3.4.3 Aerial or atmospheric perspective

Lisbon is a city built on seven hills, so to view  parts of the city from an aerial perspective is common. Here I decided to draw a view from the St Catharina platform, overlooking some rooftops towards the river Tejo, with an industrial site on the middle right and another settlement on the far side of the river.

A4, at first I lay out the shapes in pencil:

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Then I work on the tonal gradation with charcoal sticks and sanguine pencils:

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I felt quite happy with this drawing til logging it , then I noticed how the buildings on the horizon are still far too distinct and dark, so I erased them and reworked that part:

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It is true that when letting the far distance become more foggy and disappearing into a mist, the feeling of depth is increased.

I think this drawing fulfills the brief of the exercise, but I am becoming increasingly bored with myself at drawing such predictable boring drawings.

3.4.2 Angular perspective

It took me by surprise how difficult it was to find a suitable building for this exercise in the city. You would think every street corner, every house has an angle, but to find somewhere with the right distance, a rather unobstructed view , without having to stand in the middle of a street and a place and without lots of people, was not so easy.

I started on a drawing of a beautiful church seen from Praca de Luis Camoes, but first I got all nervous about the perspective, and then about random people peeking over my shoulder. I don’t know why it would be rude to walk up to someone reading and stare into their book, whereas it seems to be socially acceptable to walk up to someone sketching and see what they are doing.  I am very shy about drawing and also had some technical difficulties tackling this, so had to move on to a quieter neighborhood.

I finally found a beautiful house on the corner of Praca Principe Real and Rua do Jasmim, where I could sit a little hidden. Here is the A4 sketch in pencil, no eraser.

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Ok, so still a lot to learn about angular perspective 🙂 It is definitely better than before I started this course, because then it would probably not even have been recognizable, but still a long way to go 🙂

When I came home I drew in a line for eye level, and put some newspapers around the sketchbook so I could extend all lines to the sides til they met the line of the eye level, far outside of my sketchbook.

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I am not entirely sure I have done this exercise well, but it definitely showed me to be more brave in letting the lines recede towards the eyelevel. In my drawing all lines were still too parallell and the angular perspective not clear enough.

To be continued… this is the kind of drawing I need a lot of practice to get… but I am less despaired as in the “at home ” exercises of Chapter 2, so there is a slight progress…


A few days later and the setting is very different – I woke up in Umbertine, Italy this morning and had a very quiet and calm moment walking around the farmhouse in the morning light. An new attempt to drawing angular perspective, A4 sketchbook and Uniball black pen to resist all attempts at using the eraser:

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It is still a quite “wobbly” house, but I am so relieved at being able to draw this without a major meltdown- now it is only a question of practicing and practicing 🙂 I still seem to be incapable of drawing a vertical line 🙂


Back in Lisbon where this week I am working in a tiny apartment  in Old Town, and looking out the window I see the angle of the neighboring house- very inviting for another go at angular perspective. The house is a little too close, but I am looking at it from the first floor, not from the ground.

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To be continued …..

3.4.1 Parallel perspective

3.4.1 Parallel perspective- an interior view

This week, I lived in an old Riad in the Medina of Marrakech. It was an absolutely perfect place to draw perspective, as all walls are tiled and there is an incredible diversity of geometrical patterns and lines to refer too.

Here is a view from the corridor through the bedroom door, on A4 with Uniball black pen (=no eraser!):

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Although slightly wobbly, I think this is a quite accurate perspective drawing from observation.

Now I draw a perspective drawing with the ruler on top to check how accurate this is.

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When using a ruler, it obviously becomes apparent that the receding lines of my drawing meet in all kinds of points and not in one single vanishing point. That said, I have understood the principles of perspective drawing so it is not as wrong as my “At home ” series from the previous part of the course- yay!

Here I will draw one more interior view through a door determining the vanishing point from the start and using the ruler. This is a view from the dining room in the middle courtyard towards a small salon.

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This time I used pencils and eraser and a LOT of time :). It is not a drawing I would hang on the wall, but I am happy because I understood and learned somethings. It is not a way of drawing that comes easily to me -using a ruler 😦  but it is possible!