Perspective Trick

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Here's a tool that I use fairly often for getting quick, but accurate perspective lines. While at RISD, I picked up the habit of using strings to chart out my perspective guidelines. This is great for general use, but sometimes I need a little more accuracy, so I added a "floating" straightedge to firm up those stray lines.

As you may have guessed, the contraption is made from my old Erector set. The construction is very simple, just 3 pieces plus nuts and bolts. The important thing is that the straightedge lines up perfectly with the string when pulled taut.

I should note that my typical process begins with a rough sketch that is subsequently honed through precise vanishing points and straight lines. To do this, one end of the string is attached to my desk using a binder clip while I attempt to match the string to the angles of my composition. By adjusting the distance between the drawing and the vanishing point (the binder clip) the correct correlation is easily found.

In addition, if you'd like to know more about the basic principles of perspective, then you can't go wrong with Successful Drawing by Andrew Loomis. This is my favorite book when it comes to the technical aspects of drawing, especially for comic book artists. Read it. Please.

Friendly reminder:
This Wednesday, I will be signing at Jim Hanley's Universe in Manhattan. Please stop by if you'd like to have me sign your copy of the Mythos hardcover, Amazing Spider-Man #577, or Spectrum 15.

Thanks to April for putting together the poster!


  1. Swain, thank you for the "nerd alert." Unfortunately, the warning came too late as I have already passed the point of no return.

    In fact, in a future post, I have even nerdier perspective tricks to show.

  2. Ach! And I just left New York! Darn!


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