Project Four: Perspective

Exercise One: Parallel Perspective – An Interior View

For this exercise, I decided to revisit my kitchen, as I had created a piece in a similar position in an earlier exercise and, thinking back on my tutor’s comments regarding this piece, thought it would be a good idea to rework a similar piece for this exercise to try and understand the comments through actual practice. Reading the first part of the exercise, I decided to draw a freehand sketch of the kitchen as I saw it through my doorway, but trying to bear my tutor’s comments in mind and trying to consider the perspective and geometry issues discussed.

When I had finished, I grabbed a ruler and started trying to find any and all vanishing points within the piece. I hoped there would be one main vanishing point but, this being my first attempt knowing what I did now from the feedback, I wasn’t pinning all of my hopes on it! I had marked on the piece where I felt my eye level fell and tried to aim for the vanishing points to hit there. I tried to keep all flat pieces flat and then build on the angles within the piece to create the depth held within the kitchen.

When I had finished connecting all of the lines, I was actually rather impressed with myself as, although they didn’t all line up perfectly as they should, I think I had managed to get it quite good for a first attempt. I realised once I had finished that I had drawn the cupboards first but had drawn them slightly at an angle – perhaps this was the way I had been stood? – but this had had an impact on the rest of the piece, so the rest was all slightly crooked. Whilst there wasn’t one single vanishing point, I was pleased to see they all fell rather in the same area and where I think my eye level was roughly.

For the second part of the exercise, I decided to create another version of the same piece, but with using a ruler this time and remembering where I had gone wrong with my first freehand attempt. This time, I chose a specific view point (marked with a dot on the piece, just below the centre cupboard) and drew the cupboards from that. At first, I had a bit of an issue with ensuring the cupboard doors fell correctly, but then realised what my set square was actually for! Once I had figured this out, I realised that these things should all be at 90 degrees from the bottom of the page.

Once I had completed these pieces, I decided to create a comparison list to point out the similarities and differences between them when seen side by side:

  • I was much heavier-handed in the freehand piece than in the controlled one.
  • In the freehand piece, my angles are tilted too much to the left as opposed to being drawn straight on.
  • Due to the time needed to create the controlled piece, I found I took much more notice of finer details than I did in the quick freehand sketch.
  • There is much more accuracy within the second piece, perhaps also as a result of the time and effort applied.
  • The top cupboards within the freehand piece have been drawn on a much smaller scale than those in the second piece, showing a lack of accuracy within my freehand skills.
  • Overall, the angles within my freehand piece are generally slightly off, whereas those in the second piece appear to be much more accurate, if not perfect.

Exercise Two: Angular Perspective

For this exercise, I decided to initially take and build the structures of my piece from a photograph of my porch due to the request to draw a building side-on. I wanted to practice creating a similar result to my controlled piece in the previous exercise as I think I have found a brilliant way to assist me with my accuracy issues.

Firstly, I drew a grid on the photograph and then inserted all of the vanishing points. Once I had plotted the basics, starting with the straight line of the corner and ensuring others were accurate too (i.e. the door frame and porch), I then began to draw in the detail, using the grid lines and perspectives to assist me.

Having used a 2H pencil to draw in the structure, I then took my piece outside and completed the finer details and tone in real life. I figured that whilst the structures would never change, the colours and shadows would, even though I was only creating this piece as a line drawing. I added only a little tone to help differentiate between numerous lines all clustered together.

I was rather pleased with this result as I think I may have found my way with using grids and vanishing points to assist my work. Whilst I won’t be able to use these for every piece I make, I will use them as and when I am able and it suits. For instance, I am aware I won’t be able to use them when working with the figure or during such things as sketchbook walks etc as these pieces will require my immediate and quick attention. In fact, I believe these situations would actually work in reverse; I would have to work quickly and potentially only use photographs to assist should the weather change or the sun move its location or the model need to change their pose.

I think I definitely need to work on my observational skills to improve in this area, but I think I have come such a long way in a very short space of time as I can ‘see’ the issues I have fallen victim to in the past much clearer now and know how best to attempt to rectify them.

Exercise Three: Aerial or Atmospheric Perspective

For this exercise, I firstly carried out four experiments in my sketchbook of a set of hills I came across locally. I created atmospheric studies of these hills in charcoal, oil pastel, ink and soft pastels.

I really liked the outcome of all four pieces as I feel they all offer something different. The charcoal allows for greater shadowing and tonal changes I feel, whereas the oil pastel allows for greater vibrancy of the colours. The ink works best for showing the lightening of colours and hues.

For the final piece for this Project, I decided to once again draw a grid, but tried to work freehand with the grid as opposed to from a picture – ripping the plaster off, so to speak!

I went to a local park and chose this spot as I could visualise the bridge disappearing in the distance. I tried to imagine the grid lines and vanishing points in the distance and to see the parallel lines in my chosen setting.

I built the piece up with a set of white, grey and black soft pastels, working from the back, forwards. Whilst I created this piece in the summertime, from my earlier exercises with trees, I found I much prefer working with the ‘skeleton’ of the tree, as opposed to dealing with the excess of foliage. Instead, I tried to represent foliage through blended areas with a touch of dabbing in places to create the texture of the leaves, mud and moss throughout the three grounds, having minimal in the background.

I was rather pleased with the end result of this piece and the atmosphere created within it. I tried to really draw upon Atkinson-Grimshaw‘s works to create this piece and think I have been somewhat successful in doing so. Whilst it holds none of the precision of Atkinson-Grimshaw’s pieces, I think I have been rather successful in creating the depth within the piece, with the bridge leading the viewer’s eye backwards towards the background of the piece. I think I have been rather successful with the perspective of the bridge considering it was practically freehand! A vast improvement I think (I hope!). Once again though, I think by adding in the outline of the bridge, I have made it look somewhat like a cartoon. I just cannot seem to break away from needing that outline! Maybe that is just my style? I’m not too sure!

Part 3: Project 3: Composition

Exercise 1: Developing Your Studies

Initial Ideas

For this exercise, I decided to choose the piece of the wall I had come across in my local park. Remembering my tutor’s comments regarding geometry, I decided to draw all of the lines of direction on my photograph so I could use this for measuring the angles later on. I also wanted to listen to her comments regarding excess space, so I decided to zoom in and cut out all of the excess in the piece.

Whilst I know this Part of the course is related to expanse, I wanted to play to my strengths still, but try to get that sense of depth regardless. I think my best option for that would be to really deepen the shadows on inside of the wall, specifically in the crease of the bend.

I created a viewfinder with a piece of paper and laid in several different ways on the photograph to help me find the best choice.

I then decided to use the photograph to create a grid to help me scale out the ‘bones’ of the image to give the piece the strongest foundation possible.

Preliminary sketch

I decided to head back to the physical wall and work from real life (again, remembering my tutor’s comments regarding photographs stifling me) as well as the photograph. I decided to use soft pastel to create the wall as I thought that the most suitable medium for the job. I added the path and then decided to have a little break, to be able to step back from the piece and see the piece clearer.

When I had stepped back, I could see that the wall was very dominant and I had darkened it quite drastically. I think I really just like the darker aspects in life and the sinister feeling it can add to even the most light and mundane objects.

I really do like the end result and how sinister the atmosphere of the wall is, and yet how vibrant the nature is around it. I really like the fact I darkened and deepened the tone of the piece, but also that the wall seems to hold a muted palette and removed excess information from it. I think I lost the perspective a little on the very top stone at the front of the wall, but otherwise I am rather pleased with depth within the piece.

Research Point: Artists who Work with Landscape and Different Viewpoints

Please click here to view the information gleaned in this Research Point.

Exercise 2: Foreground, Middle-Ground and Background

For this exercise, I decided to do as I did in the previous exercise; I used a viewfinder to find the best point of interest. I decided once again to zoom in somewhat and tried to remember some of the things learned in my composition research.

I chose the piece where I had drawn a tree in the forefront, a tree in the middle ground and several in the background as I thought this was absolutely perfect for this exercise. Again, I followed my tutor’s comments and zoomed in, removing the rest of the initial piece. Again, I drew a grid and worked from a photograph of my chosen viewpoint to assist me with getting the ‘bones’ of the image correct and building the best foundation possible before moving forward.

Preliminary sketch

I firstly decided to break the photograph I had taken of the chosen viewpoint into the three different sections so I could work out how to treat each section.

For the background, I experimented with an ink wash with soft pastel on the top, oil pastels and pencil crayons. I really liked the ink wash, but also the pencil crayons as these were very calm with a lack of vibrancy, which would be great for fading away in the background and not drawing too much attention.

For the middle-ground, I again experimented with soft pastel, oil pastels and coloured pencils. The pencil crayons worked nicely, however the darker areas just did not seem to come through well at all. Again, the oil pastel was very vibrant and a bit too strong for the middle ground.

For the foreground, I used oil pastels, soft pastels and pencil crayons again. This time, the oil pastels’ vibrancy was completely the best option.

I decided to begin adding detail to the piece by starting with an ink wash for the main areas of open space to create a background. I then moved to using soft pastels to create the little background there was (having cropped the piece somewhat, it left barely any of the sky). I chose this media as it allows for smoothness for the middle-ground, but also the little amount of texture needed for the trees to show the shadows on the tree. I then used oil pastels on the tree, shadow and little ground in the foreground. I chose this media because it is vibrant and creates texture purely by using it on its side.

I am rather happy with the end result of this piece as I think I have somewhat managed to create depth and the three grounds within the piece. Whilst I know this exercise was meant to be created in pencils and with a ruler, I chose to use these mediums purely because they felt right, as well as a grid which would assist me to see the effects of the grounds better.

Final piece

Questions from Course Textbook for Exercise 1 and Exercise 2

How did you simplify and select?

For the first exercise, I looked back at my previous exercises and chose the wall as the most interesting to recreate. I then used a viewfinder to crop the piece to a suitable size, remembering my tutor’s comments regarding semi-abstraction and zooming in on certain areas of interest.

For the second piece, I tried to do the same thing again, zooming in on an area I had created a quick sketch of which I thought held the most interesting detail for me to recreate.

Were you able to focus on simple shapes and patterns amid all the visual information available to you?

I think I did manage to do this for both pieces. Using the grids really did help as I was looking at the shapes within each individual square as opposed to the image as a whole, allowing my brain to disengage from ‘seeing’ a tree, rather seeing just lines and shapes within each square.

How did you create a sense of distance and form?

Again, I think the grids assisted here as I was able to draw the wall and the trees where they genuinely sat in the photograph I used for the building blocks of the piece before returning to the scene and completing the detail. I deepened the darkest areas of both pieces and kept the lighter areas as light as possible.

Were you able to use light and shade successfully?

I think I was rather successful in portraying the differences in the tonal areas, as I tried to see them purely as dark and light shapes as opposed to what I thought I should see. Whilst I didn’t replicate the objects completely as seen, I tried to replicate their shapes and shadows as best I could, ensuring the darkest parts were as dark as possible and the lightest parts untouched or highlighted.

What additional preliminary work would have been helpful towards the larger study?

Looking back, the only other issues I think I could have corrected were the choice of media (as directed in the manual) and also the blending of the shadow in the oil pastel in the foreground of the piece. I think perhaps I could also have used a little collage to create even more texture within the tree for the second piece and for the front of the wall in the first, creating a 3D effect to the pieces, assisting in deepening the effect of depth.

Part Two: Intimacy – Preliminary Work

Before I began this part of the course (and before I received my tutor’s feedback), I decided to play with all of the media discussed in the course textbook by creating the same pieces in each media; one half of the page using a vibrant palette, the other using a muted palette, to see how the differing media worked and which ones suited which palette best.

Materials and Tools

Coloured Pencil

Vibrant and Muted Palettes in Pencil Crayon

Watercolour Pencils

Vibrant and Muted Palettes in Watercolour Pencils

Wax Crayons

Vibrant and Muted Palettes in Wax Crayons

Soft Pastels

Oil Pastels

Vibrant and Muted Palettes in Oil Pastel

Coloured Inks




I think several media have worked better than others for both palettes. For the vibrant palette, I think the wax crayons, soft pastels, oil pastels and markers were all the best successful. The coloured inks were also successful, but were slightly less intense in their colours, which I was rather surprised at. For the muted palette, the coloured pencils, watercolour pencils and wax crayons worked best by far. Their colours were calm and gentle as opposed to bright and intense. Some other media worked rather well for this palette too, but were still rather bold in colour; the soft pastels and oil pastels. I believe this is due to their ability for blending and softening of the lines they were formed with. The markers and coloured inks were far too intense and bold to be viewed as muted. I will consider this as I move forward through this part of my course and try and use the best colours and media to suit the mood of the palette before me.

NB: Citation for the images used in my sketchbook can be found by clicking here.