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Drawing in three-point perspective

In this article we will take a closer look at the three-point perspective. This drawing method for spatial illustrations* is also called perspective with three vanishing points.

The special thing about the three-point perspective is that you can thus represent the spatial extent of objects in height or depth. This effect can be achieved with the aid of a third vanishing point, which is why it is also known as the perspective with three vanishing. Use the following example to learn how to draw with the three-point perspective.

Draw with the three-point perspective

As already written, the three-point perspective creates the impression that the viewer is looking at the height or the depth. Here is a simple example that shows how the effect can look in a drawing.


An example for the three-point perspective

Similar to the drawing you can also perceive this perspective distortion in  reality. Here is a very typical example with a skyscraper:


A skyscraper photographed from below (Sears Tower in Chicago)

Drawing in three-point perspective step-by-step

Now I would like to show you how to draw a simple object in the three-point perspective. The object is a cuboid, since this is very easy to display.
We start with the base of the cuboid, which is drawn in a diagonal perspective with two vanishing points.


Base in the two-point perspective

Now we draw the important third vanishing point in the middle between the two other vanishing points. The position should be - as in the sketch below - a whole bit far above the horizon.


Draw the third vanishing point

Starting from the third vanishing point FP3, vanishing lines run to the corners of the base area. These vanishing lines represent the edges of the cuboid.


Vanishing lines of the third vanishing point

Now you can draw the top of the cuboid. The height in which this surface is located can be determined freely. The corners of the surface are defined by the vanishing lines of the vanishing points FP1, FP2 and FP3.
At this point the drawing of the three-point perspective is again somewhat different from other perspective illustrations, since the vanishing lines of the third vanishing point are included.


Upper surface of the cuboid

The perspective drawing is now almost finished. It is only necessary to draw the real edges of the cuboid clearly with the pencil and to erase superfluous construction lines.


Clearly trace the edge lines of the cuboid

Draw a top view in the three-point perspective

Here is another example of the perspective with three escape points, which you can follow for exercise on occasion.
In this example, a cuboid can be seen - similar to the previous example. In this illustration, however, one glances down from the top onto the cuboid. In order to be able to draw this spatial situation, the third vanishing point travels downwards. It is thus no longer above, but under the base of the cuboid.


Perspective with three escape points in top view

The remaining procedure when drawing the three-point perspective in top view is in principle the same as in the view from above.
Just try both methods yourself. When practicing, you simply learn the best. Once you have mastered this first challenge, you can venture to create new, own drawings. The possibilities of drawing with the three-point perspective are manifold but not always easy.

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