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How to determine the horizon line

How to determine the horizon line

Question from Dermott, Drawing Academy student

I’m having trouble determining the horizon level when drawing pictures in perspective.

Is there a rule of thumb I can use to accurately locate the horizon line?

Thanks,
Dermott

Feedback from Vladimir London and Natalie Richy
Drawing Academy Tutors

Dear Dermot,

Many thanks for your question.

Yes, there is a rule of how to determine where the horizon level is for you as a viewer – it will always be at the level of your eyes.

When you stand, it will be a bit higher when you sit. Even if you climb on the high mountain, it still will be at your eye level. That is why people go higher to see further : )

You may check landscape and still-life drawings (and photos) to determine where the horizon level is in each artwork.

How to determine the horizon line

How to determine the horizon line

In landscape it is quite easy – the eye-level of the artist is where he/she marked the horizon.

To define a horizon line in still-life, analyze the objects – do you see them from above or below? Find edges of a cube, for example, check where virtual lines of its edges go. If you don’t have a cube, inscribe any object inside a virtual cube.

As an artist, you have a creative license to make pictures other viewers will see “through your eyes”. You can draw horizon level higher or lower when you need to portray a certain angle of view. It depends on your creative task.

For example, making a bird’s eye view of a cityscape might work for a comic illustration of a flying superhero, but it would be better to draw an everyday still-life at a normal view to depict it realistically.

How to determine the horizon line

Natalie-Richy-avatarKind regards,
Natalie Richy and Vladimir London
Drawing Academy tutors

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