Perspective for Comics: Drawing Crowds, Buildings and Streets | Marty LeGrow | Skillshare

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Perspective for Comics: Drawing Crowds, Buildings and Streets

teacher avatar Marty LeGrow, Graphic Novelist

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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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Choosing Your Location


    • 3.

      Becoming a Reference Ninja


    • 4.

      One and Two-Point Perspective


    • 5.

      Three-Point Perspective


    • 6.

      Let's Play With Blocks!


    • 7.

      Let's Fake It!


    • 8.

      The Coolest Trick You'll Ever Learn


    • 9.

      Fast Trick: Instant Street


    • 10.

      Let's Get Tall, Let's Get Small!


    • 11.

      Populating Your Scene


    • 12.

      Fast Trick: Instant Crowd


    • 13.

      Creating Believability


    • 14.

      Building Details and Signage


    • 15.

      Plants and Wear and Tear


    • 16.

      Course Ending


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About This Class

Backgrounds aren't scary!

This class is ideal for anyone looking to develop their background drawing skills and specifically for those interested in understanding how to draw with perspective. 



This Class Is Project Based

You'll learn how to draw with perspective by drawing a busy street scene of your own creation with buildings and crowds to share for feedback with your fellow classmates. 

Here's What To Expect

First, you'll choose the visual setting of your project by deciding where exactly your street scene is taking place. Next, you'll lay out the street and building locations using techniques shown in step-by-step lessons. 

We'll then go through the steps of learning how to block in buildings and basic structures with simple, fast tricks. We'll also learn quick and easy techniques about drawing characters and whole crowds of people in perspective! 

As a final touch, we'll add foliage, objects and vehicles, plus other small details to make a finished scene.

Class Supplies You'll Need

  • Paper suitable for sketching, 11"x17" or larger (double-wide computer paper is fine!) and a few extra sketch sheets
  • Mechanical pencil
  • Ruler or straight-edge of at least 18"
  • Tape
  • Optional: Pens for inking
  • Optional: Digital camera
  • Optional: Magazine with scenes, rooms or buildings in it

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Marty LeGrow

Graphic Novelist


Marty LeGrow is a freelance graphic novelist with fifteen years of experience in the comics industry. She is the creator of Bizenghast, Tokyopop's longest-running OEM manga.  Bizenghast has been translated into over a dozen languages for fans all over the globe.  Her new monthly series, Toyetica, is published by Action Lab Entertainment and is currently being adapted for an animated series.

Marty has been featured in Teen People's "What's Hot" list, The Gothic and Lolita Bible (US), Newtype Magazine and in various other publications, including the HarperCollins book Manga-ka America: Manga By America's Hottest Artists. She has also appeared on NPR's "All Things Considered" and is a regular guest at various anime and comic conventi... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hi. I'm M. Alice LeGrow. Author of the eight volume graphic novel series Bizenghast. I'd like to thank you for taking my course on Drawing Perspective for Comics. If you're like me, you haven't always seen eye to eye with backgrounds. I know I didn't. When I was in high school and just starting out in comics, I wanted nothing more than to draw my character in some really cool pose in a really cool costume and just be content to later float around and a white sea of nothingness. Backgrounds always seemed hard to me. It seemed like there were so many rules, there were so many lines, so many tricks that I had to know that I didn't know. I bought a book once on Drawing Perspective and it made less than no sense. It was 200 percent bananas. It was like you had to know calculus just to open it. I really didn't understand a bit of it. Luckily, I had a professor named Professor Paul Hudson when I went to Savannah College of Art and Design, who taught me an off lot about perspective in very easy ways that I'm now going to pass on to you so that you don't wear yourself out buying $50 books on perspective and getting nowhere. You'll save 50 bucks. I didn't, but you can. Spend it on something good. Now, if you're like I was and maybe you're, you probably have thought of your comics as just flat pictures on a page and yes, technically they are. But up here there are movies and you know that as well as I do. You know that your characters and not just characters, they're actors. They have costumes, they have scenery that they have to act out in and we tend to minimize the things that were not very comfortable with. So maybe scenery gets minimized on the important scale next to characters and costumes. But let me tell you this. Would you have gone to see Lord of the Rings if they had filmed all the movies inside a white room with maybe a fake tree in the corner? I might have. That actually sounds kind of interesting, but I certainly wouldn't have gone to see the first one nine times in the theater. That's for sure. Backgrounds just make the scene because they are half the scene. How do your characters express where they're going or where they've been or what sort of wonderful journeys they're on, or what fantastic places they're in if you can't draw them? Luckily, if you take this course, I promise you, you will learn at least one useful thing. Hopefully you'll learn all the useful things and you will start to love backgrounds as much as I do. Because it's hard to hate something that you're suddenly getting very good at. So thanks once again for taking this course and I'll see you in video two. 2. Choosing Your Location: Welcome back. The first thing we're going to talk about is what we intend to do in this project. For this project, I want you to work on drawing just a street scene, one scene in a street, not an entire page with panels, not a complicated manifesto of what streets are. Just one scene on a busy street in a city. Seems easy, unless, of course, you're a little scared of backgrounds, because when you heard the words busy city and street may panic just a little bit. Maybe you turn the video off. But don't, keep watching. It's not going to be that difficult. I guarantee that if you follow all the steps and do what you're told and learn a few things along the way, you will be happy with the product that you produce. Now, the question is, where is your street and when is it? Now, when we say busy city street, we say New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, something like that. But we're not really thinking hard enough, I think. Maybe a colony on Mars in the year 3,000 as a busy city street you'd like to draw. Maybe Sherlock Holmes is off on another adventure and you'd like to draw a busy Victorian Street in London. Maybe it's some steampunk world. Maybe it's a busy scene in an ancient Rome. Maybe it's just somewhere other than what you're ordinarily thinking of. That's something to keep in mind. Just keep it in consideration. If it seems a little bit too difficult for you handling both the creative side of that and the technical side of learning perspective, then just stick to a busy street in an ordinary town. Whatever you define as an ordinary town. I'm not trying to tell you what ordinary is. Certainly, nobody tells me it. But while we're going through these next few video lessons, I want you to keep in mind what inspiration you have right now? What is the focus if you want it to be a city street and start paying attention to the videos in the mind of a city street and start gathering city reference, which I'll show you how to do in the next video, it's going to be one on the moon, it's going to be one on the bottom of the ocean, it's going to be somewhere lost in time. Keep that in mind while you're thinking and start to collect a little reference and inspiration for that. But the important thing is to have a goal in mind. Don't just start drawing and think, Well, I guess I'll know what it is when I'm done. It's always nice to do exercises like that, but for a professional artist, you should always have a blueprint. Even if it's not here, it's up here. We'll see you in video 3. 3. Becoming a Reference Ninja: Welcome back. So how do people do this strange thing called reference? A lot of people seem to mistake referencing for tracing, and they think, "I don't want to reference anything that means I'm copying." Well, with tracing, yes, with referencing, absolutely not. The nice thing about being a comic artist is that you're not required to be everything else. You're not required to be an architect, you're not required to be a furniture designer, you're not required to be any of those things. So it's nice to be able to borrow from other people's talents and put them into your book. Nobody expects you to just come up with these things on your own. I can't tell you how many times I've been at a convention and had someone come up and say, "How do you think up all those buildings? How do you think up all of those wonderful things that you put in the background"? Well, I don't, and honestly, a lot of people don't. A lot of the best professionals, use reference, and it can be gotten from anywhere. It can be from around your house, it can be from outdoors, it can be down your street, it can be just about anywhere. Show you what I mean. This is the model that I used when I worked on Bizenghast and it is a model of the cathedral in the middle of the town. It doesn't look like much from the side, but that's because I just made those in photoshop as a side reference. We'll go into model making in a little while, but not right now. The important thing is that this drawing that I did on the front, which was actually just blown up from another drawing that I did, was based almost entirely on a cathedral that I use as reference. I didn't invent this out of my head. Really impressive if I could just invent cathedrals and have them be historically accurate somehow, but nobody expects you to do that. It's all right if you go ahead and look things up. I'm going to show you a montage of some things that I've used for reference and some pictures that I've taken around town to use in my own books and hopefully you'll be inspired to get out your video camera, or if you don't have a digital camera, get one, or even just your iPhone and start taking pictures and really incorporating your surroundings into your own books. Let's take a look. Welcome back to part two of becoming a reference Ninja. Now in the last part, we looked at how you can use all of your own surroundings to make really great backgrounds for your comics. But what happens when you need something for your comic that just isn't around, it isn't in your room, it isn't in your backyard, and it isn't even down the street. Well, that's when we turn to literary reference. Now, I bet you've seen these great big magazines in the bookstore, in the grocery store, and they're like seven bucks a piece, and you think, "Who would buy these?" It's full of nothing but pictures of houses unless I'm shopping for a house, why would I buy it? Well, I don't know who creates these books. I'm assuming people who solely want to cause civil unrest among poor people like me, because there's some really fabulous mansions in here. I don't know anybody who owns a mansion, so I can't just go in there house and look at it, but I can look in here. This book is called Florida Design, and it's just about mansions and all high-end luxury goods that are sold in Florida. Who knew? I don't know who the market is for these people, but I'm just glad that they put out the magazines. Now you can find all things in here, not just architectural reference, although architecture design and all magazines like that have really terrific architecture reference, but you can also find objects, vases, furniture, just flower arrangements, cutlery, kitchen tables, fancy pool tables, anything you could possibly want. The point is we're not opening these up and tracing the pictures out of them, there's no tracing involved, this are just reference because nobody expects you to know every single piece of furniture in the world and draw it from memory. I don't expect you to even know a fourth of every piece of furniture in the world. I'm giving you that. I don't know hardly any of them, but I do know how to spend $7 to get a magazine that has all those wonderful things in it. If you go down to the bookstore or the grocery store to see all magazines like this on every topic you could want. You want went about sailboats, they have sailboats. You want when just about wooden furniture, they have ones about wooden furniture too. They have a magazine for everything it seems. When magazines aren't enough, you can go to the bookstore, Barnes & Noble or anywhere else, I got this at Barnes & Noble and pick up all reference books like Victorian Architectural Details. Again, who is the market? I don't know. I think it's either in the art design section or the reference section, maybe will so check, $12, but all of the architecture details in here are guaranteed Victorian, but also guaranteed very cool. They're just amazing and they're all public domain. This is all stuff from over 100 years ago, and they are perfect. I mean, if you've just drawn your simple basic building and you want to really neat, just kick up a notch with some really terrific details, can't go wrong. For $12, I have used this book over and over for like the last nine years. That is definitely $12 well-spent. Another $12 well spent is a book I got with it at the same place, the same bookstore, Pictorial Archive of Printers Ornaments. Again, public domain, just clip art from another era, and it is wonderful. You can't tell me you would want to use some of these details to put in your art. Whether on clothing, or on backgrounds, or on a building as a freeze or something, just anything. They're just so absolutely wonderful. These books are not expensive and you can use them again and again as the ultimate reference books. Last but not least, I'd like to get other people's subscriptions for things like Restoration Hardware, another book designed to cause civil unrest. But if you wanted to talk high-end fancy, what you may call it, they don't get no high-end or fancier or watch a McCollough than that? I don't know what that is but it's cool. They have all things in here, just crazy things. If you can't use them in your book, you can at least flip through and look at it for inspiration. I love decorator magazines, architectural magazines, all those things. Half the time they just mail into your house for free and if they don't, I'm sure you've got an aunt or an uncle somewhere who has one laying around that they never threw out. They are just terrific. and of course, there is always Google images. If you don't know what a Welsh castle looks like, you know where to go. Just don't scroll down to page two, print one out, and then trace it because we're wise to that trick. But seriously, you really should just use pictures as reference as much as you can whenever you're not sure how to draw something. Because then, eventually you will internalize how to draw that thing, you won't need reference anymore. You'll have drawn so many Victorian chairs, you will know Victorians. You will easily even breathe Victorian chairs. It will be painful and uncomfortable, but you'll do it and you won't need that reference anymore. Then you'll sit down one day and draw it on a sketch at a convention and somebody will say, "You're such a good artist. How do you know how to do that? I don't know how to draw a chair" and you'll say, "It's just reference. It's just referenced baby." Just reference and practice. So do yourself a favor, go down to the bookstore or a magazine shop or wherever, and just pick up a couple of these. Pick out one or two that are very interesting and not too expensive and have a look through them. Maybe, just maybe you'll find something very inspiring. 4. One and Two-Point Perspective: In this lesson, we're going to cover the basics of perspective, the seemingly confusing and difficult things that have to do with this little guy right here, your ruler. He is your friend and he wants you to succeed, so be nice to him because you're going to need an awful lot. What we're going to be covering in this lesson are five basic terms. One-point perspective, two-point perspective, thinking what the third one is, three-point perspective. We're also going to be covering the terms horizon line and vanishing point. So what do all those terms mean and why are they so scary? Well, they're actually not, they're actually not scary at all. Your horizon line is basically where your horizon ends when you look off into the distance and when you look at a landscape right where you stop being able to see things, way in the distance, that's your horizon line. Let's go ahead and set one up right here and about the middle of the page. Now, on your horizon line is where we're going to put our first vanishing point. We're going to work with one-point perspective just at this moment and I'm going to put it right here. A vanishing point is where all the different lines go towards. Let's say you're in a hallway and you want to draw the sides of your walls, and you're looking down the hallway. All of your diagonal lines are going to go towards your vanishing point. That's one-point perspective because you have one vanishing point right down there. You can put in a ceiling and such and such. The horizon isn't the floor. A lot of people seem to think that the horizon is the floor in any picture. It's not, it's meant to be erased. It's just where you put your little dot. But can rough out the end of the hallway. This can be the ceiling, this can be the floor. There is the end of the floor. Erase that and then put in your doors and everything. When you assemble your doors into a hallway and all that, you'll still be using that one point to make sure they are lined up just the way they should be. All these little diagonal lines. So there's your hallway. You can use them for any straight lines for the molding around the door, the framework, all that thing. It's just an easy way of showing one-point perspective where you're looking down something. It can be down a hallway, it can be down one lane of traffic, it can be down a street, anywhere where everything is converging onto one point, that is your one-point perspective, and it's the easiest perspective to master because you've just got the one point. Later on, we'll raise and lower the horizon and play with angles and dynamics. But for right now, this is the most basic thing. You can just keep on going all the way until you have one big corridor or full of doors, and it's very dramatic because it's coming right at you that you love any person. It can just go on and on until you have all your doors and you have one big beautiful hallway. That is not hard at all. In the last video, we talked about one-point perspective, horizon lines, and vanishing points. Store that little list here, in my terrible handwriting. We've covered one-point perspective. Now we're going to move on to two-point perspective, which is a little bit more difficult than one point, but not as difficult as some might think. We've got our little friend, the ruler, and we're going to drop in our horizon line. Now, the thing I didn't tell you in the last lesson is that the lower you put your horizon line, the lower in the scene your viewer will be. So if your horizon line is really low, your viewer is going to be looking up at a really tall building. If your horizon line is really high, your viewer is going to be like a bird in the sky looking down on the building. That's an easy thing to remember, that the horizon is low, then the camera is low. The camera for setting up your seeing, low-horizon, low camera, high horizon, high camera. I'm going to go with medium low. Just maybe medium. We're dropping our little line,let me extend it out a little bit because when we do two-point perspective, it's important to have, unless you want a very, very dramatic fish Islands look, it's important to have your vanishing points or two vanishing points outside the panel of art that you're doing for your comic. I'm going to put one right here, and one right here. If you cram them too close together, it's going to look totally bizarre. It's going to be technically correct, but it's going to be really sharp and angular in just a little bit odd. It may be what you're looking for in some dramatic scenes, but 90 percent of the time it's not what you want. I'm going to draw a building, I can use my ruler and I'm going to take a line from the left one. I make a lot of noises when I draw or do anything, eat cereal, get the mail, whenever, you make a lot of noises, it's sound machine, and another line from the right can have long side of the building and a short side right here. Then I'm going to draw the bottom of building. Now, you don't want to angle it way too down because then you're really going to look dreadfully odd. You want the corner to be right here, obviously where the lines meet. Zip like that. Should keep the bottom somewhere towards the horizon line. It's best to eyeball it to see what is good for your scene because it's different for everybody. But I like mine right there. So I'm going to draw the end of the building, and the other end, which is a little bit shorter because this is the short side of the building. It's like a long rectangle like a factory or something. We'll take out our horizon line on top of the building. There is your box, which has all building is most of the time. Unless it's that thing at Epcot Center, that's a giant golf ball. We don't have a giant golf ball lesson in this course, but maybe in the next one. Next time on giant golf balls. There is your building, your big rectangular box. It's not hard to do. See how I'm adding a door in here. Pick the top of the door out with my vanishing point. Vanishing points and rulers are your best friends. They love you so much. Check it out. They love you because you can do just about everything on your building with just a point and a ruler, and some sound effects. I can add in a gallery of windows. A row of windows is called a gallery, or at least it is in some architecture. We learn that in school. A lot of people ask me, "How did you learn all these things?" Where do you go to learn them? I said, "Well, I learned them in school." They say, "Oh, you can learn things in school?" Granted a lot of the people who ask me that, are in high school and are at that age where we all went through where we know more than everybody on the entire planet because we're teenagers. Everybody goes through that phase. Your teachers actually know how to do things, speaking of which I'm adding in these windows right now, just a row of Windows, and I'm not taking good care to see how they're going to be spaced out because obviously they all have to be equal sizes, but in perspective because that is a lesson that is coming up. That's a fast trick that's coming up in this course that is so cool. When I showed it to someone on a page that I had drawn, they said, "Oh, my teacher showed us that in art class. I didn't think anybody actually used that. I didn't think professionals use that." I said, "Well, what did you think we do? They're I just figured not." I'm like, "Oh yeah, look at me. I'm a graphing calculator. I eat and sleep lines." No, I eat and sleep rice crispy treats. But no, that's an actual thing that actual people do. I learned it from my professor and it's the most useful thing in the world sometimes. But you see how you can just start adding your windows, you start adding your decorations. Once you have everything squared away, you can start doing the molding and do like an edge for your building. Start giving it a little bit of character, build it out, maybe put a little maintenance shed on top. See how everything is just coming together with just these two points. Great. It's got like a little maintenance shed up here, a big maintenance shed, I guess. It does have boilers. I have no idea. I've got no infrastructure. But I do know that this has a little door in it for the janitor to go in. That's where he keeps his really tall brooms, his tall brooms are in here. There's a Ninja turtle on top. He's patrolling the scene. He's just making sure everybody's doing what they're supposed to and all this perspective is in order and nothing's going down. It's Danny, you can tell. He's got a good staff. He's like, wow, no crime here, better go climb up on some other half-finished building. But that's all there is to it. It's just a simple little box that with a little bit of effort and a ruler and two lines right here, maybe there's a little tiny building in the background just around the corner with just a little bit of effort. Two points and a ruler, you can have a whole row of buildings, you can have a whole cityscape You can have building back here. It's doing other buildings stuff. It's gone. There's a guy in the window and he's like, "Oh my God, there's a turtle on the building. Why doesn't anybody believe me?" It's all Hitchcock's, it's rear window, I love it. "Collins, you got to come see this." Sorry, I'm a little ridiculous, but you can have a whole map of buildings just by using these two points. I hope you enjoyed that. After you practice this, of course, get ready to move on to something very difficult, three-point perspective. It's one more point, but a whole new dimension of skill. So I'll see you then. 5. Three-Point Perspective: Once again, we are talking about horizon lines, vanishing points and perspective. Now we are going onto three-point perspective. Easily, the most difficult and least understood of perspectives. Three-point perspective was created almost solely to look down on things. So it's very haughty. When Superman is flying over a city and looking down on it, that's when you use three-point perspective, when you're looking down at the rooftop of a building or something like that, that's three-point perspective any bird's eye view. That's because in previous videos when I showed you one and two-point perspective, we had just our up and down lines are straight lines parallel to the side of the panel, perpendicular to the horizon. All of our up and down lines we're just straight up and down but that was because you're looking away at the horizon. You're standing on the plane of existence and looking across it. When you're up in the air and looking down on it, things obviously change and you need a third point of perspective to express that. You'll notice I've extended my horizon quite a bit and that's because you should always, for 3 point perspective have a lot of distance between your points and have them outside the panel. Put them inside the panel, it's going to look boarders. I don't know if it's going to be technically accurate but it's going to be straight up 200 percent bananas. You just do not want it to look like that. So I'm going to put mine right here, I'm not going to take them too far. Actually I'll just put that right there, just a little bit outside. Now our third point, which is for the ground, happily enough goes down like the ground. He's going to go way down here. What you want to have in your three-point perspective is a shape like this between your points of perspective. You don't want a big fat triangle like this because it's just going to warp it, you want it nice and skinny looking. So I've got my points right there and I'm about to draw, let's say the top of the building. For three-point perspective, we use the all mighty extra long ruler because he is cool. I'm going to make it a little bit more dramatic, I'm going to move it right in here. Why not? It's my drawing. You don't own me, you not the boss of me. Several people are but nobody in this video is. Now, before I do that, I'm going to go down to my little bottom point here, all the way down here. I'm going to put in one of my parallels. It's going straight up and down because it's right in the middle of the panel. Then from there, I can just work like we did before. You see how it's very similar to what we were doing before but instead of having one side of a building and another side of a building, now you've got one plane but you're expressing four corners of that plane. That looks nice. When you erase, your little guidelines and your horizons and your whatnots and what have used. Leave the triangle people at the top because they're cool they're not bothering anybody. You have the roof of your building. Now I don't want you to focus too much on putting lots of detail into this and making it look pretty and well it doesn't quite look like a building, it just looks like a square. That's fine. We're just working with blocks and shapes right now. Starting slow and building up, trying to make this as easy as possible for people who have always found perspective to be a little bit bewildering, myself included. I didn't learn this stuff for quite awhile, I thought it was so difficult and I would just go out of my way to avoid drawing things. I had these great scenes in my head but I would be too afraid to draw them so I was afraid I was going to screw it up. I did screw it up quite a lot, an awful lot but I kept going, I kept trying and eventually, it turns out that I love drawing buildings just because it's so satisfying to have them come out perfect and have people go, "Oh, I love your buildings. I can't draw that nice so I'm not going to try". What? Trying already. So you could see how even though my point is way down here, it's still pretty close in terms of three-point perspective. It's still pretty close to the other two. So my building is very dramatically angled, but it's not too dramatic. It's not too completely unbelievable, it's just the right amount of believable. It's very up there, up high. If the lower you put your third point, the lower down and the longer piece of paper you get, the more it'll even out and look a little bit more mundane but I like this nice dramatic angle. That's why people find three-point perspective difficult as well as they have to get a really big piece of paper because all the lines go right off. I roomed with a girl at college who was working on a project where she had the piece of paper taped up to her wall next to her bed and she had a gigantic ruler that was like a yardstick and she was using that to work on this very complicated perspective. Way more dedicated than I was at that point but you see how this is the top of your building, you can start putting in your little galleries and windows. Windows always make things really more interesting and easier for people to see out of. But you see how it all comes together. You've got little edge around the inside of the top with the gutter type thing so people don't walk off the edge of the building. You see how we can do that and then you can just keep on using your points to build more buildings in the background. Then you have your windows here. I keep saying windows and then not drawing because I keep getting distracted by how much I like the top of the building. A lot of people say, "Oh, how can you like drawing backgrounds? I hate drawing backgrounds.'' I say, "That's just because you don't know how. It's easy to hate something if you don't know how to do it." Once you learn how to do it, you're never going to want to stop. You're going be like, ''Oh my God. Did you see that new background I drew today?'' ''Yes Marty, we saw it. Yes, so interesting.'' ''You really don't know, what if you want to see it?'' ''No, we don't want to see it. Just shut up.'' ''You sure? it's really cool.'' Very exciting. Now you can have your little rooftop scene where it's night time there's a fugitive on the top of the building and oh my God, he's got a gun and he is like "Give me the money or I will shoot". The person is over here she's like, "I don't have money, I just have a bag of donuts. What's the matter with you? I just came up here to eat my donuts.'' He's like "What? If you don't have any money, give me your donut". The donut brief. It's very dramatic, very awesome and it's a great way to have a triumphal scene at the end of one your chapters. So that is three-point perspective in a nutshell and I hope you enjoyed that but that's all we're going to talk about on three-point perspective for this course because it's not really going to come up for the rest of the project. It takes an awful lot of practice just on your own trying to get it right so please keep practicing and checkout the appended resources that I put in the course to help you practice this. They're going to share the donuts. 6. Let's Play With Blocks!: In this next section which is called, playing with blocks, we're going to be doing just that because that's all that buildings are. Are just big blocks. Remember in the last lessons when I talked to you about one and two point perspective, we put down our horizon line and our vanishing points. I mentioned that sometimes the placement of vanishing points can make a building look wrong. It can make a scene look a little weird. I've heard people ask, "Well, how could that be if I'm using it correctly? If I'm using prospective correctly, how can it be wrong?" Well, technically, it can be right, but it's not the way that humans see the world. You can end up with a bizarre fish eye lens look where everything's coming at you and very close to you in the middle and so rapidly receding around the edges, and that's not usually how humans see the world. If that's how you see the world, please see your doctor. I made this little block right here out of paper, pretty cute, and this is the one thing that a lot of newer artists have a problem with. They say, "How come when I want to draw a building, they always come out looking like this with a corner right there and one side and another side and it just looks like that, like a big cube just facing you at the corner?" That is because you're not watching where you put your vanishing points. If your vanishing points are exactly the same distance away from that middle line, well naturally you are always going to get a big block and it will always be pointed corner straight at you. It's technically accurate, but it's not very interesting. That's not really how humans really look at things. Most times when you walk around a building, you see most of one side of a building. Unless you're standing on the very corner and looking straight at the building from a certain angle, you're almost always going to see one side more than you see the other. Like on my block here, when I tilt it like this, you see more of the pink side and less of the yellow. Turn it the other way and the other way. That is because if this were on a piece of paper, like if I had drawn this, as I turn it, as I come more over to the pink side, the yellow side, you can see less of it and that is because the perspective lines, the little vanishing point that is in charge of this side gets closer and closer to the block, while this one, they get further and further away and your vanishing points gets further away until it's all the way across the room. Until you've got a perfect head on square front of a building at which case the vanishing points would just be parallel. They wouldn't disappear towards anywhere. But when you turn it back, as you turn it, they would come closer and closer. So the lesson here is, the less you want to see a one side of the building, the closer your vanishing point has to be, the more you want to see of one side, the further away it should be. Simple enough to learn. Let's try that building again. Let's put down our corner and let's put our vanishing point over here and then maybe another one a little bit closer but still pretty far off. We got one, two and you see that's a much better angle. That's a much more dynamic building. We could put the edge in right there, maybe much shorter edge over here and you can see more of this side of the building because this point is further away. Just to reiterate, the further away your vanishing point, the more you'll see that side of the building in two point perspective, closer it is. Now, you don't want to move it so close up, like right here where suddenly your building looks like that. It will look like an envelope at this point because that will just reinforce that fish eye look. In addition, I haven't told you where to put your lines for the bottom of the building. That's an easy thing. The closer you are to the building, the further down your lines should go. If you're standing right up against the corner, that thing with your nose in the corner, it will be all the way down here because the bottom of the screen, the bottom of your panel that is, if we're thinking like directors, so it's the screen, that's where you're looking, that's where you are. The horizon line because that's the furthest we can see, the horizon is as far as you can see when you stand on a plane. The closer your bottom of the building is to the horizon, the further away it's going to be because it's sitting further away. If that makes sense to you? If we erase all the lines, just go with our furthest away line. Take our horizon here. We've got a building that's fairly far away, fairly far away and covered in eraser bits. See, we've just got our little building right there, get some door there to make it interesting. Its a warehouse building. I like to draw a warehouse like anytime. I don't know, I find them fascinating, you will too. That is your building right there. Now, say you wanted to add a closer building, a building smacked dead in front of it. Obviously, the bottom of that building, since it's closer to you, be closer down like this. Closer to the bottom of the page. I'm effing this up. Not too bad. You've got a block in front. Things that are in front, their edges obviously, they go down. Things that are back. It's not rocket science. I've seen rocket science, this isn't it. I know a guy who does rocket science. There's the top of the building and like I said, you're just using your two lines. Just using your two points in your lines to make all this happen. You've got a box in front of a box. Maybe it's another building, who knows? You can build an entire cityscape around that, put a big tall building right behind the first and after a little bit of a time lapse, to erase all the extra lines around and make it a little bit darker here and there. You can see how these three shapes really come together all in the same space and that's really all there is to it. 7. Let's Fake It!: This video is entitled, Let's fake it. It's just a really quick overview of a rule that I wanted to discuss with you. Not going to be technically learning anything new in this one just a little bit of advice. You'll notice I have the first picture that I drew for you in one-point perspective with my horizon line and my perfect little vanishing point and all my lines going towards it. I've sketched it out a little bit looser now and taken out some of that hard, perfectly straight-edged line effect in it. For two reasons. One is just a style choice, you don't want everything to be just antiseptic, perfect, straight, clean lines all the time unless you're going for that as a style choice. If you're in some scary science lab or government facility, then having all the perfect lines converging can sell it as a scary area. But not necessarily if you just want a nice friendly hallway in somebody's' house. That's partly because humans don't see perspective exactly the way we've described it. In a perfect world if we all lived on a very flat planet, all these mathematics and geometry and when you looked into the distance, everything would converge on a very specific similar point. But we don't live on a flat earth, we live on a round earth. If that's news to you, you should stop this video and maybe go watch some other more important videos. We live like that, we have atmospheric distortion because of the air, and we take pictures of things with cameras, even the best cameras have some distortion. I'd like to show you a little picture I have up here. This is an image that I clipped from a magazine. You see it's a nice example of perfect one-point perspective. It's got the lines going all the way down like this, all the way up like this, everything is leading down to one point of respective. That's right around this area right here. Every line in the back, all of them and yet, when I put it on a light box and actually trace those lines for you, you can see that they don't all go to the very same spot. They get in a general area of it, but they don't go perfectly. That's because nothing is ever truly perfect in this world and never is that more true than with perspective. It's important not to get too hang up on having everything be just right. Because oftentimes when things are just right, they look just a little bit wrong to our eyes. There is such a thing as too technically accurate. It's okay if you have a door and you say, "Technically my line should be going perfectly right to this, but I like it better like this. It looks a little bit more natural to me. I don't know why." Go with that feeling, it's okay. If it looks a little odd to you to have it just absolutely perfect, it might look a little odd to your readers, or your fans, or whoever follows your art if you're not comic book artist. But it's okay to go ahead and just forge it a little bit. When you do a giant three-point perspective, or when you have many little buildings right here and you go in and you start adding lots and lots of buildings in the background. Don't drive yourself crazy going to every single one and referencing every one of those and, "Oh my God, it's always got to be just perfect. It has to be just perfect." Because you're going to lose the forest for the trees. It's all right. At a certain point when things are received in a distance, they start to make less sense. They start to get a little wiggly and a little bit odd, that's fine. That's atmospheric distortion. Humans can't see all the way to the end of the horizon, if we could, we'd be freaking amazing. But also we just can't because there's too much atmosphere in the way. Things get a little distorted in the background once you get too far away. That's okay, don't drive yourself mad spending 20 hours trying to get a picture just right and thinking that everybody's going to wag a finger at that one building that's not just right. As a matter of fact, let me tell you right now, the most important thing in being a comic artist is learning how to budget your time and meet your goals, and meet your publishing deadlines to be specific. Every convention I've ever done, every workshop I've ever done where people have asked, "What's the best thing I can do to be a great artist?" Meet your deadlines. I don't care how you have to meet them, I don't care if you have to stay away for three days straight like I've done before. Meet your deadlines. Everything else it is talent, it is hard work, and has all of that, and having a vision. But more than anything, publishers want you to meet your deadlines. If you have to really sell it on the front buildings right here, and then just maybe sell it not quite so much in the back, maybe freehand a bunch of these little buildings and just give it a looking promise, that is fine. In fact, in some cases, especially if you're on a deadline that is encouraged. I just wanted to maybe ease your woes after you were possibly wigging out after those last set of lessons, thinking about all these specific rules that you have to remember about perspective. It's all right. Comic books are fun, they are silly sometimes, you can have all strange buildings that lean over and crowd the scene and don't work just the way that buildings usually do. That's perfectly okay, as long as I'm in the building somewhere. 8. The Coolest Trick You'll Ever Learn: Now, this fast trick is called the coolest trick ever because it literally is the coolest trick ever. Now, earlier in some videos I was mentioning how I didn't bother to space out windows or doors when they were lined up in perspective, because I was going to show you a really cool trick to do that very quickly. This is that trick, you are going to love this. I know I loved it when I learned it in school. Let's say you have a wall. Let's just say that you have a wall going off in perspective. See the edge or wall is here, it's on a street. Maybe it's got railings on it or it's just a long wall with some divided sections and you want them to all be perfect in perspective. Now what you could do is you can sit there agonizingly trying to draw out every single one just a little bit closer together as you get down there and that's never going to work out right, it's always going to look weird. Luckily, you don't have to do that, you are going to love this. Now, let's take our wall and it's got the two sides on either side right there. So it's just a big extended rectangle. What you want to do, let's take a pencil not your pen because we're going to be erasing these lines later, is go from the top corner of one side to the bottom corner of the other and draw a line. Do the same for the other two corners. Now you have an X, right where that X meets, draw your first railing, divider, or whatever it is that you want to measure. Now you have a second box, a second smaller box inside the first one. Just go ahead and draw that X again inside the smaller box from one opposite corner to the other. Where that X meets, we draw another divider. See what I'm getting out here? As the box gets smaller and smaller, just keep drawing X's from one corner to the other. This is such a great trick, it is fantastic because you can do this on and on and on, it's a mathematical infinity. All the way across just as many times as you want, just keep dividing and dividing and you will get perfect spacing. Once you are all finished, you will just be so amazed. I'm going to put a lot of line here just to show you how it looks. Remember, we erase our little crisscrossing lines and take a look at it. But this is just the most. It seems like you would only use it for, "Maybe I'll just use it when I draw like a railing on a wall or something outside." No, you can use it for everything. You can use it for floorboards, you can use it for train tracks. It doesn't just have to be on the side, it can be on the bottom, it can be anything you want. I like to use it to match up windows on the sides of a building. You don't have to just use this in one-point perspective, it can be used in two or three, anywhere where you have a vanishing point. You can just keep on going and it is just fantastic. Let me show you what I have so far. See once I get all those diagonal pencil lines off, do you see how those just keep on going and just keep going and they'll just get smaller and smaller off onto the distance? That is so much fun to do, it's never not fun, it's never not great. This is the trick where I showed it to someone once and they said, "My art teacher taught me that in high school, I didn't think professionals actually use that." Of course, we do. It's fantastic. You can use it for like I said, windows, a hallway with doors in it, anywhere where you have a bunch of items that are parallel to each other and the same size and you want to draw them in perspective, anything at all. You can use it on a ceiling, if you have a ceiling and a hallway and you have a whole bunch of light fixtures, even round ones just keep drawing those X's to find out where to put them all the way down. If you've got a pattern on the floor like diamond patterns on tile floors you can use it for that too anything that has parallel lines going off into the distance, this is so useful. So great, oh my god, I just love it. Smiley face, A plus, star sticker 2, that's how great it is. This is such a fun trick and like I'm so fond of saying, this is a very fast trick. 9. Fast Trick: Instant Street: Here's a fast trick for drawing a busy street that doesn't take a lot of time to do. That's why it's called a fast trick. Let's say you need a street scene in a hurry. It's one that you plan on drawing over and over from many different angles but you don't have time to go out and find a street. The best street, the street for you and take a million pictures from every conceivable angle. Plus it's raining. Who wants to go out when its raining? Here's something you can do that will help you draw it at home. What you'll need is a sheet of foamcore or cardboard, either way, extra-large 399 joint. On the other side, you will print out and paste little blocked out architectural details that you have done up in Photoshop. These are just squares of computer paper wherein I went into Photoshop and dropped in a couple of little shapes in black and white, then printed about and pasted them right onto the board. They're pretty great. There are pretty simple, but you don't need a whole lot of detail. You just need the basic gist of what your street is going to look like so that you can draw it easily in perspective from many different angles and add the detailing later. You can even do little indented storefronts like I did. Simply, by cutting and gluing little pieces and bending the paper outwards. I also add little balconies with little extra pieces of foam. It's just a very simple design and then when you're ready to draw your street, make two of them. Put them right up so that you can angle them like a street. Go in with your digital camera and take pictures from any angle you want. Now you have a portable street that you don't have to go outside to photograph. Now that's a fast trick. 10. Let's Get Tall, Let's Get Small!: This next lesson is called let's get tall, let's get Small. For that, we will also need our trusty ruler. Now, we've gone over what perspective is and how it works. But what can it do for you and how should you use it? You spent a lot of time learning perspective now it's time for perspective to give back. Well, you'll notice I have a little boxy building, little legal building. I have my horizon line low down here. One-point perspective vanishing point right over there and I've drawn my building. Now, this is to show you exactly how you can achieve bigger or smaller sizes in your buildings and in your backgrounds and how you can achieve different camera angles. Whether you want to be very low to the ground looking up on a building or very high looking down on a building. Now we're not going to go back into three-point perspective on this. We're just looking right now from one and two-point perspective, but you can still get pretty high without having to work out three-point perspective. Now, right now I've just drawn this little building right here. It a good distance away from us the viewer, or the camera man or the director, whoever you wish to think of yourself. My vanishing point is all the way over here. You'll notice, it's a very narrow angle of this little triangle. Your vanishing point always creates a little triangle between your building and the point. That degree rate there is very small. It's less than 45 degrees. It's keeping it really narrow. That is to demonstrate the fact that the narrower you go with your little lines here, the further away things are going to see. Now let's take a look at the same building, but with a much wider angle. This building is sneaking up on us. Oh, my God it's all up in our grills. Now the horizon is exactly the same place where it was on the last picture. The vanishing point is exactly the same place where it was on the last picture. But I've widen the angle greatly on these two guiding lines right here, and that has brought the building much closer to us. What also helps is the fact that this bottom line has now moved further down from the horizon. As I said in a previous video, the further down you bring the bottom on the horizon, the closer that the structure will be to you, the viewer. You can see it's gotten much bigger and it's now looming at us. Now, what I mentioned before in a video was when you want to show yourself getting higher of it. Right now we look like we're standing a little bit above the size of a ordinary human. Quite a bit actually because we're looking down on this door. This door seems to be heed the doors below the horizon line so we're much taller than we would be if we were simply standing on the street and looking at this building. If we wanted it to be a little bit closer to a normal human being standing and looking at this building the door would not be below the horizon line. Now I mentioned, like I said, that you should always move the horizon line to control whether or not you are high up in the air or low down on the ground. But that's a little bit confusing. Some people think that moving the horizon line up in the picture, simply means that it will be better. Let's take a look here. You'll notice I moved the horizon line but I don't seem to have moved. I'm still just slightly taller than this door, I'm not looking way down on the building. That is because the amount of space from the horizon line to the bottom of the building is still very similar. No matter where you put the horizon line in the picture, actually doesn't make much of a difference unless you also compensate by moving the building down. Yes, raising the horizon line will help the composition of your picture. But your building is still going to look like you're looking at it from the very same angle unless you move the building down. Now, the more of your structure is underneath the horizon line, the straight little horizon line. The more the structures underneath it, the more you are looking down on it, the more it's above it, the more you're looking up on it. So a really small person would be looking at a building that would maybe have the top of it going way off towards the top of the panel. The very bottom of the building would just barely go below the horizon. Just barely if that. I don't want to sit straight on the horizon that looks a little bit odd. Can sometimes break your composition. But if this was the building that we were looking at and I draw the door in here, a little bit higher, obviously. Hope you can hear the cars honking outside. What can they say? Sorry, I live in the city. At least not known for being quiet. You can see how we're already looking up at this building from a very small perspective. In fact we are now much smaller than the door. [inaudible] windows here. Little hastily drawn buildings. You can see how we're already looking at. Now this one, we're obviously looking down at it because the door is angling below like that. We want to have things overhead. It's got to hang up like that. You see that proves that even if you raise the horizon you have to compensate by moving all the buildings downwards in order to give you a bird's eye view. If you move the horizon down very far, I can do that in our first picture to the bottom of the page and then decide to just go way up on this building. Huge on this building. See have our building and once again take it very just below the horizon line, just barely. Then, we will be very tiny. Very tiny indeed. Looking up at a very tall angled building. Wow that's still a big door, the huge about big doors. It's okay, let's add another color to the top. You see now how we're now looking upwards. In order to control your bird's eye view and you're worm's eye view. I don't know why warm way a worm's eye view like worms are really that preoccupied and looking up at buildings. No, I don't like caterpillar eye view or mouse eye view. I like mouse eye view. We put mouse in here. He's like all look at buildings. Maybe them buildings have chosen. Here there's feet began. If you want to have someone looking up dramatically at a building, that buildings bottom should just barely grazed below the horizon line. You want them looking down. You should move very down towards the horizon. If you want them way up in the air. Just way of looking across all gallery of buildings then, can drawing over a picture. I'm sorry, to have a building like this where this is the top of the building. We're still working on one-point perspective, since it's turning into three point perspective. Luckily for some of us. But if that's the top of the building inside of that x, then that is completely below the horizon. The more you go below the horizon, the higher you are, the more you stay above it, the lower you are and it is really that simple. 11. Populating Your Scene: Now we're going to talk about populating your scene. Obviously, if we're going to be drawing a busy city street, you need a lot of people. A lot of people on the street makes it busy, not a lot of people on the street makes it Detroit. But what is it that goes into making a successful busy street full of crowds? Obviously, figure drawing, which unfortunately, is not something we're covering in this course. But I'm sure there are a lot of other courses on Skillshare that will help you with that. I've also included some reference materials so that you can maybe take a few brush-up courses on drawing people and make your scene come to life a little bit better. Obviously, I'm not going to cover how to draw people, but I will tell you how to draw crowds because crowds are an integral part of backgrounds. Anybody who is not talking at the camera or one of your main characters is usually part of a background crowd, and they're just as much as scenery as anything else. They're just a scenery that moves around. So why don't we get started learning how to delineate crowds. 12. Fast Trick: Instant Crowd: Here's a really cool fast trick that will help you draw large amounts of people in a small amount of space. Crowds can be kind of tough for people to draw, even if they have good figure drawing skills, because there's just so many people to keep track of. You don't know how far away to put people in the background, how close to put them in the foreground, but hopefully, this will help you out. What you'll need is just a piece of scrap paper, a pair of scissors, and a black marker. I like to use dot matrix paper. Cut a strip of the paper off and fold it in half, then in half again. Now cut along the folds and you'll have four equal size pieces. Be sure that they're the same size because that's really going to help your scaling. Now with your marker, draw four little people. You don't have to make them super detailed, just a little stick figures will be fine, and be sure to put a line just under their feet. Now take your scissors and cut around the people as close as you can get to them but keep the space under their little line under their feet vacant. Now fold along the line backwards so that the people stand up. Now you have perfect little paper models that you can use as reference for any sort of large crowd scene. You can use your camera to get down close to the ground and put them in perspective. Put some close to the front of the camera and some far away. Make a ton of them and you can have a great little crowd of people. You can even go back and make little child-size ones for child-size people and big size one for giants. Anything you want to make you can do because you control the scaling. If you've got the models to do it, you can even make an entire little crowd inside your model of your scene. This is such a great trick to use because it takes literally minutes to do, but it saves you hours and hours of redrawing and guessing all the perspective on your crowd. When you're done, you can add a little paper disco ball and have paper DJ. Have yourself a little paper party and that is a very fast trick. 13. Creating Believability: Now that you've learned how to lay a strong foundation for your backgrounds, how do you really sell your scenery as a living, breathing location? Creating believability in backgrounds means paying attention to all the little details that often go unnoticed in your everyday life. Things like street signs, graffiti, cracks in the pavement, and even the litter on the sidewalk. All of these things will give life and personality of your scene and help make your characters appear to really be interacting with their environment. This lesson's section will cover a few steps towards putting the finishing details on your street scene. 14. Building Details and Signage: Now, that we've become masters of perspective, or at least extremely diligent students of perspective. I don't know if anybody is ever really a master of perspective, I think there's always something that can be learned. But now that we've gotten through all of that, what are we going to do about this box? Because I don't know about you, but this doesn't look like a building to me. It looks like a building in a very lousy sense. I don't think even Batman would stand on this building. I'm going to draw a building that Batman would stand on. I think he would laugh at this building and go stand on a garbage truck rather than stand on this. Why don't we start to make it look a little bit more like a building. Now, this is often the hardest part for up-and-coming artist. How do you make a building look like a building? Well, the easiest way is to go look at some damn buildings. Well, the easiest way is to go look at some buildings. I know that seems ridiculous, but actually if you look at buildings then you learn what buildings look like, isn't it just that startling? Right now I'm putting in some cornices. Cornices, I like saying that. I took a lot of classes in art school. No way really, there's more to that sentence. I took a lot of classes in art school that were just about architecture. One of my favorites was Gothic architecture. I learned the parts of just every single piece of a Gothic cathedral. I know a finial from a crocket, and yes, there are things called crockets. They're on top of the spires. Anyways, it's important as artist to learn at least the names of things on buildings. For instance, anything that's decorative and it's just a big line of stuff at the top of a building, what you may not notice until you actually drive around and look at the top of buildings. I would drive around Philly all day and just look at all the wonderful old buildings that we have. But stuff at the top is often called molding. Not molding like it's gross and its moulding. M-O-U-L-D-I-N-G. Can you hear that plane going overhead? Because I can. Moulding because it's molded. But there are a lot of very simple elements that you can incorporate to start making a building look like a building. For one thing, look what I'm doing. I'm just putting a bunch of lines and little details at the top. That's always an instant seller, that sells building to me. But it depends obviously, on what kind of a building you're drawing. Obviously, like I said, the easiest way is to just go out and look at a building or like we talked about in our reference lessons, use your reference. Use your reference, dudes, it's there to help you, just like your friend, the ruler, who is doing his best to help you draw this building, but he doesn't know much about buildings. He only knows lines. He has a burning desire to draw lines, and that's about it. You're going to have to help him out by being your own research assistant, getting that reference. Like I said before, it's really not expected of artists that they should just instantly be born knowing what a building looks like, what several kinds of buildings look like, or even what kind of windows look good. When you're driving around town, you should be noticing cool buildings and going, "Oh, my God, I'm going to put that in my next book. That is so cool. I'm going to go home and draw that. That's fantastic." You should want to collect them like pogs. You should get out there and just see pogs. For crying out loud, I'm so old, string cheese and fruitopia, [inaudible] movies on VHS. That's right, kids, I'm over 30. Oh, my God, when I was your age, we didn't have the Internet. Anyways, you should get out and actually look at the buildings around you because you have no idea how cool buildings can be until you actually bother to look at them. Most people never do. They just think, building. I have to go in here to go to the dentist. I have to go into here to shop for food. I have to go in here to blah blah blah blah. There are so many wonderful details on buildings that I feel bad for the architects because they put so much thought into sculpting and moulding all wonderful details that nobody ever really notices, except architects, which is unfortunate. It's unfortunate. It should be appreciated by the people who are walking around and using the building. If you live in a big city, go on and look at all those beautiful old stone buildings if you have them. They're just wonderful. There's just a wealth of information out there. I can't believe it's so easy to get a rep for being good at architecture and backgrounds and everything just by looking at stuff. People will be like, "Oh, my gosh, you live in a building so much [inaudible] Oh, my God, so great. How do you think that up?" I'm like, oh, well, I use reference and they just skip right over that word and hear, oh, well, I'm a genius and I make it up out of my own head, it's so great. Sometimes I wake up being smart. It's just they turn to kill us. Even when I want to give credit to the architects who built the buildings that I just drew people think that, oh, my God, she did it. She's amazing. You will go very far if you learn to love buildings and especially like I do, I love buildings like more than a friend. Like, oh, my God, don't tell him I said that. But seriously, these are some pretty terrible windows but I'm just leaving them in there for now. Buildings are not hard to do when you just get all the design and the decoration, and learn a few things about architecture. Learn all the little bits at the bottom of a building are. Learn words like skirting and when [inaudible] and words like that. All decorative things. I'm not telling you, you have to put a giant flipping gargoyle on top of every one of your buildings to make it look cool. All you got to do is just take a little time and patience to work on it. In fact, what I'm doing right now, sometimes it just means adding a bunch of lines in between. You'll notice I've just been adding a whole bunch of horizontal lines in between things and it really sells it a lot better. These windows are making me [inaudible] , but that's because these windows kind of bite. But that's because they're leftover from the last lesson. If I wanted to, I go back and do them, but you know what? They're fine the way they are. Just give them a couple little crossbars here, Some lattice work, or whatever, I don't know, I'm spout in terms at this point. In Gothic cathedrals that those stained glass windows and everything, you'll notice on stained glass windows, they always have that thick black outline to all the pictures of the saints and everything and all that because there's really is that black thick line. It's made of lead and it's called bar tracery. Bar tracery. Saw an episode of Project Runway recently, where a fellow was trying to recreate that on a costume or on a dress. He's like, "I wanted all the colors in the middle and then the black lines between those stained glass." They always have those black lines and I'm just like bar tracery. That's what it's called. It's fun to know things. It's just fun to know things that don't often come up. But when they do, you're the smartest person in the room for like three seconds. Batman would like, totally hang out on this building now. You'd be all like, "I'm the knight," and people would be like, "That's great, the knight, can you get off of our building, you're spooking our customers," and he is like, "I work alone," and they're like, "That's really terrific. Do we have to bribe you. Could you go be the knight alone somewhere else?" He's like, "This city needs me," and were like, "We need you to get off the building." But totally looks cool up there. There you have it. All I can say for adding details and touches to your buildings is to just research them, like I said in the reference episode. Just get a lot of different magazines. The ones I have right here I'm not sure if they're going to show up well, or just are highlighted. But you'll see they have wonderful designs really interiors and exteriors of buildings. They're things that you would never even think of. Never in a million years would you think, "I could do that design on a building." Why? Rely on what's just in your head. When you can put things in your head, then draw from them. Every piece of reference that you work within your life becomes a part of your own mental personal library. So in the future when you need a door and you go, "I've drawn a door. I drew a door like this before. I used reference for it and now I know what it looks like." Or vaguely, I can remember it, and you draw it and people go, "How do you make that up out of your own head?" I didn't. I saw a picture of it years ago. Looks cool. It really just is that simple. Put that book back. "I want a donut." "If we give you a donut, will you get off the building?" "Maybe. I'm the knight. I'm now wearing hockey pads." "Okay, Batman, you stay up there and we will move on to the next lesson." Now it's time to finally talk about creating believability in your scenery. That means three things; signs, foliage, and wear and tear. We're going to start with signs first. Batman left by the way, he took his donut and booked it. A signage is incredibly important and you can tell I worked in retail because I call it signage. I don't know why they put ag on the end of everything. I don't know. The signs are very important because it's very rare that you walk around in a city, a town, or anywhere, even a suburb with absolutely no signs anywhere. It's like some spooky episode of the Prisoner or something I don't know. But human beings are visual creatures and we love to put words on things. We put words on everything, put words on the ground. We write words in the sky with planes, we put words everywhere. So it's important that we have words in our comic books. Because otherwise no one's really going to believe that it's a building. Because even if you don't really think about all the signs that you see in all the words that you see in your day-to-day when you're walking around. You're going to find it very very odd to look at a building in a comic that has no words on it. You're going to say, "I guess it's a building but there's something missing." You wonder what it is, but it will be there. Now, what should this building be? Good lettering. Wayne Donuts. That's right. The Wayne family owns this donuts factory. Maybe that's where Batman got his donuts from. He and Bruce Wayne must be good friends. They seem to hang out a lot. Wayne Donuts. Now obviously you don't have to do a ridiculous sign in the background every time. But I always tell people when they say, "What's the most fun about drawing comics?" I say, "Drawing the backgrounds" and they say, "Are you kidding me?" Then I hit them and run away. But I usually say, "No, I'm not because one of the most fun things you can do in backgrounds is do ridiculous signs. The ridiculous signs and inside jokes. The entire series of bits and guessed is just I think one big Inside joke with a cover story to hide most of it." All that stuff Dinah, Vincent, and everybody are doing together for those eight books. It's just a cover for all the ridiculous stuff I put in the background. There's hundreds of things that I hide in the back that there's a city scene where practically every sign, even if it looks completely innocuous to you, is a ridiculous reference to something that I liked, was watching at the time, or thought was funny, something like that. That's the wonder of signs. Signs are extremely fun to do because you could put anything in them. But it's not just having signs on the fronts of buildings and everything. There are street signs everywhere looking a suburb, a cul-de-sac, anywhere. You will see them. They're there, at the corner of Wayne and Donut. That's a red versus blue reference somewhere in there. But signs are literally everywhere. Maybe there's a sign that says, "Do not park." How many signs can you see just within, I want to say 50 paces of your house? Now, I know if he if you lived where I live with my parents in the woods in Connecticut for a couple years. You probably won't see that many, but you will only see numbers on the mailboxes. But if you don't live in the backwoods of, God knows where, you will see an awful lot of signs. Even if you don't see signs sometimes, you see flyers. Flyers are everywhere, especially in the city. Come see my band jam. Stickers on things. People loved to stick their band stickers on everything. Stops sign that somebody has written on. Even if you're not the person who likes graffiti, if you're drawing a city, a building, or somewhere, you know there's going to be graffiti. Stuck one sideways. Signage is incredibly important, especially in city scenes because obviously, like I said, humans are visual creatures and we rely on reading words and words are everywhere. Words are on the ground. Words are stop, written on the ground for people who apparently can't read signs. You don't have to do sky writing in the sky or anything but that thing. Maybe Wayne Donuts is right next to a billboard, like a small billboard advertising something hilarious, something funny and of a inside jockey nature. Or maybe not, maybe something really boring like shoes. Doesn't always have to be a joke. You can't overdo the jokes, I think in the background. Well, you can't overdo them if it's a super hilarious story, but you can't overdo them if you're trying to do a serious story and then everybody keeps seeing signs from Notre butter and you're like, "That's my favorite snack." Well, that's great, but your story is supposed to be serious. So maybe come up with something else. I would warn against using lots of copyrights tough in the background, just in case. But maybe there's a sign at the back. Free snacks. Oh man, that would get my attention. You don't have to freehand your lettering, although if you want to, there is another really really wonderful class on Skillshare about lettering. I'm pretty sure it's mostly free handed, although I'm sure some computer section as well. You should take that class too. But you can always do it in the computer. You can always do it in the computer, do all your little things. But for very small things like this, like do not park in street signs and especially for little free-form things like flyers and posters, I would get my best writing on and do that by hand because it gives it much more personality than going in and typing it on the computer. Lettering by hand is a skill that you should learn. It's a pain in the neck for me, but it is a skill that you should learn and at least be semi-competent at. It'll give your comics much more personality. If you're trying to do a fun comic that's has a really gritty street feel to it. Broken pencil, having nice perfect typeset on everything is really going to wreck the feeling. It just looks a little jarring and it's nice to do it by hand, even if it comes out just a little bit messy. But there you have it. That's just a very quick little basis for lettering. In the next video we will talk about plants. 15. Plants and Wear and Tear: In the last video, we talked about lettering and snacks. Now we're going to talk about plants and foliage. You might be thinking, "Well, mine is in the city, I don't need to draw plants." You think there aren't plants in the city? There are absolutely plants in the city." There's plants everywhere. Plants are going to take over this world when we all disappear. Haven't you seen life after people? That stuff starts happening immediately after we leave. It's crazy. Where are the plants? Well, even if they're just little weeds in a parking lot or between the cracks on a sidewalk, little tiny dots and things. I'm basically making this shape over and over, very small, sometimes skinny, sometimes fat, sometimes short, sometimes long, but just that little open-ended, elongated, overly shape. I'm just doing that in different directions. I'm just altering it in different directions like this, every so often. It makes for great little weeds and things. As you go off towards the horizon, you can just start putting little dots. Not a lot of them, just enough. If this is a field of weeds or something, just a couple of little dots in the horizon will help. You don't want to overdo it. But you've got little weed along the side. Maybe you have ivy creeping the walls. There's an awful lot of climbing plants in the city, especially in alleys and between buildings. I can start making little wiggly lines. They don't even have to have leaves on them. They can just be little wiggly and have a leaf just here and there, just to show that they're plants. If you have a rundown building, like a really run-down abandoned building, they'll be coming out the windows. I've seen abandoned buildings. Those things are everywhere; the plants, not the buildings. The building is still in some places. Of course, there are the plants that the city tries so hard to brighten up the entire town with. There are little planted trees, every so often, planted in little rows and those little squares of dirt that you see on the side of the street, maybe in little communities and things like that, just a little trees, that sort of thing. Maybe if this is a family business outside, there'd be a little hanging basket on the side of the building with a plant hanging out of it. Plants are terrific for giving a very organic feel to a very straight up and down background. It gives a nice wiggly look to it. So it's really nice, and believable and homey, and that sort of thing. Of course, if you've got a city park or something, you're going to have to have an outline for trees in the background. Maybe there's a park back here, maybe there's something, who knows? Maybe it's right next to the edge of the city where there's a little bit of field and everything. Notice I'm just making little wiggly lines in the background. I'm not sitting there drawing every little leaf until it's a big leafxplosion and everything. No, I'm just doing an outline of it. These are way in the background. These are not things that we are looking at right up close. So we're just doing a couple of little lines. So try to incorporate plants, even in your city scapes, even in just maybe a few little weeds at the bottom of the building or in between the cracks in the sidewalk. Just a few, every now and then, and it'll really give more believability to your city capes and to your buildings. Try to walk around your city or your town and look for all the greenery that is there. You'll be surprised how much you actually notice. Check it out and take a look, go take a walk and check out all the plants. We are on to our third and final step of creating believability, and that is wear and tear. Now, unfortunately for us, our buildings weren't sent down from the sky by benevolent aliens and made out of fantastic adamantium that will last a million years. That would be cool if they were. They were made out of brick, and stone, and mortar, and concrete, and other man-made things that break down a lot faster than most people think they do. But what most people don't ever remember when drawing buildings is that you have to represent that. You have to give a surface to your building. You have to give some wear and tear to your building. Because in human psychology, we tend to associate big stone structures with things that are strong. If we think things are strong, we don't imagine those things breaking. We don't imagine them getting all cracked up and messed up. So we don't draw them that way, but they really need to be drawn that way because buildings often have little cracks at the joints. They have little stress joints here and there. They have dirt marks from where it rains all the time, collects under the window sills and trickles down the building. Too little messy dirt marks. A building that you might have previously thought was extremely clean, go back and look and see there's a whole lot of dirt trails and everything under the windows. Maybe it's an old busted up facility that hasn't seen a whole lot of use in years, maybe there's a crack in the window every so often, something like that. Maybe there's just a surface to the door that intimate that it has a grain because it's made of wood. One of the easiest ways is to add little just dots and lines. Every so often just little flecks across your building to show that it's not a pristine box, it's a solid shape made of stone. A couple of little dots everywhere. You don't have to go crazy. You don't want to poke it out a building, but just enough, just a couple dots here and there to show that this is in fact a man-made structure made of stone, not a perfectly little Lego building. Now, you see this perfect edge on the edge of the building. Buildings often don't have those. They have on their build, then after a while, they get chips out of the building. We can show that with a couple of little wiggly lines to be a chip here and there. Makes it look a little bit more real, a little bit less like a perfectly drawn little box. They've got a couple of little stress lines up here, up here on the corners. A couple of dirt marks on the ground from where people's feet are always splash around mud or water as they walk by and that sort of thing. It goes without saying, in sidewalks, sidewalks always have big old cracks in them. You've seen them a million times. You've stepped over them on superstition, perhaps. I know I have. Sidewalks always have cracks on them. Now, the further away you are, the less you will see them. So if you want this to be a really worn in scene may be on the crummy side of town, then even though we're far away from the building up here, you want to have lots and lots of cracks just to show that this sidewalk has seen better days. This is a nicer area. Then the further away you are from the sidewalk, the less you want to see those cracks because they're probably really tiny cracks that can only be seen close up. But you still want to give a little bit of texture to them. So maybe you'll just have one or two, because there's always one or two, even in the nicest sidewalks. So sad. Of course, as you go further away, you won't see any at all. You want to add in those dots. Dots are a great way to show a stone surface. Dot, dot, dot. We'll circle here in there just to show it's dirty, that sort of thing. It's not hard to do. It's not hard to do at all. You just have to loosen up and take the edge off of some of your buildings. Unless you want to show the evil mega million corporation building that our hero was going to break into, in which case, it's great to have an ultra sharp, ultra sleek building with hardly any surface other than a nice shiny metal surface and that sort of thing. Because that sells the personality of the building. It's sharp. It's sleek. It's businessy. It's modern, that sort of thing. Wayne Donuts is apparently a family-owned business who gives out free snacks. It has their own little hanging plant basket here on the side of the building. They've been around for awhile. They're clearly not a mega million corporation expensive building. So they get a little more wear and tear. They don't have a 100 window washers out their power washing the side of the building every day. The upper floor is shiny though. It's still kind of shiny. But wear and tear is not hard to do. In fact, 90 percent of it is just putting dots and lines and a couple little squiggles every so often on the surface of roads or on your building, just to give it a little more personality, just to give it a little less perfectly shiny white box look. It really isn't that difficult. That's why it's the finishing touch on your page because you do it last and it just takes, if you're taking your time, maybe 10-15 minutes. But usually it only takes me about five to just go in there and do a couple of dots, a little tiny cracks, little floaty things, and then you are pretty much done. I hope that you'll take at least five minutes at the end of working on your project for this class and just add in a little bit of wear and tear. I'm putting in some shadows right now. But just a little bit of wear and tear on your buildings and your signs and all those sorts of things, and just see where it takes you. See if it doesn't make your page come together just a little bit better. 16. Course Ending: I really hope you've enjoyed taking this course. If you have any other questions or if you'd like to learn more, please refer to the additional materials that I've included in the course. They'll help you find a couple more references on the web or in print, where you can learn a little bit more about perspective and a lot more about yourself. Man, good times teaching. Thanks very much for watching, I'm Matty.