In one point perspective, surfaces that face the viewer appear as their true shape, without any distortion. They are drawn using primarily horizontal and vertical lines, as illustrated by the diagram to the right:
In this one point perspective photo, surfaces facing the viewer are undistorted and show their true shape. For example, we see the side of the bath, window and facing surfaces as ordinary squares and rectangles. Their sides are parallel with the edges of the photograph.
Surfaces that travel away from the viewer, on the other hand, converge towards a single ‘vanishing point‘. This is a point that is located directly in front of the viewer’s eyes, on a ‘horizon line’ (also known as an ‘eye level line’), as illustrated in the photo below:
All receding edges of the buildings in this one point perspective photo angle towards the single vanishing point. The position of the vanishing point tells us that the photographer was crouching down, with his eye level lowered.
It is possible to draw over photographs to identify vanishing points, horizon lines and true shapes. Studying the work of famous artists can also help you gain an understanding of one point perspective, as shown in the example by Vincent van Gogh below.
Surfaces that face the viewer are drawn using their true shape
Surfaces that travel away from the viewer converge towards a single vanishing point
‘Bedroom in arles’ by Vincent van Gogh – identifying perspective lines
Visual Art by Dan dressler
Watertown High School 50 Columbia Street, Watertown MA