Basics of Perspective in Illustration: Drawing Scenes in Procreate | Iva Mikles | Skillshare

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Basics of Perspective in Illustration: Drawing Scenes in Procreate

teacher avatar Iva Mikles, Illustrator | Top Teacher | Art Side of Life

Watch this class and thousands more

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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.

      1 Point Perspective


    • 3.

      2 Points Perspective


    • 4.



    • 5.

      3 Points Perspective


    • 6.



    • 7.

      Aerial Perspective


    • 8.

      Final Thoughts & Project


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About This Class

Create awesome artwork and posters, and draw backgrounds & environments for your characters and stories. 

With correctly applied principles of perspective, your artworks will become more realistic and appealing to your audiences.

In this class, you will learn the basic principles of perspective and expand your artistic skills:

  • 1-point perspective
  • 2-points perspective
  • 3-points perspective
  • vanishing points
  • foreshortening and
  • the influence of the atmosphere on perspective

I also included a real-life example with every concept to help you imagine it better. 

As a class project, you can apply the learnings to one of your ideas, draw a background where you can include a couple of characters if you like, and share it in the projects section of the class.

Feel free to use any medium of your choice - Procreate 5, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Pencils, Markers, Watercolors, Acrylics, or Oil paints. 

I am super happy to have you in the class, and I can’t wait for us to start learning about perspective. 

©️ Copyright Iva Mikles | All Rights Reserved | Class content & structure for educational purposes only

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Iva Mikles

Illustrator | Top Teacher | Art Side of Life

Top Teacher

I am super happy that you are here! :)

I am Iva (rhymes with "viva"), and I'm a full-time illustrator, teacher, and nature enthusiast.

I love illustration in all its forms and my goal is to bring you to a world full of happiness, color, and wonder in the form of fun and helpful classes.

I'd love for you to have fun while learning, so I always aim for a fun, positive, actionable, and inspiring creative experience with all my classes.

I love when you share you had many "AHA" moments, learned valuable time-saving tips, gained confidence in your skills, and that it is much easier for you to illustrate what you imagine and you are very proud of your finished work.

I want to help you on your art journey with what I learned along the way by ... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: We've correctly applied principles of perspective. Your artworks will become more realistic and appealing to your audiences. Create awesome artworks, posters, and build backgrounds and environments for your characters and stories.Hi, I'm Eva and I'm creative entrepreneur, illustrator, teacher, and a host of Outside of Life podcast.In this class, you will learn the basic principles of perspective and expand your artistic skills.You will learn about 1 Point, 2 Point, and 3 Point perspective, vanishing points, foreshortening, and the influence of atmosphere on perspective.With every concept, I also included examples from real life.You can apply the learning to one of your ideas, create a background where you can include a couple of characters if you like, in sharing in the project section of the class. Don't forget to click the follow button under the title of the class, to follow me here on the skill share.So you get notified when I upload new classes. I'm super happy to have you in the class, and I can't wait for you to start learning about perspective.So, let's begin... 2. 1 Point Perspective: Let's start with the basics. We are starting with one-point perspective because it's the easiest to understand if you are just starting out. The vanishing point here is the place where the purple and the green lines are meeting in the distance on the horizon line in our eye level. And it represents one-point perspective. Let's draw something following our lines as a guide so we can talk further. One of the best illustration examples of a single-point perspective is to imagine that you are looking at the straight road which goes to the distance. All of the elements of the composition, especially the road itself, will end at the single point on the horizon line. And instead of drawing a simple box next to our road, let's create few houses to make a little bit of story telling in our image. When you hear people talking about one, two, or even three-point perspective, they are describing and talking about linear perspective. Linear perspective is all about space and it's representing objects and their scale in the space. This means that we see objects which are further away from us, smaller than those closer to us. All the objects far away from us meet at the horizon line. As you can see, you can think of this line as an intersection or as a place where the ground meets the sky. At the point where the objects in the distance meet with the horizon line, it's called a vanishing point. The point you see here in the middle. When you are happy with the composition, you can delete the horizontal line where there is an overlap with your objects. Like here on the trees and behind the buildings. And I'm drawing all the objects with the guide of the lines where we have this perspective grid. As you can see, I'm also drawing with a thicker brush so we can see our new lines better. And you can also see the elements which are further away from us are closer to each other, following our perspective grid. Then you can start adding more elements like clouds, which are far away, and therefore they're aligned with the horizon. When you are just learning and practicing the perspective, you can always start the illustration with simple shapes, like boxes and circles. To create objects like houses and trees and later you can change it to more interesting fluid shapes like these trees or add details to houses. But because you started with the simple shapes; you will always know that everything is aligned with the perspective lines of the grid you used. Linear perspective was discovered in the Renaissance in 1400s. When Italian architect Filippo Brunelleschi began developing a linear perspective. This method that many artists used today. It is said that he was painting the Florentine buildings. And when working with a mirror, he saw that when the outline of the buildings was continued, the lines ended on the horizon line. Now let's put our drawing on the side and look at the real-life examples. I will import a picture from Lisbon where the road is disappearing in the distance. As you can see, a single-point perspective can be at any point along the horizon line. The only thing is that all the lines lead to the solitary point. You can use a ruler or doing it by hand on the paper to practice drawing straight lines. Or you can use grids in programs like here, Procreate or you can use Photoshop or Illustrator. Or you can also download the grid files I made for you so you can place them in your documents. Here, as I mentioned, I am using the help of a grid guide in Procreate to find the vanishing point on our reference image from Lisbon. You can use this technique to practice perspective quite often. You can take a picture, place it in your document, lower the opacity so you can see the grid better. Place the grid on top of the image and trace the line on top of the main objects with a thicker brush. Here, as you can see, I'm following the guide and tracing the main buildings. And details like windows and side of the road, pavement and the tram. And as you can see, I'm not drawing every detail, so it doesn't become too complicated. And you can also see that not all the shapes of the buildings are straight and aligned with our perspective grid. And this is because the camera can distort the view, the perspective a little bit. And also some of the buildings are very old. They are also crooked. You can also practice this technique with a traditional printed photos. And you can put tracing paper over it and practice it drawing this way. And as a next step, when I'm done with drawing the outlines on this image; I'm filling the big shapes with color using the selection tool and big gouache wash brush. The next thing what I want to show you here, is when you feel more comfortable with one-line perspective and you practice a lot tracing with help of the perspective grid and the photos. Then you can start practicing placing the reference picture next to your drawing. And you are trying to match the perspective by just looking at the picture. And then you are just imagining the perspective grid. As you can see I'm doing here. You might not get perfect lines, but it is a great practice. After doing more of these practice drawings, you would be able to draw more from your imagination. Because you would build these visual library. And you would not have to use the reference for everything you draw. And now let's move on to the next video to look at the two-point perspective. 3. 2 Points Perspective: Okay. And now, let's look at the two-point perspective. As you have probably guessed, we will have two vanishing points. The two-point perspective happens when you can see two vanishing points from your point of view, your eye level. Typically these two points are on the opposite sides of the composition, such as, one on the far left and other on the far right. Here we have one vanishing point in purple on the left, and the second vanishing point on the right portrayed in green. Same as in one-point perspective example, it helps you think in simple shapes. If we want to draw a house, think of a simple box to start. From the box shape we will create a house and put a roof on top of it. Here, the left side of the house is following the lines from our vanishing point on the left side, and the right side of the house is aligned with the lines from the vanishing point on the right. Except for the roof which is little bit tilted, all the outlines of our house are matching our perspective grid. As in the first lesson example with one-point perspective, to create more realism in your image you can add details like doors, door frames, windows, curtains, and you can also create more storytelling with objects like bushes and trees, together with your architecture in the image. Like this, we can start already imagining a simple village. When drawing bushes and trees, you can imagine simple cylinder shapes to place them right into the perspective grid. In addition to all of this, to create a sense of depth, I'm using the overlap, and I'm placing one bush in front of the building, and other three behind it. Like this, we can create more sense of space and depth, as I mentioned. Now, I will place our sketch to the corner and let's look at the real life example of two-point perspective. I'm importing a new photo, and I'm setting up a reference perspective grid, as in the first video, but this time with two vanishing points. In procreate you can set this up in canvas, then go to settings, and you can click on the drawing guide, and edit drawing guide. You can create the vanishing point by just clicking at the spot where you want to place it, and you can even turn on an SSD drawing, which means you will be able to draw exactly aligned with the perspective grid. As a next step, as in the previous video, I will outline the edges of the building, street, and few details like windows based on the grid, but this time I'm drawing based on two vanishing points, as I said. Which means, outlines on the left side of the building will be aligned with the vanishing point on the left, shown here with the blue lines on the grid. Outlines of the building on the right side will be aligned with the purple lines on the grid coming out of the vanishing point on the right. This time we have the vanishing points outside of our image or a frame, so we can't see them. This is very common to have a vanishing point placed outside of the main frame in many illustrations or photography. For practice, try to observe it when you look at pictures next time you browse social media. I will do also the same process with color, as in the last video. So I'm coloring our lines with the selection tool and a big brush. When you do the exercise of sketching with a reference photo next year and drawing, try to draw as fast as possible, even giving yourself a time limit. This will help you to focus only on the big overall shapes of the object, and help you to simplify and avoid adding too many details to your sketches. In these type of sketches, you should practice mainly the perspective, and the composition, and not focusing on details. Try to make as many sketches as possible to build your visual library. Now let's move on to the next video, where I will show you more examples how you can look at one and two-point perspective. 4. Comparison: Here we are. In this video, I want to show you more examples of two and one point perspective on a simple box, examples and fewer lines as a guide because some of us can get overwhelmed when there is too much information. Also visual information. Therefore, here I used only horizon line and few lines to guide my outlines of the boxes. As in the previous examples, the line starts from the vanishing point on the horizon with vanishing point more on the left in this first example. Here in this image, I am drawing a human to explain you more how you can imagine how the person can be looking at the box. The box is placed in front of the human and we are looking at the human from the top. The thing in front of him is a camera if you didn't get that. You can imagine where the human is looking. The next example image here, is the box the human is looking at from his and the camera point of view. The box is centered right in front of him, and the dot in the middle represents the vanishing point. The two lines crossed in the middle of the box, are guides from our grid. If you will draw all of them, they will be radial and they would all meet in this vanishing point, and the dotted line represents the horizon. In the next example, is the two point perspective, as we looked at in the previous video. One vanishing point is on the left and one on the right. Again, we have here few guiding lines from the grid, and they end in the vanishing point on the horizon. Left side of our box is aligned with the guiding lines from the vanishing point on the left and the right side with the vanishing point on the right. Now, if we imagine the human again, how he is looking at the box, you can see that he is looking at the box under an angle. He sees the corner of the box compared to the one point perspective where the box is aligned with the horizon, and the side of the box is facing the human, and it's aligned with the horizon. In both one and two point perspective, the box is on the eye level of the human. The human is not looking at the box from the top, like from some platform. He is not above the object or he is also not looking at the box from the ground. Here I'm talking about warm eye view which is very low to the ground, not just standing. Closer to object is, the more tilted and angled are the outlines of the box. As you can see in the two examples of two point perspective, one on the left is little bit further, so it's not so angled, and the object in the example on the right, the box is closer to us or the viewer, so outlines of the box are more angled and tilted. When drawing backgrounds, people usually use the two point perspective, so it's great to remember this one. But there is also three point perspective with three vanishing points. Let's look at that perspective as well and how you can use it, and let's do that in the next video. 5. 3 Points Perspective: After we have looked at one and two-point perspectives, let's talk about the three-point perspective. Three-point perspective is most commonly used when drawing objects like buildings, viewed from a low or high eye level. The low eye level in our illustrations is also called warm eye view, as I mentioned in the previous video. This creates the illusion that the object is towering above us and that we are looking up. It naturally suggests the scale of it. Usually you will see this perspective when looking at a very tall building. As you can see in these three-point perspective, there is a third set of lines which rise from the ground plane and eventually meet at the third vanishing point high above the picture plane. The third vanishing point is usually far away from the frame of the image. As I mentioned, and you can see here in this example, we can have a view from the top as a bird's-eye view, where we are looking at the object from a platform or a rooftop terrace and we have also the worm eye view, when we are looking from below like a worm or another small animal up to the tall buildings, as you can see in this next image. If you place a vanishing point over the horizon line, it will look like you are looking up. If you place the vanishing point under the horizon line, it will look like you are looking down. Here on the left bottom corner, you can see how the three-point perspective can look from below, worm eye view and here on the right side, you can see how the three-point perspective can look from above as a bird's-eye view. This view is often used in a comic books when you can see the whole city maybe an establishing shot of the whole story. For example, these bird's-eye view is often used in Spider-man comic books when you are looking at New York from above. In addition to these, to add action and dynamics, the Spider-man visuals, the horizon line is often tilted too. Now let's look at some real life examples. I will again import a photo and this time I will just show you how you can observe the perspective and I will not draw over these photo example because we did this exercise in previous videos so you already know how to approach it. In this example, I'm standing on the elevated part of the town a nice viewpoint. The third vanishing point is very far down in this example. The viewpoint is not very far above the horizon, therefore, this example of the three-point perspective is not so extreme as it can be when you would be, for example, looking down from a skyscraper in New York. When you are drawing and you would place a vanishing point closer to your image, these would create the illusion that you are looking downward much more. Now let's move on to the next video. 6. Foreshortening: So here I have placed our drawing from previous lesson, our box in space. So we would have a reference with perspective grid before we start talking about foreshortening. As you have already probably noticed, when drawing in perspective, parts of our objects are distorted. For example, in our box example, you can see that the top plane has a shorter side. The backside of the box is closer to the horizon and far away from us and it is shorter because of a foreshortening. This means that the parts of the objects which are not parallel to the picture plane are distorted in order to portray the illusion of a three dimensional space. Here you can see it on the top side of the box and it's tilted edges. Like this, we are conveying three dimensions in a 2D medium by showing objects moving away from the viewer. In other words, when we draw something that is foreshortened, it's basically an optical illusion, that it's created because something look compressed. Because the human eye sees objects in this way, and you want to portray the objects in depth in our drawings and paintings, as realistically and possible, we want to use foreshortening. Because being able to accurately draw objects, receding in space will make your drawings and paintings more realistic and help pull your viewer into the scene you want to set. We use the rules of perspective to help us to create these 3D illusion. You can also think about the level or the strength of the foreshortening. If both vanishing points were situated within the picture frame, the angles of the objects would appear to be extremely foreshortened. If the both vanishing points would be far away from a picture frame, of course the angles of the objects would not be so extremely foreshortened. Here you can see an example of a river. When you look at the river or a path from a sky for example, from a hot air balloon, we would see the river flat and with the same width, like a one thick stroke of a marker on the paper. We assume that we are looking at a perfectly maintained path or a river without any natural varieties. On the right, we have a drawing of the same river but in perspective of a human looking at it, and here we can see the foreshortening. The part of the river far away from us, appears to be more narrow and the curves of the river appear closer to each other too. Here is another example. In this image you can see my winter drawing and here I am also using the same principle. There is a small river or a forest stream in perspective of a viewer. You can use this effect on the rivers or paths to create more depth in your images. In addition to this, I am also using the river to lead the eyes of the viewer to the characters in the middle of the drawing. When practicing the foreshortening of the objects in your drawings, you should always try to think in simple shapes like boxes and cylinders. In addition to this, try to always imagine a grid on every object, to be able to draw the foreshortening, either from photos or from real life, easier. Now, let's move on to the next video where I will talk about aerial perspective. 7. Aerial Perspective: Now we are moving to a little bit different area of the backgrounds and environments drawing. Because right now I would like to talk about atmospheric or also called aerial perspectives. Compared to linear perspective, which is based on mathematics and straight lines, the atmospheric perspective relies on something entirely different. Atmospheric perspective conveys depth through value changes, colors, and visual clarity. One of the best ways to visualize the atmospheric perspective is on a landscape environment. Like in this drawing, imagine you're viewing or looking at landscape with a house, tree, and a mountain far in a distance. The object and formations closest to you, like the house, will look the most colorful in greatest detail and the highest contrast. As the mountains appear further away, they have a cast covering them, which makes them look less saturated and without strong contrast. How does this happen? In the atmospheric perspective small particles like water, vapor, smog, and other small things in the air affect what you see. As there is more distance between you and a form or the object, the increased particles result in a less visual contrast. When looking at the real-life examples in the photography, you can clearly see the influence on the colors of the objects because the atmospheric perspective has also a lot to do with the color wavelengths. Blue color waves tend to bounce around the particles in the air, which is why objects take on these bluish color hue on the long distances. Blue color wavelength from the sky tends to bounce around the particles in the air, which is why objects take on these bluish color hue from long distances. The idea that the things closer to you are brighter and easier to see goes hand in hand with values in compositions when you want to create focus in your images. Things in the higher contrast are more eye-catching and you notice them much faster than the areas of the image with a low contrast. As you can see when sampling the colors from our reference. For those, you can notice that the colors in the foreground of the image are much more saturated than the colors in the background. You can also notice that the colors in the background tend to be more bluish tones and less saturated, as we mentioned, because of the color wavelengths. You can also see how the tones of the color weaken and the colors are much more pale as they are far away from us. We are usually combining the linear and atmospheric perspective to create this convincing illusion of three dimensions on the two-dimensional planes or images. As you can see from my small sketch in the bottom-left corner, atmospheric perspective is a very effective tool for landscape painting and it's less complicated technique to learn than a linear perspective. What you should remember about atmospheric perspective. This perspective combines few elements to create this illusion of depth and distance in the landscape, illustration, photography, or drawing. The size of the objects like houses or trees become smaller the further they are from the viewer. The contrast of the objects weakens the further they are from the viewer. The colors of the objects begin to fade the further they are from the viewer. The details of the objects decrease the further they are from the viewer or from us as we are looking at these images. When you continue with your drawing practice, try to observe the effects of the linear and atmospheric perspective from photography and the real-life as well so you can be more and more confident in conveying depth and space in your drawings. 8. Final Thoughts & Project: Congratulations, you've finished the class. Thank you so much for being here and I hope you learned a lot of new things which you can start applying for your artworks. As a class project, I would like you to create a background for one of your stories, characters, or set of characters in sharing the other classmates in the project section, I can't wait to see all of your awesome artworks. If you'd like me to also share the illustrations on social media, please add the link to your website or social media handle, I can help you and your art to be discovered by more people. If you like the class, please leave a review because first of all, I appreciate it so much and second, it will also help other students to discovered the class and you might contribute to their artistic journey to. If you who have a friend who loves art, please feel free to share these class with them, if you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment in the discussion section I would love to help you out. Don't forget to click the follow button under the title, to follow me here on skill share you get notified when I upload new classes. Thank you again so much for taking this class and I hope you had fun and see you in the next one.