First things first, I think that Perspective has to be one of the hardest drawing conventions to understand. It’s all about how good you are at UNDERSTANDING, not necessarily about how good you are at drawing (but that definitely helps later on). I think we all learn about horizon lines, vanishing points and converging train tracks when we are at school and I’ve seen kids’ work where everything is correct but I’m convinced they still don’t understand it. Because of this I have developed a kind of three dimension diagram to try and explain it as an activity. Perspective is the two dimensional representation (a drawing) of three dimensions (space (probably in front of you)). If you are struggling with getting perspective right….start off with getting eye level right. Try this at home or wherever and see for yourself…don’t just watch me show you!
OK so if that doesn’t work get a lid from a storage container and hold it up in front of you and try to draw the bare skeleton of what is in front of you. You should easily be able to describe a space in 8 or 9 lines. Where the floor joins the wall just draw a single line. Don’t confuse yourself by drawing multiple lines….that won’t help you. keep it simple. If you use a marker pen you can wipe your marks of or easily start again.
I wanted to make a film about Matilda Tristram‘s brilliant banana exercise. She uses is as a measuring device, a reassurance and a disruptor. Firstly I think it disrupts whatever you’re looking at by making you focus on something stupid that you understand (A giant inflatable Banana), the banana is a simple shape so it’s a reassuring place to start, and then cleverly you can use it as a sort of ruler and measuring device. I don’t want to say any more because she explains it brilliantly in this video. Try it. It works!
Drawing a still life can be boring VERY BORING, but it’s a place we often all start. It helps us understand simple shapes and form. I made a video about choosing what objects you put in your still life as well as thinking about using collage to make your composition. In the video I also mention that you can download the tonal sheets I use to help you do one of your own. I printed them out then photocopied them onto coloured office paper or film (acetate). there’s nothing fancy about the paper I use just stuff that you’d find in the stationery cupboard at work.