One Point Perspective Drawing
This article contains everything an Art student needs to know about drawing in one point perspective. The material is suitable for middle and high school students as well as any other person who wishes to learn how to draw using single point perspective. It is written for those with no prior experience with perspective beginning with basic concepts before working towards more complex three-dimensional forms.
Although this definition sounds complicated the concept is relatively simple. One point perspective is a drawing method that shows how things appear to get smaller as they get further away converging towards a single ‘vanishing point’ on the horizon line. It is a way of drawing objects upon a flat piece of paper (or other drawing surface) so that they look three-dimensional and realistic.
Drawing in one point perspective is usually appropriate when the subject is viewed ‘front-on’ (such as when looking directly at the face of a cube or the wall of building) or when looking directly down something long like a road or railway track. It is popular drawing method with architects and illustrators especially when drawing room interiors. To understand more about of perspective in art please read our accompanying Guide to Linear Perspective.
Note: If you need to draw something that is not facing you directly but rather has a corner nearest to you two point perspective is likely to be more appropriate.
Rules of perspective: true shapes vanishing points and horizon lines
In one point perspective surfaces that face the viewer appear as their true shape. They are drawn using primarily horizontal and vertical lines.
- Surfaces that face the viewer are drawn using their true shape.
- Surfaces that travel away from the viewer converge towards a single vanishing point.
One point perspective tutorial
The following tutorial explains how to draw one point perspective step-by-step. The exercises are designed to be completed in the order given with each one building upon the previous task. All worksheets are available as a free perspective drawing that can be printed at A4 size (more worksheets will be added to this over time).
The downloadable has been provided by the Student Art Guide for classroom use and may be issued freely to students as well as shared via the buttons at the bottom of this page. The worksheets may not be published online or shared or distributed in any other way.
- Mechanical or ‘clutch’ pencil (with an HB or 2H lead)
- Blank paper and/or the printed worksheets
A ruler and compass can be useful while learning to draw in one point perspective, however most Art students find that these exercises are best completed freehand, with dimensions and proportions gauged by eye. This is so that the skills are easily transferrable to an observational drawing.
This worksheet explains how to draw a cube in one point perspective and takes you through drawing these above, below and in line with the horizon line. It introduces the importance of line weights and highlights the effect of positioning objects in relation to the horizon line.
By the completion of this exercise you should be able to:
- Use appropriate line weights (light lines for construction lines; dark lines for outlines)
- Position a vanishing point and horizon line correctly.
- Understand that:
- Objects above the horizon line are drawn as if you are looking up at them (you see the bottom of the object)
- Objects below the horizon line are drawn as if you are looking down at them (you see the top of the object)
- Objects that are neither above nor below the horizon line are drawn as if you are looking directly at them (you see neither the top or the bottom of the object)