawing they look like. I actually don't know what they resemble. But on the close-up they could look like these. To divide the doors into two leaves, we just draw diagonals and a vertical line going through the point of their intersection. You have seen this trick today countless times. Cathedral borders are way too large for a human scale. So there should be smaller doors inside those giant ones. So mere mortals could actually use them. I used here a classic pattern of diagonal slats strengthening the deconstruction. All here's a bachelor's protruding be on the current outline of the walls. Here is John in a quick intuitive way. But if you'd like to know how to construct it properly, I'll explain that. What should we do to draw a cuboid protruding outside and existing cuboid? Just like in the case of a batches protruding outside the wall. Let's imagine that this is a base of an existing cuboid. We have defined its diagonals and extend them. I guess the diagonals is their favorite word of these classes. And then we just have to determine how large the second cuboid, aka batches should be. By the way, that's how you can draw a base of a pillar, for example. And that's what we should do to draw a batches in a corner of a cathedral. To know exactly how to draw these little beak, we can use a kind of reverse logic to this Rayleigh batches. We should draw a smaller square inside. Then construction lines will help us to move these smaller square to the place where the top of this little rope should be. And now we only have to join the dots. And that's how more RLS thereof looks like when it's placed on the buttress supporting the corner of the wall. Even if they had no function, cathedrals phosphates were full of blind arches. One more explanation. To draw these small triangular elements, we should find the vertical axis to create any triangle. Lines leading to their second vanishing point. Lines parallel to these creating the previously drawn triangular shape. Now we just have to add some volume, easy. Horizontal decorated birds are also welcome. 6. 5 FRONT PART 2: Let's move to the main part. Now let's just watch this process and I'll explain it in a minute. The thing is that a horizontal section of this part that looks like this. Here we have a PLR here goes all set at an angle, which means that it doesn't aim to any of our standard two vanishing points. And lastly, error on that column. One small hears epilogue. The world which is set at an angle, can be drawn by simply joining two points and lines leading to the first vanishing point. I hope that you remember the slide explaining drawing the base. If not, please don't feel overwhelmed. All of the slides explaining, drawing, various elements in perspective are collected in one file that you can download and analyze peacefully and Calendly at your own pace. The remaining part of the protons should be quite easy to draw. Here are just a couple of different forms of barnacles that may inspire you. Now let's take a short break. In the next lesson, we will draw quickly the middle part we've decorated arches, and then we will focus on the main rose window. 7. 6 FRONT PART 3 : Luckily, the middle part we've decorated arches is quite simple. However, it's important to make precise divisions in retreat lighter fit artists. Large windows can be divided into two or three smaller arched windows, separated by stone columns. Also smaller around Windows can appear here. Glass parts can be set in framing of the rose window. Each next drink is more recessed in the world. As you probably can see in the profile of the outer ring is rectangular. In the middle ring has around profile. It's not necessary, but it makes the drawing more interesting. I hope. The easiest way to draw a decorative pattern in a rose window is dividing it into a number of parts which are multiplication of four. I first divided the circle into four parts and then divided each of them into four parts again, which gives us 16 modules. I tried to fill the empty spaces with simple geometrical shapes, like even smaller circles with simple flora. The course. It's much easier than drawing software and more fluid shapes like these. Even though the circle was also divided by multiplication of number 4. To construct this pattern, I will just mark some divisions here are true. If a pinnacle will bring even more attention to their house window is Gothic style, hates empty spaces. We will feel them nicely with motives of arches and circles. Working on these windows is quite laborious and repetitive. So I'll move directly to the higher level. There are some recurring themes in these declarations, but that's fine. It makes the overlook more coherent. As you can see, it's not so easy to show a Shapely point that I wanted my belfry to be quite open, just as a belfry should be. So there is only an open org instead of standard two windows. The roof can be covered with stone or ceramic shingle. I'll show it with slightly dashed and wavy lines. The left tower is different from the right one. But we've actually drawn all these elements before in different places of this elevation. We can find here multiplied pillars are between those when parks and the decorated belts, we've blind arches. 8. 7 SIDE: Rows of drawing details on sidewalls are pretty much the same as in the case over the front wall. Everything is shrunken, kind of squished, though. The architecture of the sidewall of the tower is almost exactly the same as in the case of the front wall. There is just no bark Dalloway, even non trans. We can see clearly how windows are recessed in the walls. For some reason I'm clearly struggling with those squished shapes. 9. 8 MATERIALS: After coping with all geometrical conundrums, it's time for a really pleasant part. Marking building materials such as roof shingles and stones or breaks. It might be better to avoid very rigid and hard lines during this part. The lines can be quite delicate and they may seem to simply disappear here and there. We don't have to draw all these bricks or whatever on the whole wall. It would make us exhausted and the drawing code look too busy as well. And here's the part that will make our joint more animated and three-dimensional. Just like in the case of joint materials. Also here we don't have to pay equal attention to every shadowed part. Some of them may even should be emphasized more than others. It's also better to start gently with inking and then if needed, add more shadows here and there. In that case of image showing, I used to live lighten twelfths white, even if it's made of, let's say, red bricks. Tiny spaces in arches and the bottoms of horizontal elements like cornices or roofs will be darkest. It may be my personal taste, but I think that monochromatic drawings look better when they are highly contrasted. Regardless the joint technique, It's always easier to gradually add something to the drawing, then trying to get rid of something in order to make it look more delicate. 10. 9 SUMMARY : No wonder. Okay, I hope that you had a nice time watching this course and that you've learned something new. If you still don't feel super comfortable, reef perspective tried to make exercises from a PDF file you can find below. I'd love to see your drawings of cathedrals as loud.