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How to determine horizontal spacing in perspective

How to determine horizontal spacing in perspective

Question from John K.

In one point perspective, how do I determine the spacing of horizontal lines as they diminish toward the vanishing point? For example, how do I know the spacing of the horizontal edges of square tile?

Answers from Vladimir London, Drawing Academy Tutor

Dear John K,

Many thanks for your question.

There is one simple way to determine the exact location of horizontal lines in one-point perspective.

I will describe it step-by-step.

Step 1: Draw a square using one point perspective. You may check this article to find out how to define the depth of a square:
//drawingacademy.com/how-to-draw-a-square-in-perspective

how to determine horizontal spacing in perspective

Step 2: Draw vertical lines of tiles – in our case there are four of them in a row. You can do this as many as you need. All these lines meet in the vanishing point on the horizon level.

how to determine horizontal spacing in perspective

Step 3: Draw a diagonal line from one corner of the square to another (the red line here spans between red dots).

how to determine horizontal spacing in perspective

Step 4: Draw horizontal lines through the points (marked here in red) where diagonal line crosses the vertical tile lines. You have a perfect 4 x 4 tile square in one-point perspective.

how to determine horizontal spacing in perspective

how to determine horizontal spacing in perspective

However, you do not always have to use this rule in drawing. As a good artist, you have a creative license to draw what looks right to you rather than calculate with a ruler precise spacing.

To demonstrate this, I will use the perspective artwork by Leonardo da Vinci.

how to determine horizontal spacing in perspective

There are two staircases that look similar in size. In fact they have different width. The one on the background is actually almost three times wider than the staircase on the foreground. You can compare the size “A” to size “B” marked in red lines. These red lines are proportionate to the staircases width. It is clear that the background staircase line, marked here in “A”, is considerably longer than another.

Leonardo did this extortion on purpose to depict the second staircase more visually balanced, otherwise its steps would appear very shallow in depth.

I hope this gives you a good rule on how to determine the spacing of horizontal lines as they diminish toward the vanishing point, and a good reason to follow on not to follow this rule to the point : )

To your creative success,

Vladimir London
Drawing Academy tutor

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