Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lesson #17 Linear and Aerial Perspective

These are some of the tools I use to help me draw circular shapes in the right perspective. They are called ellipse templates, or circle and ellipse guides, and are available at most art supply stores or college book stores.

We all know what a circle looks like. It’s round! Like a dinner plate. But if you take that dinner plate and put a little runny pudding on it and hold it at eye level (don’t tip it or you will spill the pudding!) it looks flat, rather than round, doesn’t it? Now if you raise that dinner plate up over your head (Don’t spill the pudding!) and look up underneath, the bottom of the plate looks round. If you lower it a little but not all the way to eye level, it looks oval-shaped.

Circles and ovals are measured by degrees from 0 (zero) to 80. 0 is flat like a line (like looking at a plate sideways at eye level) and 80 is a perfect circle (like looking at the underside of a plate high over your head or the top of the plate on the floor at your feet).

Let’s start by drawing two lines, a vertical line and a horizontal (horizon) line. Review a previous lesson about this if you need to.

The horizontal line is 0˚ (zero degrees). If we were to stack a bunch of plates high into the sky (above the horizon line) or down into a deep hole (below the horizon line) and look at how round they look as they get higher and higher (or lower and lower) the degree of roundness goes from 0˚ (zero) to 80˚.

I’m going to start with a 10˚ template and position it just below the horizon line along the vertical line on my paper. Now I’ll draw a 10˚ ellipse with using the template as my guide.

I’m going to draw two more ellipses under this first one (20˚ and 35˚), each one getting more round, the lower I go. And I will do the same on top of the horizon line, each ellipse getting more round, the higher I get (Between the 10˚ and 35˚ellipse is every degree in between – 15, 20, 25, and 30˚ - but I only need to select a few).

Now let’s make a ground well by drawing another vertical line, then draw a 10˚ ellipse along it just below the horizon line. Then draw a 15˚ ellipse just under it.

Connect the outer sides of the two ellipses with two vertical lines using your triangle.

Draw another ellipse (freehand) inside the top one. This is the well wall.

I have selected a vanishing point along the horizon line to the right of my vertical line. Do you see the little dot where my triangle intersects with my horizon line? I have also intersected my triangle at two places on the top of the well wall and made two little marks with my pencil (On the top of the wall, one mark left of the vertical line and one mark right of the vertical line – the front of the well and the back of the well). The two posts for the well roof will start here. Draw them with vertical lines upward.

Put a little dot directly above the front post where you want the tip of the roof to be.

Now choose where you want the base of the roof to be and draw a short horizontal line with your ruler or T-square.

Draw two angled lines from the dot at the tip of the roof to each side of the roof intersecting your short horizontal roof base line. And draw the top of the roof with your triangle on the vanishing point from the tip and end just above your second post.

Draw the base of the roof using the vanishing point from the point where the bottom of your right angled line joins the short horizontal line. With your triangle draw the back part of the roof with and angled line to match the front part of the roof.

So we have well water in the ground. How about a water tower above the ground? Draw another vertical line and two more ellipses (30˚ and 35˚) a little higher up. Remember, the higher up – the higher the degree ellipse.

Now draw two vertical lines connecting the outer edges of the ellipses, some vertical lines for legs, freehand criss-cross lines to represent braces. I wrote the word “water tower” keeping the shape of ellipse in mind. I drew some stones on the well wall, a bucket on the ground, and a sign on a stick that says “well”.

Now for a little landscaping on the house we did last week.

Here we have two trees. They are drawn the same size but can you tell which one is bigger? Which one is closer?

Let’s put one in a pot using what we just learned about ellipses.

Add more foliage by keeping in mind size and overlapping. There is so much more about perspective – we’ve just begun!

But we’ll take a little break next week… and I think I’ll answer some email questions I’ve been getting!

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