The Secrets to Drawing: Three Point Perspective

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Lesson Discussion

  1. I think it would’ve been better to demonstrate a birds-eye view of a cityscape for 3-point perspective. This one I probably still would’ve done in 2-point. It looks too distorted in this example.

    • Hi Polina,

      Each line should go to one of the vanishing points. “Vertical” edges will go to the top or bottom vanishing point while “top” or “bottom” edges will go to either the left or right vanishing point, depending on what side of the corner they are on.

  2. This was a difficult lesson because you ruler kept blocking out previous lines you made. Therefore I got a bit lost as I couldn’t follow your example. However I think I done ok with my first attempt.

  3. I agree with Jason’s point. This one obviously needs a bit of thinking out and I don’t know that I’m likely to use it. But it definitely helps towards a complete understanding of the theory of perspective. I’ll also have to check out the Live Lesson!

  4. Hi Matt – my lines to the horizon vanishing points were not equal in width so when I drew the line from the third vanishing point it went through only one intersection, not two. Is it essential then for this to work for the two “roads” to be of equal width?

  5. Usually your demos make my refresh lessons so clear but this one…? Maybe – Stop to point out what line to what points were just applied? Different colors per plane? Now to my question – To apply three point to more “organic” shapes. e.g. cat curled up on garden bench. So do I cube out approx. space occupied per subject or ???

    • Hi L,
      Three point perspective is typically only used for extreme angles. For example – looking down from the top of a building (bird’s eye view) or looking up (worm’s eye view). For an organic shape, like a cat, I would stick to two point perspective.

  6. I have watched this5x, and still have no clear idea of what I am doing or why. Not one of my drawings looks like the square that you are showing. Please slow down and explain which lines are connecting to what.

  7. Hi Matt ….. I am almost afraid to show my ignorance on this one, however, I have watched this video several times, and each time its almost as if I get lost in the maze of lines I have drawn. I must admit I have to continue to draw lines to the vanishing points looking for a realistic form to appear. I think I am getting the point and I find the forms that I have drawn to be interesting. Thanks for the video!! As usual you do a great job.

  8. Hi Matt,

    Quick question……If I am doing an architectural drawing of someones home, how do you determine whether to use a 1 or 2 point perspective? Or if it is just one building, it would always be 1 point???



    • Hi David,

      Typically, I stick with two point perspective. One point perspective can make the building appear flat, while three point perspective is really impractical when creating a house portrait.

  9. I was walking up and down hills in San Francisco yesterday and it occurred to me that I didn’t understand
    how to apply Perspective to what I was seeing: As a steep hill goes up, the buildings, of course, are aligned
    upwards, along with it, in a step-wise fashion. So how many vanishing points are necessary? The same question applies to looking down a hill… An added complication is to be on the top of a hill looking down a long street
    bordered on either side by buildings and houses, and then in the distance the road curves to one side very
    gradually. Any idea how I can determine how to apply Perspective to these very real scenarios?

    • Hi Stephen,

      The hills do not affect where the horizon line should be placed. The horizon line is always a straight, horizontal line. The hills actually overlap it and some hills may extend above it or below it depending on your vantage point.

  10. Yeks, just like many of the people above I had trouble finding the line that you were drawing and where it ended up. This one could have been a bit slower with a chance to see where each line went both from and to.

  11. My previous art instructor told us three point perspective is very hard to comprehend and that you will not grasp it the first time you try. I have been using many different sources trying to increase my understanding. Your lessons are very helpful. I do find the videos hard to keep up with a new subject. I read the power points on the ebooks before viewing the video. Then I go along with the PowerPoint at my own speed actually practicing. Then I watch the video to reinforce what I have read. I call it “3 point learning”. Thank you, I am enjoying the lessons.

  12. HI Matt, I always struggled with perspective but I am now confident that I understand the principles. However I found three point confusing and would need to have a set of your notes which I will annotate or go over with coloured lines beside me before I would tackle this again. What I need to understand is how to apply which point perspective to my pictures. I understand three is for an exaggerated view point either looking down or looking up, two is best for buildings and one is best for what scenario please ??

    • Hi Christine,
      You may want to reserve three point perspective only when you are dealing with an extreme angle. For example, if you are viewing the subject from a “worm’s eye view” or from a vantage point high above the subject – “bird’s eye view”. In most situations, two point perspective is often the best solution.

      • Thank you Matt, when would I use one point perspective then?

        I would just like to say that I have tried various art courses and workshops but some of the art courses in particular have been very one dimensional, just paper based with no feedback, no assistance and no visual aids. What I love about your courses is that they are a holistic approach to art making it much more three dimensional and meaningful. That, plus the fact that you have to be one of the best tutors I have ever come across, you make everything so simple to understand and I have already learnt lots. So thank you so much

  13. whew, I am definitely a beginner. Doing well & enjoying the lessons, but 3 point perspective was intense. I managed to get the first cube but could not tell where any lines were going on the subsequent buildings. Think I’ll come back to this one later.

    • Hello Matt – I am a new member (yearly membership) and started my courses with Beginning Drawing – the lessons are amazing and I’m very happy. I too though was getting confused with 3 point perspective and drawing along with you in the video – although I played it through several times. Then I remembered the e-books with each lesson and downloaded and read through this as well – and voila! I’ve got it – thank you so much! I highly suggest that anyone having difficulty with this concept might find working with the ebook gives a great “perspective” on this! Thanks again!

  14. This is without a doubt a great course. I find it easy to follow and understand. I love that accent Matt. Three point perspective finally makes more sense to me.

  15. Interesting how watching this brought back a familiar struggle with structure in acrylic painting. I look forward now to begin it again and welcome the struggle to get it sorted out. So, I think its good you have not made it too easy. 🙂

  16. I wanted to do the 3 point perspective video and it is telling me that the embedded code for this video is not valid. Can I get some help please?

  17. Ok, I agree with the others that said that this video is confusing. What made it confusing to me is when you say to draw a line from a specific vanishing point, you never say exactly where to draw the line to. For example, when directing us to draw a line from the 3rd or bottom vanishing line upward, I think you need to explain that the line being drawn needs to intersect a point where 2 other lines from the other vanishing points intersect. Is this correct? I don’t think you want us to draw random lines or a shape would not be formed. Does this make any sense to anyone but me? Then again, your hands were in the way a lot of the time. It would have helped if you pointed with your pencil tip where the lines were going to start and finish before (with your hands out of the way) drawing the line. So many times you said draw two lines from the vanishing point and never said to where the line should be placed. Confusing.

  18. Hey Matt…. you certainly freaked the hell out of me with this one lol
    all those lines certainly confused me at first… I ripped out my first attempt and started afresh …. the 2nd time..1st cube ok, .. luckily there is a pause button and I could keep up and do a step at a time.. ie watch you draw 2 lines, pause video, then I draw 2 lines etc .. now all good 🙂 whew !!!! 🙂
    ahhhh… just a question please ? there is no 4 point perspective right !!!! ???? lol

  19. Hi Matt,

    Thank you for the work you do in creating these videos. I was pleasantly surprised that I got this on the first attempt. I think the confusion that many are experiencing is because some of your vanishing points are off screen. I know that since I could see all mine when attempting this one, it just seemed to click in my mind. Anyways thanks for another excellent training lesson. I can see that I am learning to improve my drawing, slow but surely.

  20. Hi Matt, thanks again for your videos. They are awesome. This lesson was telling me actually something totally new. One point perspective seems very logical and natural. Two point perspective was new to me but again, the image, produced with it, looks very natural. The three point is totally new to me and very, very interesting. I had a question about where the viewer should be located in order to see a picture like that? You have practically answered my question in your previous comments, but still can you give a link where i could see some examples of artists using three points perspective ?

  21. Hello Matt,

    I am really confused about 2,and 3 point perspectives. I am interested in painting and drawing landscapes. Would I ever use these in landscape paintings? If so, in what aspect would I use these concepts? I am totally new to art, so I hope my question isn’t foolish. Thanks

  22. Dear Matt,
    I watched the Three Points Perspective Live video. Very well explained but one thing makes me uncertain: the dimension of the windows. The dimension of the windows should respect the perspective as well, so the farther the windows are, the smaller in width they should appear. I didn’t catch this aspect on the video.

    Best regards,


  23. Hello everyone , I agree with you all, this video on 3 points prospective is very confusing when you add the second and third item, too fast, the ruler blocks the sight and I went in crisis because I could not follow as I would have liked to. I ask please to repeat the lesson slower , show well how the lines intersect if the space you draw the lines from the 2 points on the orizon are drawn freely or are there some rules. Thank you I am a beginner and I need to see simpler demostration because it is a bit confusing. Thank you

  24. Hi Matt,
    Thanks for the video, I did attempt to repeat all your drawing after each lesson and had been pretty pleased with them. I find that with the 3 point perspective, it is easier to “see” if I highlight and shade the first side of the cube and then it is easier to follow. I think it takes a bit of practice to develop an eye for it but very clear instructions, thank you.

  25. Hi Matt,
    To resume, can we say that, a one-point perspective line is used when we face the facade of the object; the 2-point perspective when we face the intersaction of two facades; the 3 point perspective line when we face the angle of 3 facades?

  26. Love all the other lessons but got completely lost on this one. There was to many lines and I could not grasp it. Will try again another time.

  27. Hi Matt,
    Thanks for clearing up the mystery of one, two and three point perspective. I have tried to learn this with other instructors and failed miserably. I am really enjoying this drawing course.

  28. I can see how 1,2 and 3 point perspective works with something like a building, but what about an irregular shape eg a cat? would I draw the cube and then place the cat or whatever in the cube?

  29. Hi, I have “drawn with you” LOL, and now it is more clear. I was able to observe the process better in the second part of the video. I think the first part was a little too fast, maybe. Thank you!

  30. I have read about multi-point, 4-point and 5-point perspective – I know according to some websites they exist, and these websites suggest that we should be able to work with them. What can you say about these other perspectives? Are they all based on 3-point? Or, are these used for specific types of drawings? I have also read about creating a spiral staircase using perspective. And, the human body. Those are all examples of the above types mentioned. Would appreciate any comments you can provide. Just trying to understand –

  31. I was drawing from the video on 3 point perspective and had to leave it. When I came back to complete it a few days later, it wasn’t the same video. Are there more than 2 videos on 3 point perspective because the one I was working on started with the horizon line on the bottom with 2 points at either end and the 3rd point on top. I had completed drawing 3 buildings with the tallest in the middle and had started drawing in the windows on the middle building. When I came back a few days later to complete the drawing, that video was no longer there. The one that was there and is there now is one with the horizon line on top with and the 3rd point was at the bottom. Are there 2 videos?

  32. Hi Matt
    That link wasn’t the video I was watching. I was learning from the course called The Secrets to Drawing lesson number 9, 3 point perspective. There’s no room to insert an attachment here so that I can show you what I had done. It’s the only course I’ve been taking and I just found it odd that it wasn’t the same video.
    Thanks anyway. I plan on going through the course 25 Days to Better Drawings after I’ve finished this one.

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