How to Make your Drawings Look 3-D

Welcome back to the Stanimation Productions Drawing Tutorials. Today we are going to learn how make your drawing look three dimensional. The way to accomplish this is to follow a few rules of perspective. In order to make your drawing dynamic, you have to have a horizon line. A horizon line is the area where the sky meets the ground. Imagine you are standing on flat, level ground right over some railroad tracks. You see the set of railroad tracks in front of you. As you look into the distance towards the horizon, it seems that the tracks disappear in the distance. They also seem to converge in on a single point. This point is called the vanishing point.

A drawing that has one vanishing point is said to have been drawn in one-point perspective. Alternatively, you could have two vanishing points. If there are two vanishing points, then objects that you draw must appear to shrink down in size the closer they get to the horizon line in two places. Take a look at the illustration above.

Notice how the edges of the cube meet at two places on the horizon line. A drawing that has two vanishing points is said to have been drawn in two-point perspective.

Now, let's take it a step further...

Let's say you want to draw something like an airplane coming in for a landing on an aircraft carrier, or a giant robot attacking a city from a bird's eye view. One way to do this in a way that will capture the theatrics of the situation effectively is to use three vanishing points as shown in the drawing above. You could even have five vanishing points; achieving what is called a fish-eye view. In a five-point perspective drawing everything gets increasingly smaller as it approaches the edge of the visible area and as it approaches the center of the image. A good book that can explain how to draw using the rules of perspective in more technical detail is Creative Layout Perspective for Artists, by Thomas Denmark and Leandro Ng. You can order it online using my affiliate link above.

    Now, practice drawing a cube using what you have learned from this tutorial. After you get the hang of it, you can draw an entire city like this one!

How many vanishing points can you see in this drawing?

If you guessed only one, you're right!

I created this drawing using the rules of one-point perspective.

Drawing takes practice, careful planning, and determination, but once you've mastered the basics it gets easier.

Hint: Use a ruler to keep your lines aimed accurately and precisely on target towards your vanishing point(s).

I'm Stan Levine.

I hope this tutorial has been helpful for you.

Peace be with you!

If you have a request for something you would like to learn how to draw, feel free to comment below and let me know what it is you want to draw! Alternatively, contact me today at with your feedback and requests.

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