How to be an explorer

Perspective Drawing


We watched David Hockney’s Secret Knowledge, a documentary that focused on artists’ ability to create photo realistic pieces of artwork. It was noticed that at a point around 1420 art styles suddenly jumped up in quality and became far more true to life, David Hockney researched methods of artists in an attempt to discover why. He found that the artists of the past had used a technique called “Camera Obscura” (which translates to “Dark Room”) where light shining through a glass lens would project an image of a scene upside down onto the back wall of a dark room. Artists would use this projection as a template from which to create their drawing, making their imagery photo realistic, but also requiring them to work around when the light was optimal, which caused the art to take much longer than normal.

Before glass was of high enough quality for Dark Room techniques concave mirrors were often used to create a similar photo realistic effect. Due to this technique and the Dark Room technique drawings were often restricted to a small size of about 30 centimetres.

The Dark Room technique inspired perspective art as artists could create expanded scenes based on the perspective that Camera Obscura scenes formed. This was because the scene was drawn from a single viewpoint and the lines formed by this perspective could be used to expand the size of the image and create other structures.

Another method to creating larger scenes was to create many separate Camera Obscura images from different perspectives, this allowed for extremely high detail drawings across entire crowds of people as each person had been observed closely using the Dark Room technique. This meant the viewer felt more immersed in the scene as the image was less flat and more similar to how we normally observe areas.

I believe Camera Obscura was extremely important as it not only lead to the development of Photography and Film due to it projecting perfectly realistic scenes in real-time, it also was a tool that improved the quality of artwork for centuries.

We focused on David Hockney and perspective drawings as we are working on developing our drawing skills and for this task we focused on one point and two point perspective drawings, the development of this style of perspective drawing was discussed in David Hockney’s documentary.



Above is my first attempt at a one point perspective drawing, it was based on a simple image as opposed to a real scene. Every line in this image is either completely vertical, horizontal or it is pointed to the vanishing point. The vanishing point lies on the horizon line and is point to which many of the lines in the image converge. This wasn’t too bad to draw, however I found correctly spacing repeated lines that would converge closer to the vanishing point such as the pavement to be difficult to measure an adequate distance for as the spacing became slightly less each time.perspective30.jpg

This is a drawing of a two point perspective drawing, is, like the last drawing, is based off of a simplistic image rather than a real life scene. This image is more complicated as it incorporates two vanishing points, lines on one side of the building converge to the vanishing point on the left and the others to the vanishing point on the left. Due to the two vanishing points this drawing was harder than the one point perspective drawing.



This drawing is a recreation of the photo I took which is beneath it, I feel the image gives a good sense of perspective due to the converging lines from all angles, however I believe I made the exit of the tunnel to large and too high up in the drawing. Most parts of the image were made symmetrical through me measuring distances from fixed points such as the edge of the paper, leading for parts such as the railings to be the same height and the same distance from the top of the page. For this task I mostly used a ruler to measure out lengths that I would apply to other parts of the drawing, though I also used a setsquare to aid in the creation of right angles.



This was a two point perspective drawing as is contained two vanishing points, this drawing was more complex for multiple reasons, the first was that the vanishing point on the right side went off the page which made drawing converging lines inaccurate, I worked around this by making the drawing smaller to minimise the effect and by drawing along where the line would go if there were a point for it to go to. For this drawing I opted to not draw most of the surrounding and to focus on the shape of the building from a two point perspective. One issue with the final result of this drawing is that the right side of the building is pointed slightly too high, this is in part due to the vanishing point difficulties and the obscured lower part of the building. The way I created this drawing was primarily by measuring lengths from the photo and translating them too the drawing, such as the distance from each side or the height difference between to parallel lines. For this drawing I primarily used a ruler, which was vital to creating appropriate proportions.