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Aerial Perspective Drawing

 

Researching Your Subject

 

Sketch sheet of references for aerial perspective.

Sketch sheet of references for aerial perspective.

Research your subject to get to know the type of shapes you will be drawing:

  • Make some sketches or collect some images of rooftops, chimneys, clouds and distant horizons to use as visual references.
  • In our research sheet above we have sketched three skylines: some domestic chimneys for the foreground, some factory buildings for the mid-ground and a city skyline for the background.
  • The decreasing scale and diminishing detail in these three sketches make them ideal for creating the illusion of depth in aerial perspective.

Aerial Perspective Drawing - Step 1

 

Divide the paper into areas for the sky and the land.

Divide the paper into areas for the sky and the land.

To begin our landscape drawing:

  • Take an A3 sheet of heavy cartridge paper and arrange it vertically.
  • Using a pencil, lightly mark the center of the sheet to separate the areas of sky above and land below.

 

Aerial Perspective Drawing - Step 2

 

Sketch in the skylines and layers of cloud.

Sketch in the skylines and layers of cloud.

In the Land Area, draw three evenly spaced skylines across the paper:

  • The lowest skyline focuses on nearby rooftops. The detail here may include domestic chimney shapes, some of which may be larger suggesting that they are closer to the viewer while others may be smaller suggesting that they are slightly further away. This starts to create an illusion of depth within a single skyline.
  • The middle skyline includes middle distance rooftops. The detail here could include a greater variety of architectural shapes to create a mixture of domestic and industrial structures and the scale of the buildings should be smaller than the lower skyline.
  • The top skyline is the distant horizon. The detail here should include high-rise buildings and towers that would be visible from afar. The scale of the buildings should be smaller than those in the middle skyline.

 

In the Sky Area, draw three evenly spaced layers of clouds:

  • These should be spaced equally to leave a gap above the top skyline which forms a fourth layer of cloud.
  • You may now erase the guide line that separates the sky area from the landscape area.

 

Aerial Perspective Drawing - Step 3

 

Complete the drawing with some vertical trails of smoke.

Complete the drawing with some vertical trails of smoke.

To complete the drawing, we have added some vertical trails of smoke to the middle skyline:

  • Each trail of smoke was 'welded' to a different layer of cloud to strengthen the illusion of depth as their scale decreases in the distance.
  • They break up the parallel structure of the composition which seemed too horizontal.
  • They also act as transitional shapes between the hard lines of the architecture and the soft contours of the clouds.

 

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