Two Point Perspective

Two Point Perspective: A Guide for Artists

Mastering the two-point perspective technique can add an impressive level of realism and depth to your artwork. It’s a crucial skill for artists who aspire to accurately represent three-dimensional objects and scenes.

Unlike one-point perspective, two-point perspective utilises two vanishing points, making it ideal for rendering more complex structures or compositions, particularly those that are seen from a corner or angular view.

This guide will help you unravel the mysteries of two-point perspective, exploring its key components and illustrating how you can apply it to your own art.

What is two point perspective?

Two Point Perspective

Two-point perspective is a variant of linear perspective in which two vanishing points are used. This method is commonly applied to draw buildings or objects viewed from a corner, displaying two sides of the object instead of just one.

Three main elements define two-point perspective: the horizon line, and two vanishing points. As with one-point perspective, the horizon represents the viewer’s eye level; it’s where the sky meets the land or sea. The vanishing points are where receding parallel lines viewed at an angle appear to converge.

Drawing with two-point perspective

Drawing with two point perspective

Drawing in two-point perspective starts with defining your horizon line and placing your two vanishing points. These points can be spaced out as much or as little as you want, depending on the object or scene you intend to draw.

The next step is to draw a vertical line for the corner of your object or structure. Then, from the top and bottom of this line, draw lines that converge towards each vanishing point. These are your orthogonals, and they will define the sides of your object or building.

Remember: precision is key. Make sure your orthogonals are straight, and keep your lines clean. Use a pencil and ruler for outlining to visualise the vanishing points better.

Applications and use cases

Vincent van Gogh: View of Het Steen

This linear perspective technique is commonly used for drawing buildings, interiors, and complex forms, where the viewer is looking at a corner of these objects or structures.

Childe Hassam: A City Fairyland

Just like in one-point perspective, all lines representing the edges of the object will converge towards one of the two vanishing points on the horizon, with the exception of lines that are parallel to the viewer.

Two point perspective tips & tricks

  • Experiment with different spacing between your vanishing points. Closer points will result in the viewer’s perspective of standing further away from the subject.
  • Drawing basic shapes like cubes or cylinders in two-point perspective can be a great way to practice.
  • Map out what you want your object or building to look like before you start drawing. This will help you create accurate orthogonals.
  • Create a composition sketch in a sketchbook before you start, to make sure that you’re happy with the placement of the elements.
  • Use the vanishing points and horizon line to help you add details to your scene. This can help create a more realistic sense of space.
  • Don’t forget about shading and colour. Distant objects will appear lighter and more muted, which can help enhance the sense of depth.
  • Practice makes perfect! Keep practising and experimenting with two-point perspective to master this important skill.
  • Learn the difference between two point and three point perspective. Three point perspective is used to represent tall structures or wide street scenes at a high or low angle.