How to Draw Perspective

If you want to take your drawings to the next level, give them realistic depth. Choose vanishing points that you place on the horizon of your drawing. You’ll make lines that extend from these points and use the grid that they make to position your subjects. Since the lines move back to the horizon, drawing in perspective will make your subject appear to have depth. Practice with a few simple shapes before moving on to landscapes, still lifes, or cityscapes in perspective.


[Edit]Learning to Draw in One-Point Perspective

  1. Draw a horizon line across your paper. Imagine where you want your viewer’s eye level to be and sketch that line lightly with a pencil. If you want a precise line, lay a ruler across the paper and run your pencil along it to get an exact horizon line.[1]
    Draw Perspective Step 1 Version 4.jpg
    • You can place the horizon anywhere you like. Draw it across the upper 1/3, center, or lower 1/3 of your paper, for instance. Positioning the horizon low will help you create a view looking up while putting the horizon near the top will direct the viewer to look down.
  2. Make a pencil mark on the horizon where you want the vanishing point. One-point perspective always has a single focal point on the horizon where all the lines of interest meet. Decide where you want the viewer to focus and make a small dot or mark on the horizon to make this vanishing point.[2]
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    • You’ve probably seen drawings of a street that have the vanishing point on the center of the horizon. This creates a very noticeable narrowing of the street, which can make it easier for beginners to draw.
  3. Draw lines that extend from your vanishing point. Set your ruler down so it passes through the vanishing point on the horizon. You can angle your ruler in any direction and lightly run your pencil along it to make a perspective line. Make as many perspective lines as you like. For example, if you’re making a road, you’ll probably want to draw 2 lines that converge at the vanishing point.
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    • Perspective lines are also called orthogonal lines. You can use them as guidelines to draw other subjects in your drawing so they’re also in one-point perspective.
  4. Sketch a geometric object or house to practice perspective. Use your ruler to create at least 3 or 4 perspective lines that extend from the vanishing point. Then, draw a square within your perspective lines so the top and bottom lines of the square are parallel to the horizon lines. Make lines that are perpendicular to the horizon line in order to connect the sides of your box.[3]
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    • You can try this with other shapes. Draw the closest side of a shape and connect its corners to the vanishing point on your horizon.
  5. Practice drawing landscapes or streets using one-point perspective. If you’re trying to add depth to your drawings, you’ll need to choose a single thing that draws the viewer in. For example, you could draw a street that narrows in the distance and sketch houses or trees alongside it. Remember that your subject should also be angled along the perspective lines.[4]
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    • You could also make a drawing of the ocean with the sun rising or setting. The sun would be the vanishing point that makes the ocean look as though it extends far away from you.
    • Keep in mind that the subjects closer to you should be larger than the ones that are near the horizon.
  6. You’ve finished one-point perspective. Read on to learn about two-point perspective!
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[Edit]Drawing in Two-Point Perspective

  1. Use a ruler to draw the horizon line on your paper. Once you’ve decided where you want your viewer’s eye level to be, lay a ruler there on your paper. Draw a light line across the ruler to create the horizon line.[5]
    Draw Perspective Step 6 Version 3.jpg
    • Place the horizon in any part of your paper, not just in the center. You could make the horizon in the upper 1/3 or lower 1/3, for instance.
  2. Mark 2 vanishing points on the horizon. Draw 2 small dots on the horizon as far apart as you’d like. Although there aren’t rules about where to position these points, keep in mind that symmetrically placed points don’t look as natural. For the most realistic-looking perspective, try to place the dots so they’re off-centered. They can even be outside of the paper![6]
    Draw Perspective Step 7 Version 3.jpg
    • Try putting 1 vanishing point near 1 edge of the paper on the horizon and make the other point off of the paper on the horizon. To do this, make a mark on your work surface or tape down a scrap piece of paper next to your drawing paper.
  3. Draw 3 or 4 perspective lines that extend from each vanishing point. Place your ruler on a vanishing point and draw a light line to the area where you want to put the subject for your drawing. Then, make 2 or 3 more lines from the same vanishing point. Repeat this for the other vanishing point so all of the perspective lines from both points come together.[7]
    Draw Perspective Step 8 Version 2.jpg
    • If you placed a vanishing point off of the paper, you can still put your ruler on it. Pull the ruler so it stretches onto your drawing paper. Then, you can make the perspective lines.
  4. Use the perspective lines to draw the flat top of a box for a practice project. Now that you have a grid, it’s much easier to draw your subject. To practice two-point perspective, draw a box or rectangle along the perspective lines. This will make the flat top of your box.[8]
    Draw Perspective Step 9 Version 2.jpg
    • Once you become comfortable with drawing simple shapes in two-point perspective, you can move on to asymmetrical objects.
  5. Make vertical lines to connect the box from a two-point perspective. Place your ruler vertically so it’s perpendicular to your horizon line. Then, move the ruler so it’s at a corner of your box and draw a straight line down. Use the ruler to make straight lines that close off the bottom of your box.[9]
    Draw Perspective Step 10 Version 2.jpg
    • Two-point perspective is great for drawing items in a still life or distant buildings.
  6. You’ve finished two-point perspective. Read on to learn about adding a third vanishing point.
    Draw Perspective Step 12 Version 4.jpg

[Edit]Adding a Third Vanishing Point

  1. Use a three-point perspective if you want your drawing to show height. You’ll probably use two-point perspective for most of your drawings unless you want the viewer to feel like they’re looking up or down at the subject.[10]
    Draw Perspective Step 11 Version 2.jpg
    • For example, use a two-point perspective if you’re sketching a country scene with a barn in the distance. Use a three-point perspective if you’re drawing skyscrapers close to the viewer.
  2. Place a vanishing point above or below the horizon line. Make a horizon line with two vanishing points on it as though you’re doing two-point perspective. Then, decide if you want to put the third vanishing point below the horizon or above it. If you want to sketch looking down on your subject, make the line under the horizon or position it above the horizon if you want the viewer to look up.[11]
    Draw Perspective Step 12 Version 2.jpg
    • Remember that the horizon line represents your viewer’s eye level.
  3. Draw lines that extend from the extra vanishing point. Set your ruler on the third vanishing point and draw 3 or 4 lines that move up towards the horizon or down across the horizon.
    Draw Perspective Step 13 Version 2.jpg
    • You’ll use this grid with the perspective lines from the other vanishing points.
  4. Create geometric shapes with extreme depth. To make a building or cube, locate the perspective lines from the vanishing points that are on your horizon. Make a square along these lines to make the base. Then, sketch along the lines from the third vanishing point to create the sides and close the bottom of the shape using the lines from the horizon line’s vanishing point.[12]
    Draw Perspective Step 14 Version 2.jpg
    • Note that the vertical sides of your building or cube won’t be parallel in three-point perspective. Instead, they should slant up or down towards at an angle.
  5. Now you’re ready to draw perspective! See related wikiHows for more help refining your drawing skills.
    Draw Perspective Step 17 Version 3.jpg


  • You can use any pencil hardness you prefer.
  • Try to keep your perspective lines light so you can erase them easily.
  • Go to places where you can see structures disappearing into the horizon and practice drawing them using different perspectives.

[Edit]Things You’ll Need

  • Pencils
  • Paper
  • Ruler
  • Eraser

[Edit]Related wikiHows


[Edit]Quick Summary