Urban Sketching for Beginners: Two - Point Perspective | Julia Henze | Skillshare

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Urban Sketching for Beginners: Two - Point Perspective

teacher avatar Julia Henze, Artist | Teacher | Urban Sketching Lover

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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.

      Types of perspective


    • 3.

      How to recognize two-point perspective


    • 4.

      How to understand two-point perspective


    • 5.

      How to draw two-point perspective


    • 6.

      Drawing in two-point perspective


    • 7.

      Final thoughts


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About This Class


This is the second, and the last, part of a series about perspective. In this class, we’ll go over two-point perspective in urban sketching. 

We will go through: 

- different types of perspective in architecture;

- basic perspective terms and how to recognize two-point perspective;

- how to understand two-point perspective (there you can find some ideas for practicing at the end);

- and how to draw an architectural scene in different circumstances (with tips, tricks, and shadowing matters).

Of course, there will be a speed drawing video at the end where I'll show you how I make a two-point perspective sketch in three steps. 

You can find a few reference photos in Your Project, but it would also be great if you use your own references or, even better, go outside and draw on location.

Enjoy the class!


Additional Resources:

  • Check out my BLOG
  • Subscribe to my NEWSLETTER
  • Follow me on INSTAGRAM
  • Follow me on SKILLSHARE (by clicking the “follow” button above the video you will get notified of when my next class)


For INSTAGRAM: tag me @julia_henze and use the hashtag #juliahenze_skillshare I'll be happy to share your artwork in my Stories!

Meet Your Teacher

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Julia Henze

Artist | Teacher | Urban Sketching Lover

Top Teacher

Hello, creatives! My name is Julia Henze. I'm a freelance illustrator and urban sketcher living and working in a village with a name that nobody can pronounce, Bergschenhoek, in The Netherlands.

I love to share my passion for drawing and urban sketching with you, and show you how to make the drawing process easier and more fun. All my Skillshare classes are very easy to follow and perfect for beginning artists. But also advanced students can find interesting tips and tricks.

Visit my Instagram for inspiration and drawing tutorials. Tag me (@julia_henze) when you post a sketch made with one of my classes and use a hashtag #JuliaHenze_Skillshare. I'll be very happy to see your artworks!

And find speed-drawing demonstration videos on my YouTube channe... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Intro: Hi guys. Welcome to my class. I'm [inaudible]. An illustrator, an urban sketcher based in the Netherlands. This is a second part of the series part perspective. In this class, we'll focus on the fundamentals of two point perspective from the urban sketching. What I'll be going over is how to first recognize, and then how to fully comprehend two point perspective, and of course, how to draw it in different circumstances. As we explain this in many details as possible, I'm showing examples of my own sketches in two point perspective. Don't worry if you have just started to do urban sketches yourself. Just as in the first class of this series, this is a beginners class. That means that you don't need any particular skills or special materials. As far as practicing goes, you only need a regular pencil, eraser, and sketch paper. For the final project, you can use any paper of your choice, a fine liner, and watercolor paints, coloring pencils, or markers. What will this class include? First of all, I'll show you very briefly, what types or perspective there are. Then I will go through the basic terms quickly, such as the horizon line and finishing points for those who didn't watch my previous class. After that, we'll practice a little, with recognizing two point perspective. Then I am going to teach you how to understand two point perspective. This is a practical part of the class, but I'm going to explain and demonstrate the difference between one and two point perspective. We'll take a look at different views, the height, the width and the depth in two point perspective. After that, I'm going to give you some practical tips for drawing two point perspective and urban sketching. Like how to start your sketch, and how to make your drawing process easier. Finally, I will be showing you how I personally draw a two point perspective sketch in a speed draw video. Are you ready to start learning about two point perspective? Let's start then. 2. Types of perspective: One-point perspective. In the first part of this year's about perspective, we have to deal with one-point perspective. We've seen that in that case, there was just one vanishing point where all the perspective lines came together. Also, that the front and back of the railroad ties and buildings, were not in perspective at all. The length of this side were parallel to the horizon line. This perspective is very useful if we want to draw a railway, a road, a street, a square, or even a room. Two-point perspective. We'll discuss this type of perspective in this class. The difference with one-point perspective is that, this time, both sides of each building are completely in perspective, and the lines go to two separate vanishing points. Of course, I am going to explain exactly how it works later in this class. You can also use two-point perspective for drawing streets, squares, rooms, and so much more, if all the sides of objects are also in the same two-point perspective. Finally, three-point perspective. As you can see in this picture, three sets of every building are involved in perspective, and all of them go to another point. There are three vanishing points overall. You can use this type of perspective when you have an extreme point of view. Like if you are drawing a skyscraper, a tower, a lighthouse, or lamppost, where your position is very close to it, and you are looking up to see the whole object. 3. How to recognize two-point perspective: In this part, I want to mention two important perspective terms, the vanishing point and the horizon line, and then I'll be showing you how to recognize a two-point perspective from a photograph. Let's start with the vanishing point. A vanishing point is a point on the horizon line where the objects seem to disappear because of distance. All the perspective lines come together in this point. When we're talking about 1, 2 or 3 point perspective we mean the amount of vanishing points. So two-point perspective has two vanishing points where the perspective lines of both visible and invisible sides of every object come together. The horizon line. The horizon line is a thin line between the ground and the sky, and it's always at your eye level. What does it mean? For instance, when you are floating on a boat in the middle of the ocean, you can easily see that the sky meets the water at your eye level, but if you are traveling by airplane at a height of 1000 kilometers above the sea level, the horizon line will still be at the eye level where the sky meets the water. How to recognize two point perspective. The same way as we had done in my previous class with one-point perspective, we'll now try to recognize two-point perspective. As I told you then, we're only doing this exercise to help you to make your own choices in the future. That means that there is no right or wrong way per se, and in most situations you can choose another type of perspective by using your imagination. It depends on exactly what you want to show on your sketch and on a lot of different circumstances. For instance, if you have some tall buildings to draw, you can choose three-point perspective and draw them in the most natural way just as you see them, but you can also choose two-point perspective, which is much easier to handle; or you can sometimes skip the perspective site entirely and just draw the front side of your buildings. Let's make this a little bit as we did it in my previous class. So I'll show you a photo, you think for a moment about what you would choose, and then I'll give you my suggestions. I think this photo is a classic example of two-point perspective. There are two vanishing points. Well, technically speaking, there are three of them actually. As you probably can see, the house gets smaller from the bottom to the roof, and you could choose a three-point perspective in this case. But if you were to draw in three-point perspective, it would be much more difficult, and I don't think it would add anything to your sketch. In this picture, you can very clearly see one of the most frustrating things about two-point perspective. Most of the time, one of the vanishing points doesn't fit on your paper. Sometimes neither of them do. When you're sketching, you can solve this problem in two different ways. You can, of course, still your vanishing points on your table or draw the lines as close as you can, to your imagined vanishing points. One last thing about this photo, you probably noticed that the bottom-right guideline is a bit of skewed, or out of line with the bottom of the building. This is because the ground is on an incline, so if you draw something like that, just use a guideline to draw the buildings and then ignore it for drawing the ground itself. Next photo. There are also two options in this case, we can choose to draw only the front side of this chapel without perspective, or we can draw it as it is in the picture in two-point perspective. Again, I will choose the two-point perspective because the chapel looks much more interesting this way. It will really bring out it's amazing archway. Another one. To me, it looks like the ultimate two-point perspective, because it has such a well defined center line with the lines of the walls spreading apart. It extends toward, and that means that the both sides of each building will be in perfect perspective. You can also choose one-point perspective, but then you wouldn't be able to draw the buildings behind in this tree, and I think, it would make your sketch a little bit less interesting. Next, this is a classic one-point perspective. All the horizontal lines of the building in the middle are parallel to the horizon line, while the lines of both other buildings go to the vanishing point, but now I want to show you how it will change, when we take a few steps aside and take a photo from there. We've now got two-point perspective, there are two vanishing points and nothing is parallel to the horizon line. I think you now understand how it works. One last picture. This is two-point perspective, and I think in this case, this is the only option. You can draw it in one or three-point perspective, it just wouldn't work, but of course you can always experiment if you want. 4. How to understand two-point perspective: This is another theoretical part of this class where I'm going to tell you how to draw simple shapes like boxes in two-point perspective. I think is the easiest way to understand how two-point perspective works. In this part, we're going to take a look at a couple of very important things. First of all, I'll show you how to draw a cube in two-point perspective. Then we'll take a look at how the perspective can change depending on where you are looking from. Finally, will contemplate how to understand the height and the depth of boxes, do the practice for a while with boxes before you start to draw urban scenes, it will help you avoid mistakes in your sketches. Now, let's take a look at how to draw a cube or a box in two-point perspective. In the next video, you will see that I don't know all the lines visible and invisible to help myself to construct a cube. I draw the front edge first, then connect the ends of this edge to our two vanishing points. Next, I draw the side edges connecting them to the vanishing points as well, so that they could easily find the top and the bottom edges. I then draw them and finally the back edge, and you were. To make it clear, the most important thing you need to do to draw a cube, a box, or a building is to find the main edges and connect them to both of the vanishing points. But it sounds much easier than it is in practice. To draw a proper perspective, you need to understand how it works. As I said before, the different types of perspective are nothing more than just different points of view. Maybe that sounds a little bit vector now, but I'm going to illustrate exactly what I mean. Let's take a look at one-point perspective first. On the left, you can see the top down view of the cube, the arrow indicates our point of view. Since we're not seeing the cube in perspective here, we can't really see the horizon line, but it will be perpendicular to the arrow and that means that the front and the back sides of the cube are actually parallel to the horizon line, whereas the right and the left are perpendicular. When we look at the cube in perspective, we notice that the lines of the back and front are not in perspective. At the same time, the cube side's edges are in perspective. You can see that exactly the same happens with a cube on the right. Summarizing, with one-point perspective, we look at the point of an object where the back and the front will always be parallel to the horizon line. While the sides will always be in perspective to a single point. Now, we can see how different the two-point perspective is. Again, there is a cube's top down view on the left, but now we look at it from the different sides. The arrow is still parallel to the horizon, but not the sides and that can mean only one thing for our perspective. But now we have two vanishing points and every side will win perspective. Every arrow has an exception. The line that's on the horizon line is obviously parallel to it. I think if you understand the difference between one and two-point perspective, it will help you avoid a common beginner's mistake. What happens is that one of the edges of a building in two-point perspective is certainly not in perspective at all. Beyond that, it will help you make better choices before you start to draw. Before we move on, I want to show you the difference between one and two-point perspective when you draw outside. Let's take a look. Here we have two situations. On the left, you're in the middle of the street looking right at the side of two buildings. If I imagine that the sides we're looking at are the front side like in the example about the cube, we can distinguish that this could be a perfect one-point perspective scene. The front and the back sides which are mentioned in green will be parallel to the horizon line, and the blue sides will be in perspective. Now, in this situation on the right, we'll look at the corner of one of the buildings. It's obvious that you can see now the building then because it's out of sight, and here we can notice that this case is very similar to the example with the cube in two-point perspective. We have two vanishing points and all the sides of the building will be in perspective. There's a chance that you look from another position like here. In this case, you will see both buildings, maybe not entirely, and the scene will be more complicated, but it works exactly the same way as the cube did. I hope it's clear. In the next more practical video, I'll be showing you how to use this knowledge in practice. Now, I want to move to more specific things you can come across with drawing in two-point perspective. I want to start with the view. I'm going to show you two different perspective of a street but this time, I'll let you think about how the view could change depending on how high or low we are. I'm using boxes with different heights for the buildings to make it easier to understand. The arrow indicates our viewpoint, so as in the example with the cube, we're looking straight at the average buildings closest edge. In the first situation, you are on the ground. Your eye level is about 1.6 meters from the ground, depends on your head. It could be higher or lower if you are taller or shorter, but then 20 centimeters aren't very important in this case. In perspective, it would look something like this. What can we notice here? Now, the horizon line is roughly in the middle of the picture what could be important when you start to make a sketch. Also, in this situation, we will never see the tops of the tall and the average buildings because they're above our horizon line. Although we can see the top of the low building which is probably a basement, because it's under the horizon line. In this second situation, we are on the roof off a high building and looking down to buildings we want to draw. Obviously the horizon line is still at our eye level, about one point meters from the roof floor of the building where standing on. Above the building we want to draw, that means that in this situation, the horizon line will be very close to the top of our paper and we'll see the tops of all three buildings. I hope these two perspectives are little bit clearer now, let's take a look at the height and the depth of our buildings. Differently from one-point perspective, we'll only need to measure the height and depth of each building. Whereas drawing in two-point perspective, we have to measure the head and the path of the front and the back as well as a depth. Starting with depth, let me just say that it's not as hard as you may think. We'll only need to know the height of the closest corner of each building. Because when we connect those to the vanishing points, we automatically determine the height of the other corners of the same building as you can see in this picture. To make it more visual, let's take a look at this short video with a cube. To know where the edges will be, we need to measure depth. In other words, we need to know the distance between the closest edge and each of the other two edges. I don't think I need to explain how to measure this distance because it's not that challenging, but I do want to show you a way of measuring in general. How to measure height, width, depth, and any distance between the objects in urban sketching. I am going to use the distance between the left edge and the closest in this picture. Just take a pencil, hold the arm straight out in front of your eyes without building your elbow. Shut one eye, hold the pencil parallel to the horizon line against the left edge, put the tip of your thumb at the point where the closest edge is. The point of the pencil up until your thumb is the distance between the edges. When you measure perpendicular lines, you have to hold your pencil perpendicular to the horizon line. To apply that measurement to a sketch, just use the same size or proportion of the pencil marked off. But don't forget, if you use two times the height, you also have to use two times the depth respectively as well as all the other measurements. The more you measure, the more precisely you will draw, but don't overdo this. Your sketch will then be perfect. Little mistakes and imperfections actually end up making a sketch even more expressive. That's all for this video, let's move on to the next part. 5. How to draw two-point perspective: How to draw in two-point perspective. I will start with the peer tips. Practice on a large sheet of paper. As we saw before, the vanishing points in two-point perspective can be quite far from one another. If you practice in a tiny sketchbook, you vanishing points will probably be off the page and then it will be very difficult to practice. So you should use a big sheet of paper at the beginning. Practice a lot. I guess, stress this enough. Practicing is absolutely the key to success. The more you practice, the better you will understand how the perspective works and you will undoubtedly sketch much easier and faster two points are two points. We already know that two-point perspective has two vanishing points. Sounds easy. But when actually in the middle of a drawing, you can easily forget such an obvious thing. So keep in mind there are two vanishing points and all the perspective lines of every single object come together at one of these points. Make thumbnails for your sketches. Making thumbnails is preparation for the pen sketch, makes drawing perspective much easier. Thumbnails, you can focus on the perspective lines rather than making you sketch look prettier. In other words, it's a way to step back and look at the big picture to make sure the foundation work is done before adding the details. So afterwards, you can use a thumbnail as a guide for your sketch. Always start making your sketch with large shapes. That means also in your sketch, don't draw details first but look at your thumbnail and begin with the large, easy to understand shapes like boxes. I use these examples in the previous video. Only when you settled on all the large shapes, you can start to draw details. How to start with a sketch. Let's take a look at the two-point perspective sketching process. Maybe you can find your own way to do this, but I think this is the most logical and easiest. Find the horizon line. As we know, the horizon line is our eye level. But on paper, it's just a line that the most of time will be between the middle and the bottom of our paper depending on the situation, of course. Find and measure the closest edges of your building. As we discussed in the previous video, when we want to know the height of a building, but only need to measure its closest edge and though the measured line perpendicular to the horizon line. Find both of the vanishing points. Now we know how to measure the depth and height, but we also can measure angles. By doing so, they can easily find our vanishing points. This process is quite similar to the height and depth measuring for discussed in the previous video. So just take your pencil. Hold your arm straight out in front of your eyes without bending your arm more. Shut one eye. Hold the pencil parallel to the horizon line, touching the closest corner and try to notice how big the angle is. Extend the imaginary line of the site and perspective to the horizon line. Draw it lightly on your paper. So here is our first vanishing point. Repeat this process for the other corners. Of course, the more angles you have measured, the more accurate will the position of the vanishing points be. But it's not necessary to measure all the corners. Usually, I only measure the bottom corner angles. The main is to measure upper corner angles on only one building. Measure the distance between buildings edges and draw the edges on paper lightly. Now connect the building edges with each other and here we are. The overall shape of the main building is finished. Now you can repeated for other buildings you're are going to draw. Adding details. Now we have global shapes. It's time to add some details to our buildings. Let's take a look at windows. I'm going to draw three of them on the left side. I could try to assess whether there should be or I can divide the surface into three parts like here. Then I am able to find the exact middle of each window more accurately than drawing intuitively. Now, we can draw the windows keeping in mind that they become smaller in perspective and that all of them have some depth that can be done in three easy steps. First, connect the left top corner with the right vanishing point under the hang over the short line. Then draw a line perpendicular to the horizon at the desired thickness. Finally, connect the left vanishing point with the intersection of the first and second lines you drew. So they have nice windows now. Simple shadowing. The last thing I want to show you in this video is how to apply basic shadows to buildings. Also, shadows are usually very complex and difficult to determine, but we can try to simplify them in our sketch. First of all, we need to know where the light sources, do not have sun or are you finding the shadows ugly and difficult to draw? No problem. We'll just pretend that the sun on the side we want it to be. In this case, I have chosen the place there are light source on the left. Let's take a look at what happens then. So when the sides our light source is on the left, that means that all the shadows, we'll be on the right, like here. Notice that the shadows on the windows top side are even darker than on the left. This is because when the light source is above an object, there is always less light underneath the top edge than on the side. The bottom is getting most of the light. Of course, we'll also have some shadows cast by the building. But since it's a beginners class, I don't want to make it too difficult for you. So I would recommend you keep it as simple as possible for yourself by only adding those shadows in your sketch on this side where actual shadow is. Like I did this here. Let's see now what happens when we pretend that our light source is on the right side. Do you like it? I don't think so. So the important thing is that you know, where you want to have your shadows before you start to draw them. Of course, you can just visualize them in your head. But I would recommend you actually sketch them out in a thumbnail first. So this is all for now. I'll see you in the next video. 6. Drawing in two-point perspective: I hope you have been practicing for a while with boxes, and now you're ready to make your own two-point perspective sketch. Find a photo you like or even better, go outside and draw a real scene. In this part, I'm going to demonstrate how I draw a scene in two point perspective. Here's my reference. I've chosen quite plain buildings without a lot of the decoration to make it easier for you to understand what I'm going to do. I would also recommend you choose an easy to draw scene in the beginning. Later when you've practice sometime, you can switch to more complicated objects and scenes. Before I start making my sketch, I'm going to make a very quick thumbnail to help myself a little bit. The thumbnail is finished. I can now start my sketch. I'm going to start by making a very light pencil sketch. Following the plan I mentioned in the previous video and my thumbnail. When this sketch is done, I'm going to define it with fine liner, and after that, add some color using brother color paints. Let's start. I've just finished my sketch and I'm looking forward to seeing yours in the project gallery. 7. Final thoughts: Thank you very much for taking this class. It was a pleasure to put all the information together for you. I hope it will help you understand two-point perspective. It was a lot of information. I want to go over the main points of this class to remind what to cover. To begin with, we walk through three types of perspective, one, two, and three point. Then I explain two-point perspective terms, vanishing points in the horizon line, and we try to recognize the two-point perspective. After that, I showed you how to draw a cube or a box, explain the difference between one and two-point perspective, and demonstrated how to work with different points of view, as well as height and depth into point perspective. The next part, I gave you some practical tips, and showed you how to start with your two-point perspective sketch. Finally, I demonstrated how to draw and seeing in two-point perspective. I hope this class was helpful for you that you understand how everything works, and can draw your own sketches in two-point perspective now. If you still have any questions or suggestions, don't hesitate to ask me anything in the comments below. I'm really looking forward to see your sketches in the project gallery. Good luck and bye-bye.