Kill Art Block with the 1 Point Perspective Grid

Lack of skill is a major factor that can contribute to having art block. Today we’ll look at constructing a 1 point perspective grid, one of the most powerful tools to aid you in your drawing. With the grid, you can easily place characters and objects in a room. You can also use the grid to aid in drawing worm’s eye camera angles (where the camera is on the ground looking up at the action) and bird’s eye camera angles (where the camera is above the action, looking down). The grid sounds scary, because for many of us it screams “MATH”.

Let’s start off by comparing a line against a grid. Lines are flat. They have no depth. You can infer depth by overlapping an object in front of the line, but without said object, you have nothing but flatness.

Grids, on the other hand, give you a scaffolding that already has depth. In the image below we have a simple one point perspective grid. It can be drawn by using a ruler or drawn freehand. (NOTE: I recommend that students practice drawing grids freehand so they can use them whenever they need to.)

Lines have no depth. Grids have depth by way of its implied surface topology.

Constructing a simple 1 point perspective is easy. Start with two horizontal parallel lines. The top line will be shorter in length than the bottom line. Make a trapezoid by drawing two angled lines that connect the two horizontal lines. These angled lines will converge to a vanishing point. Next, draw a line in the middle, dividing the left half of the trapezoid from the right half. In the drawing below, I am dividing the top horizontal line segment in half by finding its midpoint (MP). I repeat the process of finding midpoints for all the segments of the trapezoid. What you end up with is a simple 1 point perspective grid. Being able to measure midpoints by eye is a skill you will need to develop. Drawing grids repeatedly can help you get practice in that area.

Constructing a one point perspective grid is as simple as drawing a trapezoidal shape and identifying midpoints across each edge. Being able to train your eye to measure midpoints is a skill you will need to develop.

Using this technique, you can construct walls, ceilings and define an interior space with relative ease. This can be done traditionally, or you can use Photoshop to duplicate your floor grid for the side walls and ceiling. (I chose the latter.)

A basic one point perspective “box”, which can serve as an interior space.

If you have a digital drawing tool handy, you can use Transform > Perspective to create a box that gives you the ability to draw objects in a worm’s eye view or bird’s eye view. In the first image below you can see that all the vertical lines along the walls will converge to a vanishing point that’s lower than the floor.

Bird’s eye view grid using Photoshop’s Transform > Perspective tool.

For a worm’s eye view, you can use the Transform > Perspective tool to imply a vanishing point somewhere above the ceiling. (See below.)

Worm’s eye view grid using Photoshop’s Transform > Perspective tool.

To create a worm’s eye view, start by drawing a box (see below). Make sure that the rectangle at the bottom is larger than the rectangle at the top. Use lines to connect them together, to form a box.

Use the grid to identify two rectangles. For the worm’s eye view, the bottom rectangle will be larger than the top rectangle.

Using the box, divide it into thirds, keeping in mind the proportions below. The head will be the smallest sized component, the torso will be the medium sized component, while the legs and feet will the largest component.

For a worm’s eye view, divide the box into three segments. The smallest segment will be for the head (or top of the object) and the bottom segment will be the largest.

For the bird’s eye view, the top rectangle will be larger than the bottom. Notice that the top rectangle is twice as wide as the bottom rectangle. The wider the top rectangle, the more distortion you can imply with this camera angle.

With a bird’s eye view, the top rectangle will be larger than the bottom rectangle.

To draw a character in a bird’s eye view, the largest segment will be devoted to the head, followed by the torso, then the legs and feet.

The head is the largest component in the bird’s eye view. We also see much more of the top of the character’s head in this view.

Your homework is to practice drawing the one point perspective grid by drawing your favorite character in both a worm’s eye view and a bird’s eye view. Don’t forget to tag #killartblocknow on Instagram so we can see how you did.

Hasta la vista, baby.

One comment

Comments are closed.