Perspective Drawing for Storytelling: Three Ways to Draw a Scene | Sam Gillett | Skillshare

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Perspective Drawing for Storytelling: Three Ways to Draw a Scene

teacher avatar Sam Gillett, Pen // Pencil // Procreate

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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

15 Lessons (1h 3m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Project Overview

    • 3. Perspective 101: The Basics

    • 4. Freehand Sketching Technique

    • 5. Common Mistakes

    • 6. Subject, Perspective & Scale

    • 7. Tricky Shapes: Circles & Curves

    • 8. Learn To See: Draw Your View

    • 9. Neutral: Immersion and Comfort

    • 10. Lower: Intimidation & Grandeur

    • 11. Bird's Eye: Scale & Power

    • 12. Light & Shading Matters: Part One

    • 13. Light & Shading Matters: Part Two

    • 14. Next Steps in Perspective

    • 15. The End

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About This Class

In this class, you’ll learn more about how to use perspective in your drawings to evoke emotion and add interest and energy to your scene

Many artists find perspective to be a weakness. And it can be hard imagining how shapes and structures appear as we look at them from different vantage points. 

This class focuses on intuitive, freehand drawing tips to keep in mind when drawing scenes from unique perspectives. 



You’ll learn:

  • How to determine which perspective vantage point to use
  • Planning out your drawing with guidelines  
  • Using perspective to enhance the message and emotion of your drawing 
  • One, two and three point perspective 
  • How to draw tricky shapes in perspective 
  • Adding texture and lighting 

This class is for people who have some experience drawing, but might be intimidated by perspective or struggle to effectively use perspective in their art. For those completely new to perspective, I’ve included a quick 101 tutorial to get you up to speed!

So sharpen your pencil and let’s get drawing. I’m excited to see what you create! 

Meet Your Teacher

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Sam Gillett

Pen // Pencil // Procreate





 Hi! I’m Sam. I draw fantastical places (and some real ones too) in pen, pencil and with my Ipad. 

I started drawing when I was about 5, on family trips to England. 

Since then, I've been enraptured by fantastical architecture, hidden worlds and the shadow and light that makes up our world. 


In first year University, I transitioned in to creating detailed sketches that I posted on Instagram, and since then have been creating custom illustrations for lovely people and inspiring tattoo artists, musicians, clubs, publishing houses and engineering firms. 


You can check out my recent work on Instagram — or peruse my Etsy shop!

 <... See full profile

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1. Introduction : When you think of perspective, what comes to mind? Vanishing points, rulers, math. But when used intentionally, perspective can also look like this. [MUSIC] Perspective can tell your viewers how to feel about a scene. It's not just a way to replicate reality, it's a powerful tool for storytelling. Hey, I'm Sam. I'm an artist and illustrator from Halliburton, Ontario. Whether I'm drawing sweeping fantasy scenes, houses or immersive landscapes, I approach perspective with a storyteller mindset. I determine how I want people to feel about what I'm drawing. This changes the angle of the scene, the size of the drawing itself, and even how I use light and texture to set the mood. In this class, you'll learn how perspective can be used to evoke emotion by drawing one scene three different ways. You'll see how shifting the perspective can give a completely different sense of the same scene. This lonely castle can all of a sudden seem ominous or intimidating. This cabin can all of a sudden seem threatening or suspicious. Just a shift in perspective changes how we imagine the scene. Who lives in the cabin or whether it's safe to approach or not. That doesn't require rulers or boring math. This class hinges on simple ideas about perspective that you can take into your own art practice to better share your own visual stories. This class is for people who have given up on perspective. Those intimidated by their rulers or traumatized by vanishing points. But it's also perfect for those who are new to perspective. You can start creating a friendly relationship to it. We'll start by going over some methods for capturing tricky shapes and angles, and then go over the fundamental techniques and perspective. I've even included a quick one-to-one tutorial to get you up to speed. Next, we'll chat about common mistakes, freehand sketching, and how shifting the size and orientation of the main part of your drawing can change the meaning of the scene. Then once we have our base, we'll build up the immersiveness of the scene by incorporating light and texture. Making our perspective drawing feel like a real three-dimensional space. By the end of this class, you'll not only have three compelling pencil drawings, but also a way to harness perspective for storytelling moving forward when approaching any scene in any medium. Let's get drawing. [MUSIC] 2. Project Overview : A great way to practice any element of art is to create a reference sheet. That's a no consequences, piece of paper where you just jot down your ideas, try out different styles of drawing and experiment with the concepts that you're learning and practicing. For this class, we'll be drawing three different perspective scenes with pencil. You'll need just three sheets of paper, any quality of paper, any brand is fine. I use a thicker Strathmore Bristol because I really like the way it grips the pencil. For pencils, I usually just use whatever I have laying around. Whether it's the orange pencil we all used in elementary school, or a nicer pencil of a different weight and lead thickness. That stuff is important, but for this class, I'm going to focus more on the drawing itself and so I'd suggest you check out some other resources to help you decide which pencils might be best for you. Before we get to those three pencil drawings, we'll be going over some freehand perspective drawing techniques and as well talk about how to hold a pencil, and why even use perspective in the first place. Then we'll move on to those three drawings that I mentioned, before talking about how you can use shading and light in detail to accent your perspective sketches and really make your scenes come alive. For this whole class, I invite you to draw with an eraser or without, whatever you like to do. I usually draw without an eraser, specifically when I'm drawing in perspective. Because I find, retracing the lines I've done wrong and having lines on the paper that don't really quite look right, is a great learning experience, as I get my hand used to drawing these somewhat tricky shapes and lines when viewed from a perspective angle. If you're feeling brave today, leave your eraser behind. We're going to be using pencil, there's no such thing as a mistake, it's all a learning experience. First, we got to talk about perspective itself. In the next class, we're going to be talking about Perspective 101, the fundamentals. 3. Perspective 101: The Basics : There are rigid and rigorous methods of creating technically correct perspective drawings. I learned those in high school and I know some people who find those really helpful. As in measuring the distance, measuring how things can pack the farther away they seem, and using a ruler to create really strict and correct lines. For me personally, I prefer a lighter freehand approach. The reason I don't use rulers or protractors when I'm drawing is because by drawing freehand without a ruler, I can really work on my hand-eye coordination and developed more of a sense of the scene as well as injecting a little bit of my own personality. Because as you'll see in the three example drawings we'll work on later in the class, perspective can be intimidating when we think we have to get it perfectly correct. But often it's the little mistakes or the little personality quirks that you inject into your sketches that make them come alive and help you develop your own style as an artist and as an artist creating perspective drawings. But first, let's define some terms before we move forward. A key one for me is horizon line. Horizon line is in any perspective drawing, and that's eye level. For example, if the horizon line is very low on the page, that can mean a couple of things, depending on how zoomed in or the scale of the objects within your scene, it can mean that you're looking up and it can be setting you up for a really nice perspective of objects above the viewer. Or perhaps if you're zoomed out and you're drawing a really far away landscape scene, it can set the skin for a nice per airy scene or something with a really big emphasis on the sky or things above the viewer. If the horizon line is at the top, it can mean that you're maybe looking down. This can be really helpful when you're drawing a city scene or a scene with lots of small details below the vantage point of the person viewing your scene. If the horizon line is in the middle of the page, that's a neutral perspective. and all three of those horizon points I just talked about are where objects, if there was no other aberration or no other bump or mountain on the landscape, that's where they'd seem to disappear over the curvature of the earth. That point where they disappear is the vanishing point. That's a really key term, I'll come back to you probably way too many times during this class. Because a vanishing point in your drawing is a dot that you're going to connect all the lines that recede away from the viewer. Multiple drawings and the ones we're going to draw have multiple vanishing points. For example, the skyscraper that I mentioned earlier in this lesson, there's a vanishing point above it as the vertical lines seem to get narrow together. If you trace those lines up and continue them up into the sky, they'd reach a vertical vanishing point. There's also a horizontal vanishing point, and if you trace the top line of the skyscraper, the top of the rectangle, down towards the horizon, the point where it hits would be the vanishing point on the horizontal plane. The bottom of the skyscraper would also meet at that point as well. That's a really easy way of thinking about perspective, I find. By having those points on your drawing, you can connect them to all the elements within your scene, and using those points almost as an anchor, you can build your scene outward. We're going to talk about freehand pencil technique in a couple lessons, but first, we're going to talk about some common mistakes that people make when they're approaching perspective drawing. 4. Freehand Sketching Technique : [MUSIC] Now, whether you've sketched in pencil or what, or this is your first time sketching in pencil rather than using a ruler or a protractor anything like that, it's important to go over how we sketch for the end, or at least how I do it. I invite you to find your own style over time. Don't take my word as gospel truth. Rather, this is just what I've picked up over time and it might help you sketch a little bit more confidently in freehand perspective. Using these tips we'll be able to take them into the next lessons where we'll talk about drawing tricky shapes and drawing our 3 perspective scenes. It really translates from pencil to other mediums as well. But the reason I start with pencil when I'm drawing freehand perspective is because there's freedom to make those mistakes. I can erase anything I don't like, or as I talked about earlier, I can just draw more lines on top of it. If I move on to pen or paint, I can usually just paint over the pencil lines without much of an impact. The most common question I get and the thing I struggled with most is drawing straight lines without using a ruler. In perspective, that is important because as we talked about earlier, making sure things connect to that vanishing point on the horizon line, is really key to making it look like an actual object in a physical 3D space. When I usually hold a pencil, I hold it farther back when I'm starting out. The reason I do that is because I find it gives me a little bit of a better grip, and I can also use my hand as an anchor. If I'm holding the pencil right close to the nib like this, I find it's a little bit harder to be gentle and a little bit harder to create good lines without pressing too far. Holding it a little bit farther back gives me the freedom to rotate my fingers and also rotate my whole arm as I'm drawing shapes. That's another key part of my drawing practice, is when I'm drawing in perspective, or when I'm trying to draw straight lines, I try to move my arm rather than my hand. If I move my hand to draw this line, it gets a little bit more tenuous figured I'm stretching a little bit. As I'm drawing it across the page, my drawing position changes. My position, my hand is different here than it is at the beginning of the line. Whereas if I grab my pencil, let it rest naturally. It's almost at a 90 degree angle to my arm. I want to keep that most of the drawing cycle. Instead of just moving my hand when I'm drawing a straight line, I move my whole arm. When I'm holding the pencil farther back and I'm moving my arm, I find I can create straighter lines. That leads me to this next point, which is that if you see here, this is one line, it's not completely straight, but it's made up of a whole bunch of lines. That's because with pencil, with the opportunity to erase, oftentimes, the shapes in your perspective drawing will not be drawn just once. For example, if I'm going to draw a box like this, I go over multiple sides of the box, multiple times. That's because each time I draw the line, I can pick the medium line. If that makes sense. By drawing it multiple times, I can get a better feel for how a straight line should look, and I can correct the wobbly parts of the line with other lines that link it together, creating in the end more of a technically correct box. That links towards our discussion of vanishing points and horizon lines. If I put all these tips together, if I'm drawing a shape that links towards this vanishing point, the way that I usually start doing that without a ruler is by creating an imaginary line. I don't even touch the paper first but say I want to create a box up here. I'm going to create that line, and then over time, gradually etch it in really lightly with light lines. Then until finally, I'm going to guess correctly that this line would actually lead towards that vanishing point, and I can more firmly etch in that side of the box. I'm going to do again, imaginary line and then a little firmer over time, and then finally I can etch in that one. I do that with the sides as well. Really lightly etch it in over time and then firm that up. From the vantage point or wherever straight line I do, I often do it imaginary first, going to get my muscle memory and my hand used to that line, and then over time darken it in. That applies to any drawing I do. I like to layer up the drawing over time. With each consecutive pencil line, I can go a little bit darker to ensure that the lines I'm drawing look correct. If I draw this lightly at first, I can take a step back and see if it looks realistic. If it does, then I can etch it in a little bit darker and a little bit darker still. But the whole point of not using a ruler, as I talked about at the beginning, is because I want that organic feel. I, for one, like the look of the lines that aren't exactly straight. If I generally go towards that vanishing point, that's what we want to focus on, not having lines that are super super-duper, straight, and perfect. You want to focus more on the horizontal lines rather than the vertical ones. Because in our scenes, the eyes are usually more tuned to the horizontal lines being more important than the vertical ones. By horizontal I mean, on a horizontal plane with the vanishing point. Actually, this line here would be horizontal line. If these lines go towards the vanishing point, even though they don't really, that's what we want you to focus on more than these lines. As you see whenever I'm doing this, I'm moving my arm, not just the pencil. Even though for small details, I do just move the pencil itself for perspective drawing, and for the elements of our scene and charting out those elements, I usually move my whole hand. We're going to move on a little bit to drawing some tricky shapes in perspective. By learning these tricky shapes, we can then incorporate them into the scenes we're going to draw later. 5. Common Mistakes : [MUSIC] Mistakes in art, I prefer to call these learning experiences. That's because every mistake you make, specifically when you're trying something new or trying something difficult, like drawing in perspective is a milestone on your journey to accessing and learning the thing you're trying to do. I make mistakes in every single drawing. That's because our eyes are really fallible and the connection between our eyes and our hands is often tenuous at best. It's difficult to draw in perspective. It's far more difficult than it should be, I think, to translate what we see in the real-world onto the page. But there are a couple mistakes that I made quite often along my artistic journey and stuff I still do. I'm going to go over those in this lesson. If you focus too much on a difficult part of your drawing, sometimes the rest of the drawing can suffer. You could draw the Eiffel Tower, technically correct. It could look fantastic. But if you're trying to draw a scene in Paris, if the Tower looks great, everything else looks rubbish, you're not really any further ahead. For example, in this drawing I did of Hogwarts, I focus so much on this central tower. I really neglected the bottom of the scene and neglected to figure out the composition, down here. If I had to spend a little bit more time on it, I really wish I'd have tried to make it look a little bit more like this, composed in a way that it didn't squish the cliff side and the water down below. I could have let it breathe a little bit more rather than just focusing on that central tower, which I found so difficult for some reason to draw in perspective. Number 2, is drawing what you think an object looks like rather than what the object really looks like. I don't know about you, but when I was seven or eight, the first couple drawings I did looked a little bit like this. I'd draw the sun in the corner. Then I'd draw a cabin, a picket fence and clouds. Maybe even a little stick figure like this. For me that is a house. It looks like a house. There's nature in there. I could even have drawn a tree if I wanted to. But in reality, it doesn't really look like any house I've seen and hopefully no humans I've seen either. That's why drawing with reference photos or, drawing what an object actually looks like is so invigorating for me and inspiring. Often, we trick ourselves into thinking we know what something looks like. A city bus for example, many of us get on them every day. We think we have a pretty good understanding of what a bus looks like. But if I was going to draw one in perspective, I want to have a picture of a bus in front of me so I can capture the reflection. I can capture the way that the wheels get smaller as they move to the back of the bus, away from us. The way the windows might be curved. Especially in difficult shapes, for example, the wheels or the Windows having a picture in front of me can help me determine how the perspective would actually work, rather than what I think it might look like. Because it's hard to trick your viewers in that stuff. We might think we can draw a bus perfectly well. But if we actually look at what we're drawing, we realize we haven't really captured the details. Specifically in perspective, the way the objects recede into the distance or look as they get farther away, can be a little bit more complicated than we first assume. The last common mistake is making sure that each different object in the piece of art that you're making, whether it's a box or different houses or a different landscape, items that they have a relationship to each other that makes sense within the scene. Here's an example, I have a box that's floating in the sky. It's a little bit above us because we can see the bottom of it. As we know that the horizon line is at eye level, so the box seems to be a little bit above us. But, if we want to draw another box that's further away, we have to determine the relationship to the object we've already drawn. If it's farther away, it means that second box on the left here would be smaller, not bigger. Because in the scene, if the box is smaller or whatever object you sub in here, whether it's another house, a castle under the mountain, it needs to be related to each other in the way that the viewer experiences the scene. Any object you put in the scene, anything from a little mug that a character might be drinking out of to, to a large spaceship has to obey those rules. Has to obey the rules within a scene. There can be infinite vanishing points, which is a scary concept to imagine. However, anything we draw in the scene has to be consistent with the entire scene. For example, if I am drawing the scene of a training stretching back into the distance. But I want to draw a, let's say a tree coming beside the train. I have to make sure that the curvature of the bark fits, that vanishing point. 6. Subject, Perspective & Scale : [MUSIC] Three most important themes that come out in this class are subject, perspective, and scale. In this lesson, I'm going to go over the three of them and how they interplay. I think you'll see traces of all three throughout everything I really talk about in this class. You've heard me say focal point, and that's really the subject of your drawing. The focal point is where you want the viewers to look. For example, in the drawing behind me, the focal point is definitely the central castle complex in Rivendell. However, I placed the focal point there with elements around it that aren't the focal point, that aren't as important but they lead our eye towards it. You can see how there's a river here and a bridge, as well as a outcropping of trees, and a waterfall in the background. The peripheral elements around your focal point or around your subject are almost just as important as the subject itself. They give us more clues and can situate it in a larger environment. By making sure that these peripheral elements complement the focal point or add to the subject of your drawing, you're scene can really come alive, and it can change the emotions. If I added rocky or jagged outcroppings of rocks around here, it might make you feel differently about where we are. You can see that here, when I drew the City of Edoras from Lord of the Rings. I want the focus to be on this central pillar of rock and the castle on the top. It's the subject of the drawing. Depending on what I want to say about this castle in Rohan, for instance, changes how I approach it or how I position the viewer in relation to it. For example, here, this little castle tower that we'll revisit later on in the class, the perspective I approached that with, lets us know a lot about its relation to the world or where it fits into the surroundings. By positioning certain things on the same level of the viewer, like we would see them if our walking towards them, that can say something about an object or a focal point. Whereas placing it far above us can say something about our relation to it. The same with placing it far below. Choosing a perspective that fits the story you want to tell about the focal point or the subject in your drawing, or where the viewer is, can really add a lot to your drawing. But that only works if you also incorporate scale. Scale is basically the size of the focal point or the object in relation to the scene or the composition around it. How does your perspective or how does your perception of this castle change depending on its size? Here, the focus is on the door because we're so close to this large castle that seems so large to us, even though in reality maybe it's the same size. By scaling the castle up, it makes us feel closer to the object or the focal point. If, for example, in the drawing of Rohan that I mentioned, if I had positioned us right near the gates, peering up at the gates that are towering over top of us with just the top of the castle on the hill visible, would it have made you feel differently about Rohan? Or would it have made you feel differently about what I was trying to get across? The scale and the size of objects in our drawings are so important. Because that's a visual clue that lets the viewer know their importance and how they interplay with other aspects of your drawing. By choosing a scale that fits the story you want to tell about your subject. As well as choosing a perspective that positions it in relation to the viewer where you want them to be. As well, focusing in on the subject or focal point and making sure that the composition of your drawing points us towards what's important and what matters to the viewer. 7. Tricky Shapes: Circles & Curves : In the real world, there's so little that is straight. When you look around a busy city street, there's lots of things in that scene that are not straight lines to be drawn that don't all lead towards one vanishing point. For example, this mug that I tried to draw up when I drew my scene, there's a lot of curved lines on it, specifically, the circle of the top and this handle. Drawing these things in perspective, for example, above me or below me can be difficult because they are circles, they're not straight lines that seem to lead towards a vanishing point. In this lesson, we'll go over some tips and tricks for drawing these tricky organic shapes. The thing to remember about tricky shapes is that they can all be broken down into easier shapes to draw. The reason why I start with rectangles, as I've shown in the previous lessons, is because those are really easy to make sure to link up to a horizon line and a vanishing point. I'm going to start the vanishing point there and I'm drawing a square. I know that the vertical lines are going to lead towards that vanishing point. Now, let's say I want to draw a cylinder, a coffee mug, for instance. It's a difficult shape because it's a circle on top of another circle, but I can break that down into squares. The vanishing points there, I want to draw it very close to me. It's going to be a fairly large coffee mug. I'm going to draw another square here, with the top side going down towards the vanishing point, and this side goes towards the vanishing point as well. Then I'm going to link these up. Now we have a tall rectangular cube, and then, a circle can fit inside these squares, the bottom square and the top square. I'm going to dot out the size of the circle and I'm going to draw some arcs. I want to draw your arc in a natural way. For example, from this dot to this dot, the arc has to be a little bit more abrupt than this dot to this dot, because these dots are closer together. Once I have those dots, I want to connect them. Remember I talked about earlier moving your whole arm. It can draw the circle quite a few times. It's a little bit compacted and do the same up here and this circle is going to be quite a lot more compacted like a very narrow, narrow circle. Then I connect these. I'm going to correct it down here and then I have the base for the mug. Now, if I want to draw the handle on that mug, I can determine where it's going to be. I'm thinking maybe the most difficult angle would be right here. I know generally what shapes we can use here. We're going to start with rectangles again. The sides of the rectangles are going to go back towards that vanishing point. I'm going to guesstimate on the size. Then it's a circle too, so I'm just going to link up the same thing here. Then I can erase these lines and I have the base of my mug. As you can see, some of the lines don't really seem correct, maybe the bottom is a little bit too bulgy down here. But over time, you can gradually get more proficient as you continue to practice having the thing in front of you, having a mug in front of you really helps as well. The next shape will try to draw is a tree because we will draw that a lot in today's class. If the vanishing points here, we're going to draw the tree at eye level, the middle of the trunk here. We're going to pretend there's another vanishing point, maybe all the way up, almost outside of our sketch plane here. We know these two lines have to lead towards that vanishing point. Then we're going to draw another rectangle here leading back towards that vanishing point. We have the base of the tree is a rough sketchy square and the sides of the tree lead up towards a vanishing point up at the roof of our drawing. Just like the mug over here, I dot out roughly halfway on the lines and I'm going to connect them. I've connected them and I can take up the harsh corners, something in this corner and this corner and drawing it up, and it's still got a lead towards that vanishing point. Then now that we need to add some branches. This is where it gets a little bit trickier. Since we're at the vanishing point here, these branches are above it, meaning we're looking up at the branches. We can be a little bit looser because they're organic, and that gives us a little bit about a license to create shapes that don't have to link towards the vanishing point. However, by keeping the way that the branches fan out, linking towards that point, it can really help us create that dimension of space. The outside of the branches are going to follow this box, which leads towards the vanishing point. I'm going to create that box here, and I'm going to create it off-kilter. The reason I'm creating it off-kilter is to give us a little bit more of a natural look to the box of the branches. I have this base of the box that leads towards this vanishing point, it doesn't have to be directly there. The top of the box will lead towards this vanishing point up here. Now I can create the branches within this space. The branches get a little bit smaller as they go up to there. They don't have to lead directly to that line, but the outside of the branches will stay within the box that we've created. As you see, I'm not really changing how I'm drawing the individual branches. I'm just drawing the branches of the tree staying within that box so that it will look like the whole canopy leads away from us up into the sky and down towards the vanishing point. This is why I can add in the details of a canopy, going outside the box a little bit, but generally following the lines we've created. The reason I go outside the box is because leaves don't follow that boxy shape. Branches fall outside those lines but by hinging them or keeping them close towards that line, I can create a look of a tree that is above us, but also leads down towards a vanishing point. From there, I can add in roots, root sections, and play with the trunk a little bit, add some maybe aberrations and stuff like that. Now, this is by no means a masterclass. Hopefully, that was a little bit helpful as we move towards drawing our three perspective drawings. 8. Learn To See: Draw Your View : We've established some key terms, and reference points about freehand perspective drawing. To put them to use, here is a practice exercise of drawing what you see right in front of you right now. Take a piece of paper, any kind of paper will do, and a pencil, any kind of pencil will do, and sketch out what you see in front of you keeping in mind the things we've talked about. First, vanishing point, second, horizon line, and third, the foreground, midground, and background. If you look in front of you right now, what do you see? Are you looking out of your building? Are you looking into your living room? Look at the top lines of the room you're in, and where they lead towards the distance. Look at the objects in your scene, whether it's your coffee mug in front of you, whether it's your sketch pad in front of you, and draw some of those objects. You can draw the full scene with just a couple of objects within that scene, and then post it in the class project page. Now, the whole point of this practice sketch is to be loose, and just get a feel for it. I'm zooming out a little bit, and I'm drawing my desk, and wall right in front of me. Using the tips I went over earlier, I'm sketching everything out really loosely. I'm not taking a lot of time on this. I'm just drawing what I see in front of me. Even my hand, I'll draw that on here. For those details, I'm zooming in a little bit. I'm drawing the foreground, and the background. 9. Neutral: Immersion and Comfort : [MUSIC] Now I think we're ready to start our first perspective study sketch. The first drawing we're going to tackle is a neutral perspective drawing. Remember when I talked about horizon lines and I mentioned the horizon line in the middle of the page, that's the one we're going to focus on first. By positioning our focal point, which is the main object in our drawing near that middle of the road horizon line, it's on eye level with us, with the viewer. I find placing a focal point or placing the key object in the scene on that neutral horizon line, a great way to add some gentle immersion to your scene. When we view certain objects in that vantage point, there's a certain sense of comfort there or a sense that we could partake in the scene because it's accessible to us. Remember if the horizon line is eye level, that means objects that are on the horizon line are at eye level. Now, what I talked about scale earlier, this applies here as well because if we draw the object, the focal point of our drawing, if we draw that to a certain saw, is that it's accessible to the viewer that's closer to us. If it's a building, for example, intent then that creates a space that we feel like we could inhabit. With a neutral perspective, I want to draw the horizon line right through the middle of the page because I want to have enough space above and below to create a object or a focal point in the middle of the page. This helped us achieve that goal of making it appear like it's on the same plane as the viewer, or it's a place that we can just walk into the scene. Now, I'm blocking off the central tower, which is going to be like a cylinder. There's a good chance for you to practice how to draw this maybe more tricky shape. I'm using the same method that we talked about before, as in drawing a square on the bottom and a square on the top that both lead back towards that vanishing point. Then I'm just blocking it off, creating the cylinder and creating the circles within the boundaries of the top square and the bottom square. Then I erase views outside or exterior lines and I'm left with just this cylinder, just this castle that we're going to draw the roof on as well. Just a nice pointed roof and make it a little bit magical, little bit mystical. I love pointed rooms because they just run and you have Hogwarts and the fantasy castles when we were younger. Now I'm drawing some other points of interest below and above the horizon line, keeping it neutral as if we were looking into the scene as if it's a forest that we're walking through and that path which kind of invites us into the scene. This is where composition and other elements of the scene are so important as well because just as the focal point is on the neutral or through the horizon line, we want other points of interest to lead us into the scene and frame the main part of the drawing. When I'm finishing off these trees, just like we talked about, I want to make it look a little bit mystical and it is perspective, even though it's also a composition or just details but I'm adding these small details in the trees in the forest around us that don't really detract from the main castle or detract from the neutral perspective but add a little bit more interest, add some background and add some depths into the scene. We want to make it seem like a three-dimensional space and varying the size and shape of the trees is a really key way to do this. We have the frame of our drawing, we have the main castle tower, and we have a path leading back towards the viewer and this is where I add some other elements that just add a little bit more interest as well. When you're drawing this rock, for example, we're going to use that same blocking method, we want to make sure that the boundary lines of our square can lead back towards that vanishing point and then we're going to have complicated a little bit and add some aberrations in the shape, make it a little more rocky. When you're drawing this scene, think about as well ways that you could change the mood of the perspective. For example, I'm just adding some grass and other rocks from the castle. Would you draw a character hanging out the window? How can you complement the perspective that you're drawing by what you add in specifically how you change the focal point or how you change the characteristics of that central tower? For me, I find doors are really valuable thing to add to perspective scenes. Specifically in this case, when I want it to seem like a immersive scene that you could walk into by having a door there we had the sense that this castle is accessible, but you can move into it. Make yourself at home in the castle. Reminds me of the Castle from Tango actually and now windows, specifically on a circular cylinder can prove a little bit tricky. But just as I mentioned in the first couple lessons on perspective, it's the lines leading back towards the horizon line that are really important. As we chart out how we might add texture or how we might add bricks to the castle, I'm almost following the top and the bottom lines of the castle itself to maybe add the rings that the bricks would fall on. By charting this out, just like we sketched out the rest of the drawing when we want to add detail, when we want to add windows is a little bit easier to do so because then we know where the horizontal at the top and bottom of the window would fall and how it would look in perspective. Now this isn't an exact art, but remember as things get farther away from us, they seem smaller. Since this window's on the side of the castle, it's going to seem a little bit compressed or a little bit narrower as it's facing away from the viewer. Again, think about what other elements you could add here to add some interest, maybe vines on the castle, maybe a character on the roof or something like that, maybe another window like I'm doing here. Think about how the objects, periphery or other elements feed into the mood or the general vibe of the drawing that you're trying to get across to the viewer. The neutral perspective here gives you a lot of leeway to create a scene that you want to create with the audience looking into it as a space that we could inhabit, that we could step right into. We have this drawing of a castle right in front of us, we got to practice drawing the cylinder of the castle's body and how that would lead back towards the horizon line using those elements of drawing Turkey shapes that we practice beforehand. We also got a chance to practice some organic shapes, the trees beside us, the path leading away from us. I feel like I can step into the scene and I hope you do as well. Let me know what you thought of this scene in the Class Project page. Next, we're going to put a twist on the same scene in these same elements, we're going to draw this same scene from below and see how it changes our perspective of what we're drawing and changes the mood of the drawing itself. 10. Lower: Intimidation & Grandeur : [MUSIC] Now imagine you're standing below the castle. What would you see if you looked up the steps? How would the trees arch away from you up to the vanishing point in the sky. How would the castle itself, the cylinder, appear to recede back down towards the horizon line, which is, remember, at eye level. If the horizon line is at eye level, that means the castle will seem like it's towering above us, similar to a skyscraper. In this lesson we're going to experiment and see how this scene makes us feel, how this would change the perspective and change the scene that we're drawing. With a lower perspective, we want more space on the top of the page, or more space above the horizon line, because that's where our focal point, that's where the main objects of our scene are going to be. Horizon lines down low and so is the vanishing point. Now I'm going to chart out where that main focal point will be. Now, our current went up on some rocks because I find when it's towering above us, that's how you get more that central nude of an imposing castle. I'm just charting it out exactly like we did before, with the squares leading back towards the vanishing point, the top and the bottom, blocking it out. You can leave it as a square. But I like the challenge of making it a cylinder. We're going to chisel away at this cylinder all the while, keeping in mind that vanishing point. Now we have a top vanishing point as well, which is right at the top of the page. That's because the parallel lines leading upwards would converge at that point. I want to keep that in mind as you block out this tower. We're going to add the door here, again, leading towards that vanishing point at the top of the page. If we keep that a square too, we can then just chisel off the squared corners and create a door, just like we did on the last drawing. Now, but we'll try putting a window in the same place we did before. We want the vertical lines leading to that top vanishing point. The horizontal lines, we want them following the natural curvature of the tower. You can use the same method that I talked about before. Whereas following the top curve and the bottom curve of the castle and sketching those in over time. Or just experiment, see what looks right. You can always erase or just draw over it again. Especially if you're drawing lightly. [MUSIC] A few in mind too how the tower is positioned above us right now, we'd have to climb up presumably some stairs which we can have later, or a large hill to, to get there. It's a little bit intimidating. I find at least. Now the thing we can do with the trees, which I think is a really cool effect, is make them lead up towards that vanishing point as well. Makes it seem like the castle and the trees decided are towering over top of us. I start out with the basic tree trunks and then just add in some fluffy cloud-looking things for a canopy that we can detail in later and add some branches that now see the tower above us, so more of the branch is visible. Because we're underneath the trees. Adding in more detail and adding in these trees that frame the castle achieves the same effect we got last time. Which is that the focal point of the drawing is more focused on and centralized because of the elements surrounding it. We have the castle right in front of us and the castle above us. I find those different scenes add a different flair to the perspective scene that I drew. We've got one more though, and that's a bird's eye view. This is probably my favorite perspective to draw from. I'll see you in the next lesson. 11. Bird's Eye: Scale & Power : [MUSIC] In movies and video games, the establishing shot, the shot that tells us where we are, what's going on, is often from a bird's eye perspective or up in the air. It's a great way to show a wide swath of the scene, show a huge chunk of landscape, and really establish the viewer in where we are. It's also a challenging scene to draw in perspective because sometimes we're seeing things from farther away, we're seeing a wide range of objects and we have to include the background that's farther away, and in some cases is a little bit more difficult to draw if we're drawing things like rivers, streams, forests, that stuff. Because often we can't see the bottom of the trees or we can't see the details of the river, etc. You know what I'm going to say now is that we're drawing the horizon line near the top of the page. I'm going to say about a quarter or a third of the way down the page. The reason we're doing that is because we want the focal point to be below it. We're going to have more space below the horizon line with which to work and to create a scene. I'm creating that vanishing point in the middle of the page, and then I'm going to do our block method that we've gone over a couple times now as you block out the cylinder. This time where the castle base, this time keep in mind or notice how now it's going to seem to recede towards the bottom of the page. We're almost flipping the script or doing the exact opposite of what we did last time. Whereas another vanishing point will be near the bottom of this page. If you look down at your ledger now or your phone, you notice that it seems to get smaller the further away it is from you, exactly the same is true here. Whereas the base of the castle now is going to be smaller than the top. Keep in mind too how now above the castle we can see that horizon line. There's a lot more open or negative space visible. The space around the castle that until now isn't really filled up. But first, let's finish off some details, so we're going to add another door here with the vertical lines leading towards that vanishing point and then maybe another window off to the side of the castle. Again, keep in mind that drawing these shapes over and over again, or drawing them really lightly and then taking a step back or holding your paper at arm's length can be a great way of making sure your lines and your shapes look correct. Develop a critical eye and make sure you take the time to hold things at arm's length. Now, when we're drawing the trees, we want to keep in mind that they're going to seem to get smaller towards the base. Also, the nearer they are to us, the less of the trunk is visible because it'll be covered by the canopy. We can start off again by drawing some really rough outlines of the canopy. More of the trunk is visible but farther off the trees are from us the viewer. A little bit less of the castle is visible here, a little bit less of the trees are visible here, and the path appears a lot smaller, but it also gives us a little bit more power over the scene. We can see way farther into the distance. It almost seems like it establishes the castle within a much larger landscape than before, or a landscape that is a little bit more knowable. I'm going to try to draw the same rocky outcropping here and I'm going to square it off from that vanishing point to that horizon line. Again, it might be a little bit of a confusing part that I draw a square and then create an organic shape, but I find it's a really great way to develop the parameters of the tricky shape your drawing. Also by not using a ruler and having a little bit of leeway, even if their perspective lines don't directly add up, I think it adds some of your own creativity and your own flair to the perspective drawing, which is really important when you're creating scenes or specifically when you want to express an emotion or express a mood in your piece. I love a mountain background because it infers that there's a grand distance out there and probably other civilizations and communities and towns in the background. That's why I want to add that, and it contributes more towards that mood of grandeur of exploration and adventure. Now, I'm filling out these lines a little bit more. I talked about it a little bit earlier, but I love to go back over the lines already done to develop a little bit more confidence in them, and also to give it a critical look to make sure it actually matches up. Again, by placing the castle in the middle of the scene, we make it important. We make it a part of the drawing that we ensure people will focus on. By placing it below us, it almost seems like we're flying over top of it. Now, we have three perspective sketches. We have one from a neutral perspective, one from a lower perspective, and one from a bird's eye or a above perspective. Next, we're going to talk about some other elements you can add to your perspective drawings that don't rely on perspective drawing. This sounds confusing, so I will see you in the next lesson where I'll explain exactly what I mean. 12. Light & Shading Matters: Part One: When you're drawing a perspective, there are a couple key elements your scene really needs, or else it's not going to look good no matter how technically correct your perspective is. Texture is just as important as light when it comes to perspective drawing. In this portion of the lesson, we're going to go over how to use texture to enhance the perspective sketches you do and add that mystique and drama to the scene. There's a couple basic principles of texture. The first is that the farther away from you within the scene, the less detailed and the smaller the textures will become. For example, with grass here and leaves here, I'm going to create them a little bit larger and move them smaller back here with a little bit less detail. A common mistake I used to make was drawing the same amount of detail farther back in the scene as in the foreground. But that's not even really artistic choice. It's in the real world as well. If you look into a valley for example, farther away from you will become more hazy, more misty, less detailed than the things up close. That's the same with rocks or even if we're going to add some steps to the scene, they're going to get larger up here and as they recede into the distance, they get smaller, less detailed. Some of these things you'll only really notice when you finalize the drawing. For example, if we're going to finish this in pencil, I'd maybe erase some of the sketchy lines and add in darker lines or spend a little bit more time with each of these detail elements. The same with the trees. Now that we have the trees established in our scene, for example, these ones that arched up towards the distance, I'm going to draw them in. This is another spot where rulers really would hinder us not help us, because even though trees are vertical, they're not uniform as in the bark and the branches and everything changes depending on the thickness of the tree, the kind of the tree and if we measured that with a ruler, we'd end up with a drawing that doesn't look interesting or it doesn't look organic. Now maybe the most difficult part would be the stonework on this castle because we want it to recede into each side of the cylinder here and so the stones on either side will get smaller as well as getting smaller at the top. When I approach a larger area of texture in a drawing like this, there's a couple of key ways that I go about it. First, is I draw a line right up the center. Next, I'm going to dot out a line a little over halfway up, because it represents halfway up the castle even though to our eye it's not halfway. The concept of foreshortening that I mentioned earlier means that this line halfway up actually appears a little bit other ways farther up the castle because the top appears shortened than the area closer to us. Next, I'm going to add another arc halfway up that line and a little over halfway up this line. Then I'm going to keep adding arcs in here, following the shape of the top of the castle and the bottom that we etched in. These are going to be really light and these are the reference points for brick. I'm going to dot in brick and here again, you can be really gentle and not really care much about the straight shapes and you want them to generally fall along these arcs that we drew. As they get closer to the edge, they're going to get thinner. As they get closer to the middle, they're gonna get wider or thicker. I'm not even going to do the whole castle because gesturing in the texture is the most important thing here and even just have a little bit of texture can really make the scene seem alive. As you can tell, I'm not really worrying much about that the size of the rocks, more that they follow those rough arcs that we created. As they get to the top of this tower, I'm going to add a little bit less detail and the rocks will get smaller as well. At the bottom here they're a little bit thicker and they appear a little bit more detailed and I'll detail them in a little bit more further on down the drawing journey. But as you move towards the edge of the castle, they should get more compacted because we're viewing them from an angle. As you can tell, a lot of these rocks won't actually follow the perspective lines of the horizon line that we first established but that's not the main point. The main point is that they get smaller towards the edge of the castle and larger towards the middle here. 13. Light & Shading Matters: Part Two: [MUSIC] In most of our drawings of environmental scenes, specifically in perspective, the sun is a light source. Or if it's nighttime, the moon, or even about on a cloudy day, there's usually a direction the light is coming from. I treat it almost as a vanishing point when I'm determining where the light's coming from. It helpful to have that visual cue on my drawing or even off my drawing. For example, let's pretend the light is here. I draw a little point there really lightly to help me determine where the shadow is going to be. That doesn't really help us though, because the light here could be a sun in the background or it could be a sun behind the camera or even right here in the midground. Specifically, you know how the sun could be shining from behind the tower, besides the tower or in front of the tower, or from this height. I'm going to pretend that I know that the sun is shining from directly beside the tower at this height. What I do then is to determine where the shadow is going to be as I draw straight line from the sun point to the tower. Then from there, I know that the shadow of the tower is going to follow that straight line down to the ground. That'll generally be how long the shadow is. Then to find out how thick the shadow is going to be, how thick a shadow of the tower would cast, I'm going to do our famous old blocking square method with a line that goes towards the horizon line and then connecting that to the sides of the tower. However, this side, the shadow won't be straight because the edge of the cliff and the trees are in the way. I'm going to draw some little aberrations of the landscape, and likewise on this side, some little dips to emulate the way that the landscape will change. With objects like trees, I usually just guesstimate. I know that the sun is beside the castle. For these trees actually, it would be directing the shadow that way, because the trees are farther back to the distance, than the castle is. It can help flesh out the landscape and make it feel more three-dimensional if other areas like this rock has shadow as well. Because I know that the sun is hitting them from right here. I'm going to draw this side of the rock in shadow and vary. When you look at shadows in the real world, they usually contain different density of shadow and different darkness depending on the texture as well. The thing with shadows is they're easy to scrub, meaning that it doesn't really matter if the shadow is exactly the correct length. As long as it looks generally correct, it will trick the viewer's eyes. I measured this by generally following the angle that's hitting the castle to this side. If the sun's up higher, that means the shadow will be a lot shorter. But this doesn't help us shade in the castle because it's shading in the object that really makes it stand out. Just like we know the sun is beside the castle, we know that this side is going to be darker. How we shade in these shapes is we want to shade in the darker side here and then generally fade to light. Because it's a circle. There's not a hard edge. It'll be different if it was a square, because then we'd be shading in one face of the square dark and one face light. But here, since it's a cylinder, the shading has to get lighter as it curves around the spherical face of the castle. Another element you can add to add some realism is shading underneath this roof. If we draw a line from the sun to this roof, we know that there's going to be some shadow on the roof as well, because the overhang hides part of the castle, and on the door here. This whole window is going to be in shadow. This side is going to be the lightest side, because it's this side facing the sun. But that's only one way of using light. By studying reference photos, studying photos of different times of the day, you can better incorporate different kinds of light into your drawings. In the next lesson, we're going to talk about some other finishing techniques that you can use in your sketch to really make it come alive. 14. Next Steps in Perspective : By practicing these techniques, you'll be able to learn better how to transport viewers into new environments and familiar ones. But now that I've hit you with a barrage of mumbled perspective tips, here is a couple of things to consider and post about in the project page. What angle did you find most interesting in this class? What kind of perspective or what vantage point did you find most interesting? You can pick a castle that you drew there or pick something else that you'd love to draw, and draw it in that perspective. Think about shading, think about light, think about the way that those tricky shapes might look when viewed in perspective, and try to put that on the page. Finish off that sketch in pencil and then post it in the class project page. I'd love to see what you create based off what you learn in this class. 15. The End : [MUSIC] Thanks for joining in. I hope this class taught you a little bit more about perspective and taught you some ways that you can really put it to use to evoke emotion throughout the angle that you choose to draw from. By keeping in mind which vantage point you're drawing from and why as well as keeping the focal point in mind, the vantage point, the horizon line, the vanishing point all those elements work together. Throwing in light and shading and you've got a pretty good concoction to create drawings that transport the viewer, but I want to see what you've created. Make sure you post in the class project page or tag me on Instagram @samgilletteillustrations. Happy sketching and remember practice is the key to learning these techniques and to locking them down. Thanks for the take in my class. I'm excited to chat with you and see what you create. [MUSIC]