Convoluted Cubes

I’ve been drawing our little shed out back in the hopes that I’ll learn a little something about perspective.  I’ve drawn it from a few different angles, with mixed results. shed first This is my latest effort, from last night. shed second But Hub (who has the magical ability to see what’s wrong with any drawing, while being (he says) unable to draw himself) says it should be more like this.  I didn’t redraw the windows and door, but he says that front wall should be much shorter, and the side wall (on the right) should have a steeper angle as it goes back:

corrected shed maybe

In the photo, I can’t see the roof. But in the drawing, the roof is obvious. I am standing very close to the shed in the photo – maybe 4-5 feet away.

shed photo

I’ve ordered a book about perspective through interlibrary loan. I see so many artists making art out of architecture, and until I get some kind of handle on perspective, I know that won’t be possible. If anyone has any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!  So far, buildings are harder to draw than bunnies and people’s faces!   I really struggle with perspective.  Geometry was not my best subject.  🙂 Happy Friday! I hope everyone has a wonderful & creative weekend. Peace.

28 thoughts on “Convoluted Cubes

  1. this young man is helpful to me in the way he teaches perspective, and may be also for you…..

    it is tricky, no question, and each situation presents a new challenge, yet after a while some situations resemble those done before and so become less tricky. your camera has created some distortions due to its closeness to the shed, so the lines are kind of curving. this only adds more trickiness when trying to get it the way you see it.

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  2. I remember those perspective drawings from high school. I think maybe you just need to do it a lot and then you get a feel for it. It’s not easy, and you haven’t picked an easy angle either!

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  3. Are you being too hard on yourself? I think these are cool. One thing i see in a few of your drawings and that I’ve seen in other drawings that I really like: a slight bowing effect. Like the drawing in the lower left of the top image: it just seems to be ballooning out ever so slightly. Intentional or not, I see it in a lot of sketches and it’s a kind of cool effect. It feels like humanity in a building, if that makes any sense. I like these sketches very much. I’m going to look at the video Lance suggested.


    1. Thanks Kirk. I erased the worst ones out of frustration. My frustration tolerance is pretty low. 🙂 I’m glad you like these. I drew them standing in front of the she’d (mostly) and holding my art journal so maybe that’s the reason for the bowing. I like your thought that it makes the bldgs more human. That’s cool. Thanks for your encouragement.

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  4. Keep going with it – formal perspective is not something you’ll want to use in every drawing but having an understanding of it will really help you to see if something drawn freehand looks wrong or right. As for your last drawing, it’s good but remember that *all* horizontal lines should go back to the vanishing point – that means the top edge of the shed as well as the bottom (and the top edge of the door). What your husband is doing is putting in a second vanishing point for the horizontal lines on the other side of the building (which is good but a separate issue from the question marks next to the roof). A diagram would really help me explain here! 🙂


  5. That’s how I learn too, try, try, get frustrated, try, order book (and/or watch YouTube videos), try again. I do much better with self teaching than participating in a class. I have quite a library. 🙂

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  6. I never have enjoyed drawing perspective. I think you will figure it out, Laura! You aren’t one to give up. I think its great you are learning new ways of seeing things. It will make you an even better artist. Happy Friday! 😊

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  7. Perspective is hard. Just keep at it. The book will help; so will actually measuring the angle of what you see. Hold up your pencil and imagine it being along the horizontal part of the picture plane. Then, keeping it within the picture plane (don’t let it tilt forward or back), rotate it until it matches the angle of what you’re seeing. That’s the correct angle for you drawing.

    Also, remember that cameras distort, especially buildings.

    Keep drawing!

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  8. Interesting exercise :-). Have you tried measuring the lines and angles on the photograph with a ruler and protractor? I put a ruler from the top of the roof at the front to the back end of the roof and was surprised to find a straight line. Visual trickery!

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  9. Perspective is incredibly hard and you are doing very well for having just started! There are also some really excellent YouTube videos on how to draw perspective (I see someone else has recommended a video, but there are many, many more good ones out there). I need to practice more, too!

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  10. Having the think tank of one point, two point and three point perspective is nice just to back up an understanding of why things are larger that are closer to you and that they all recede in space as they move farther away, but it often confuses my students. I try to teach them to draw what they see and teach them to measure the height of the front of the building by holding up their pencil and measuring it on the pencil top to bottom. I then instruct them to hold their pencil up and measure the length of the back line of the building. They find that it is considerably shorter and they estimate if it is one half of the front line or two thirds, etc, and draw it that way. If you can’t see the roof, then you see some of the underside of the eaves that overhang the side. I also teach them to hold their pencil horizontally to the point where the front line of the building meets the ground. By doing that, you can see at what angle the base of the building rises into space and duplicate that on the space on your page. By holding your pencil horizontally to the top line of the building you can see at what angle the roof drops to the back and emulate that on your page. Drawing is “seeing”. Measuring is a tool you can use and the pencil can be your measuring device. Here is the best example I could find of this sighting technique. It is a still life but can be applied to a building, also.

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