Getting Things in Perspective

No, not a philosophical analysis of the meaning of life but a look at perspective in art.

The use of perspective is is all about giving the illusion of 3 dimensions to a 2 dimensional image.

At the simplest level perspective can be summarised by saying things get smaller the further away they are.

Sounds pretty simple, and in many ways it is, however it very quickly can be come overwhelming when you try to apply theory to the practice.

There is a wealth of information available on the web but finding solutions to specific problems can be difficult.

I have three reference books that, so far, have answered the questions I’ve had and at least two of them are available as free downloads.

The first is Perspective Made Easy by Ernest R. Norling.

This is a good introduction to perspective and has good information on handling circles in perspective and uphill/downhill perspective.

The second is Figure Drawing For All It’s Worth by Alan Loomis.

Although, as the title suggests, this covers figure drawing there is a lot of useful information on using perspective particularly in depicting scenes with multiple figures at different heights and distances.  Available as free download from

Third is The Theory and Practice of Perspective by G.A. Storey A.R.A.

This is a more scholarly work which examines perspective in great detail. Probably not for reading cover to cover but is a great reference for specific situations. Available free of charge from project Gutenberg.

These three books provide a wealth of information on perspective and it use in drawing, the basic mechanics but I would like to quote G.A. Storey from the end of the book, The Theory and Practice of perspective.


Before we part, I should like to say a word about mental perspective,
for we must remember that some see farther than others, and some will
endeavour to see even into the infinite. To see Nature in all her
vastness and magnificence, the thought must supplement and must surpass
the eye. It is this far-seeing that makes the great poet, the great
philosopher, and the great artist. Let the student bear this in mind,
for if he possesses this quality or even a share of it, it will give
immortality to his work.

To explain in detail the full meaning of this suggestion is beyond the
province of this book, but it may lead the student to think this
question out for himself in his solitary and imaginative moments, and
should, I think, give a charm and virtue to his work which he should
endeavour to make of value, not only to his own time but to the
generations that are to follow. Cultivate, therefore, this mental
perspective, without forgetting the solid foundation of the science I
have endeavoured to impart to you. — G.A.Storey

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