Splinters of thought #2: Getting Things in Perspective

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Blog entry by bearkatwood posted 10-20-2015 02:03 PM 1477 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: The Year of the Book Part 2 of Splinters of thought series Part 3: Mass Produce Your Wedges. »

Drawing in Perspective

You don’t have to be an artist to be a woodworker, but a good foundation in perspective drawing can come in very helpful. I have the fortunate history of many art classes to pull from and I am often asked by clients to draw up a design that I have proposed. Being able to draw a design that will eventually resemble the piece you plan to build can make the process easier. I am a firm believer that a woodworker should always keep a journal of design ideas nearby to sketch out any ideas you can come up with.

Perspective drawing will help immensely when you have drawn out a shape you like and want to enlarge it to full size to be used as a blueprint. Without this you could be just guessing when it comes to production.

Sheraton, Chippendale, Hepplewhite all used perspective drawings to portray their furnishings in their books.

The chair shown above was a miniature that was done in reverse where the full size drawing was done first and the reduction was done second. Using my sketch book I was able to make both plans using perspective drawing.

Knowing 1 point and 2 point perspective drawing is a valuable skill to have. It is used by architects and builders to draw up plans for buildings and can help alleviate the surprises that pop up when you are working out a piece of furniture. The 2 point perspective gives a view from an angle of the work.

This is a rough sketch that I did for a client of a bench I was contracted to build. It is done in the 2 point perspective and is helpful because you can see the piece in three planes at once. If you want to have three separate figures to work from try this trick to work up a blueprint.

1. Draw up your piece from the front angle with height measurements needed.

2. extend the horizontal lines to the right and using your depth measurements and angles draw in your side view. Above the first object draw a 45 degree angle from lower right to upper left. Take any vertical lines and carry them straight upward to the angle.

3. Now take the vertical lines drawn on the right image and extend them upward as you did with the first image. Use the intersecting lines from the 45 degree angle to deflect to the right and you can work up your overhead view.

You can use this to mark out joinery and make your patterns.

If you draw up your piece using the 2 point perspective and the blueprint view you can make a miniature or mock up of the piece to be made. Using these you can see your work from many different views and address any concerns before you have begun to use the good materials.
Using perspective drawing can make life easier.

-- Brian Noel

5 comments so far

View abie's profile


904 posts in 4381 days

#1 posted 10-20-2015 03:50 PM

My last wife (deceased) would alway tell me to draw in perspective but alas I could not
However I have several Escher books and he was the master
Thanks for your article ,nee perspective.

-- Bruce. a mind is like a book it is only useful when open.

View CFrye's profile


10838 posts in 2450 days

#2 posted 10-20-2015 05:06 PM

Great drawing ‘trick’, Brian! I will remember that! Thanks for sharing. I am a very visual learner. I can get very frustrated when listening to a description of something. Draw it so I can see it!

-- God bless, Candy

View McFly's profile


283 posts in 1637 days

#3 posted 10-20-2015 08:40 PM

Excellent explanation. I had no idea it could be so simple to flip perspectives. Thanks for posting this!

View htl's profile


4872 posts in 1769 days

#4 posted 10-27-2015 04:07 AM

I took two simple drafting classes in high school and they have served me well for over 45 years of wood working.
CFrye it am also a visual learner and taking those classes trained me to see inside of projects.
bearkatwood thanks for these short how toes there’s all ways something new to learn.

-- An Index Of My Model making Blogs

View widdle's profile


2072 posts in 3609 days

#5 posted 04-17-2016 10:06 AM

Great stuff

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