How to Draw Perspective and Isometric Drawings

Featured Image_How to Draw Perspective and Isometric Drawings

Whether you are an architect or a designer, it’s important to understand the techniques to create 2D drawings. In this tutorial we’re going to get back to the basics and go over how to draw perspective, isometric, and 3D drawings. We used Sketchup for this example, but the principles can be applied to hand drawing too!

Draw a Parallel Projection

A parallel projection is different than a perspective drawing because there is no vanishing point. The lines in each axis (x, y, z) will be parallel to the other lines of the same axis. In an isometric drawing, there is a specific set of angles between each axis.

To begin drawing a parallel projection, draw a vertical line for the “z” axis. Then, draw a line connecting to the base for the “x” axis and another for the “y” axis.

draw perspective as a parallel projection axis

If you are using Sketchup, copy and paste the lines in each axis to connect to each other until you form a box. If you are a hand drawing, draw the lines to intersect one another, making sure you follow the exact angle of the lines. You may want to use a drafting triangle and/or a t-square to make sure the lines are exactly the same angle.

draw perspective as parallel projection box

Draw Perspective (one point)

For a one-point perspective, you will have a horizon line and a vanishing point. To start, draw a long horizontal line to represent the horizon line. Then, pick a point to use as your vanishing point and draw an “X” at that point. Keep in mind that the horizon line is the same height as your viewer’s eye. The perception of objects will change with their relation to the height of the horizon line.

draw perspective horizon line

Let’s try it!

Start your perspective by drawing a vertical line above the horizon line. Draw a line parallel to the vertical line and connect the top and bottom with horizontal lines to create a box. Then, draw lines from the top and bottom of each vertical line to your vanishing point.

draw perspective lines to vanishing point

Draw a vertical and horizontal line to close of the box. Erase the lines that extend past the box to the vanishing point.

draw perspective box and erase lines

You can also use the same method to draw a box with an angled projection. The steps are the same, but the vertical lines are now at an angle instead. The box will appear more skewed than with the first method.

draw perspective of skewed box

Draw Perspective (two point)

Drawing a two-point perspective is similar to one-point, but with this method you will have two vanishing points instead of one.

Begin by drawing your horizon line. This time, use an “X” to mark two vanishing points, one on the left side and one on the right side.

draw perspective horizon line with two vanishing points

Draw a vertical line somewhere in between the two vanishing points to start drawing your perspective. Keep all of the vertical lines parallel, and make sure the rest of the lines connect to the vanishing point on the right. You can begin adding details like doorways, columns, or storefronts. Just make sure you connect each line to a vanishing point and erase any intersecting lines you create along the way to make it less confusing.

draw perspective wall to right vanishing point

When adding details like columns or window frames, keep in mind that the distance between them will decrease as they get closer to the vanishing point.

draw perspective storefront

Use the same steps to create the second wall of the building or box. This time, you will draw the lines to the left vanishing point.

draw perspective wall to left vanishing point

Draw Perspective (three point)

The last method is a three-point perspective. This type of drawing can be used to draw something like a cityscape from a bird’s-eye view. It is similar to the two-point perspective, except there is also a third vanishing point above or below the horizon line. This will be the “Z” axis. Draw a vertical line from the third vanishing point through the horizon line. Everything else will stem from that point.

draw perspective z-axis

Draw a line to the right vanishing point to create the base of a building. Then, draw another line from the horizon line to the third vanishing point. This will create the first “wall” of your building. Erase any intersecting lines. Repeat the same process on the other side to create a second “wall.”

draw perspective first wall
draw perspective second wall

You can extend the lines above the horizon line to give the illusion of a really tall building. From here, you can begin to add details lines, making sure they connect back to the correct vanishing point.

draw perspective with extended lines

If you want to create the appearance that you are above the building, draw the roofline below the horizon line. You can add details like a parapet by drawing lines offset from the roofline.

draw perspective from above
draw perspective roof parapet

As you draw, keep in mind that things that are closer to you will appear wider. As things get closer to the vanishing points, they appear closer together. Once you get the hang of it, you can begin to add more shapes and buildings to create a more detailed scene.

draw perspective with two buildings

When you begin to draw perspective, it can get messy and frustrating! Just be patient and keep practicing. Relax and have fun with it, and if you need any additional tips, check out our other tutorials.

Good luck and Happy Hacking!

26 Comments

  1. hamzakhan17826 May 19, 2019 at 7:16 am #

    Ok sure, I will follow your steps before going to do exams. I hope your article will help me more.

  2. karlmistos May 14, 2019 at 10:41 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this. I’ll definitely share this with my classmates at de la salle zobel.

  3. classboat01 October 17, 2018 at 7:37 am #

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  4. mikemoreno September 5, 2018 at 3:48 am #

    thank you very much, verry helpfull…

  5. jogesh12345 August 14, 2018 at 1:55 am #

    Very effective and informative article.Thanks for sharing such an important tutorial.

  6. FLMIMA August 11, 2018 at 9:20 pm #

    Really helpful website

  7. Rumi July 15, 2018 at 7:16 am #

    I feel very grateful that I read this. It is very helpful and very informative and I really learned a lot from it.

  8. RJennings April 28, 2018 at 6:12 pm #

    Thank you for this website. The practice questions are helpful.

  9. Scott March 22, 2018 at 1:50 pm #

    Taking this test on Saturday. Last 4.0 exam to complete for the trio, then on to 5.0. This site is my go-to place when organizing what materials I’ll be studying

  10. shozab January 30, 2018 at 2:22 pm #

    Hi , very good article.

    thanks for sharing, keep up the good work

  11. dyba January 27, 2018 at 1:08 am #

    Good advice. Best of luck to all!

  12. KendraShirley January 16, 2018 at 4:04 pm #

    This is my favorite site for practicing for my tests! Great advise and super helpful.

  13. reximagetrim January 16, 2018 at 10:37 am #

    Nice post to read. A complete guide that can help all of us.

  14. tylerstockholm December 17, 2017 at 9:37 pm #

    Nice one… very helpful! Thanks!!!

  15. Aartiwalvekar November 21, 2017 at 8:56 am #

    Nice post

  16. Aartiwalvekar October 9, 2017 at 9:45 pm #

    Great post!

  17. Tony August 30, 2017 at 7:07 am #

    In the NCARB ARE 5.0 handbook they reference Fundamentals of Building Construction: Materials and Methods in both of their example questions for cost estimating. Unfortunately there isn’t a specific chapter on cost estimating, it’s woven throughout the content.

  18. Spencer August 30, 2017 at 1:15 am #

    What is the best reference for cost estimating for PDD.

  19. Amy July 26, 2017 at 3:24 pm #

    Thanks! Great advice

  20. Tony June 29, 2017 at 7:23 am #

    Deciduous trees should only be used for shade (especially in temperate climates). Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the fall and will have little protection against wind in the winter when it is most needed. Likewise, the leafless trees allow solar heat gain in the winter when it is desired, and shade in the summer.

    Coniferous trees are only to be used to block wind and views. Since they don’t lose their needles, they work great for these two items year-round.

  21. Shahid Logan June 28, 2017 at 4:50 pm #

    Hello. My name is Shahid. This comment is for anyone who would like to reply. On the Siteplanning test. To block the wind, can you use a Deciduous tree or must you use a Coniferous tree?

  22. Mike January 4, 2017 at 11:04 am #

    Hi Tony,

    I need to take 5.0 PPD & PDD. Do you plan on posting notes such as “Caroline’s Notes” that you had posted for the various 4.0 exams for either of those sections? I found those notes to be some of the best resources in studying for the 4.0 sections. If so any idea when? Thanks

  23. Stephen October 17, 2016 at 9:30 pm #

    Hi Tony,
    Any updates on the SS exam ? If there’s an expected release date ? Thanks

  24. DesignerHacks October 4, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

    Paige,

    We are releasing practice exams for the SS exam later this fall.

    Best,
    Tony

  25. Paige October 4, 2016 at 11:34 am #

    Will you have SS questions on here at some point?

  26. Daniel September 9, 2016 at 8:47 am #

    Great post, very helpful with the lists of suggested materials, I just passed CDs in July and am taking PPP in November so I definitely needed the list.

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