Perspective Drawing Tutorial for Beginners and How it Relates to Anime

In very simple terms, perspective is the concept of objects farther away from the viewer appearing smaller than those closer to the observer.

In art, the right application of the perspective technique is extremely crucial since it makes the flat image appear to be full and dimensional.

This tutorial will outline the basics of drawing in perspective and show how they can be used to draw manga and anime.


Use of Perspective in Anime & Manga

Anime room and character in perspective

A scene similar to the one with the character and room above is quite common in manga and anime.

In order to draw an accurate sketch of a room, knowing about perspective is essential. Even if you’re not particularly into anime, but you do draw and aren’t knowledgeable about drawing perspective, this guide will still be extremely helpful.

The Basics of Perspective Drawing

Perspective drawing example

This is a simple illustration of drawing from a perspective. Things get smaller as they get in the distance.

You can draw cubes in the direction of further and further back in between the lines of perspective until they transform into dots

Drawing With No Perspective

Perspective vs no perspective

In a cube, all sides are typically equally long, but in this illustration, you can see that those sides on the cube (drawn in perspective) that are further apart are drawn smaller whereas the sides closer are drawn bigger.

If you look at the other (non-perspective) drawing, where the front and back sides are drawn to the same size, the cube appears strange and distorted.

The Horizon Line

As mentioned previously, perspective refers to objects shrinking as they move off in the distance. The point at which objects in a drawing disappear out into space or turn into dots is known as the disappearing points. In a one and two-point perspective, these are placed on the horizontal line or the “horizon line” also known as the “eye-level”.

Imagine the scene as if looking out of a window.

The location of the horizon line is determined by what the eye of the viewer. When a viewer views an object from above, then the line of the horizon will be above it. If you’re viewing it from below, then the horizontal line will be beneath the object. If you are directly looking at the object, then the horizontal line of the horizon will be behind it.

The Three Types of Perspective

There are three kinds of perspectives, one-point perspective and two-point perspective as previously mentioned, and the less well-known three-point perspective (also the most complex).

One Point Perspective

One point perspective drawing

A one-point perspective can be easiest to draw since the only thing that is visible in this perspective is one disappearing point. This kind of perspective is great for when you’re in the middle of an object or scene that is directed toward the viewers.

Two-point Perspective

Two-point perspective

It is recommended to employ this technique when drawing the majority of things or scenes.

Three-Point Perspective

Three-point perspective drawing

The third vanishing line can also be located above an object. A good example is taking a look at a structure from below. The building’s top appears to be much larger than the lower.

Drawing Area & Vanishing Points

It’s important to keep in mind that often the vanishing points or even the horizon line could be distinct from the surface of the drawing. It may be confusing, however, just take an examination of the examples in this guide where the drawing is smaller than a sketch for the identical object to display the lines of perspective. If you attempt to include these lines in the larger object, you will find that the vanishing lines are not able to fit into the drawing’s frame.


The Importance of Eye Level

Perspective drawing eye level

In the example above, you can observe how the vertical position of an object with respect to eye level affects its appearance to the observer. Try it yourself by placing the paper sheet on the floor, and moving it higher towards your eyes in the same manner. The closer it is to your eyes, the smaller it appears until it has appeared to be a straight line (if you gaze directly at the edge of the paper). The same effect can be observed when you place it on your head and pull it to the ground (looking towards the lower part of the sheet).

Perspective cup drawing

In the event that we employ this concept to draw a simple cup from a proper perspective, the top of the cup would appear more rounded (more horizontally stretched than the top because, in this instance, the cup will be lower than the eye level of the viewer, and the top will more in line with the viewer’s eye at a higher level. When the cup is higher than the eye level, it would be reversed (rounder the top).

Cup top and bottom example

If you follow the tips above and draw out the lines of perspective and vanishing points correctly you will be able to draw an accurate, structured drawing. If you draw scenes that contain many objects or pages of a manga, it can be extremely long to draw all the lines of guidance every time. So, when drawing with no guidelines, take this into consideration and draw in the right way.

How Perspective Drawing is Applied in Anime and Manga

Room drawing in one-point perspective

When you draw perspective lines on the various objects in the image you’d see that they all eventually join at a single point (the disappearing point).

Like the example of drawing a bedroom, it is possible to see perspective drawings in a variety of manga or anime. Cities, furniture, rooms roadways, buildings, and even people appear better when drawn with the proper perspective.

To learn more about drawing a room from one point of perspective, refer to:

One Point Perspective Room Drawing Tutorial – Step by Step

Perspective When Drawing Anime Characters

Anime characters and perspective

One of the most basic examples that shows the concept of perspective could be as simple as a character standing in the foreground appears larger than one who is behind.

If you’re looking to gain an idea of the size of a person’s body when in the foreground when compared to those on the back (or with the reverse perspective) you can apply the technique in the previous example.

  1. Make a line vertical that is as high as the person you’d like to draw it on (shown with red)

An even more complicated example would be something similar to an attack that appears to be directly in your face (like the drawing above). This can be accomplished with a punch larger than the body elements of the person to whom it belongs.

If you’d like to see an actual example of this, simply place your hands right towards your face. Take note of how large it appears when compared to other objects because of perspective.

Learning to Draw in Perspective

If you’ve never experienced the concept of perspective drawing before, it could appear like a lot to absorb, but don’t overtake it with your thoughts. Perspective drawing isn’t that difficult to master. When you’ve drawn for a long time, you’ve probably sketched things from a perspective, without realizing it. Now that you’ve learned the basics of how perspective works, you are able to apply it to your work.

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