Thursday, May 12, 2016

Perspective in the Round

5/11/16 brush pen
For our last “Quick Sketch” class, we met at the Seattle Center where we would have a wider scope of on-location subject matter to practice on. Inside the large Armory, instructor Bill Evans talked more about perspective as it relates to a wide and deep space – how to place elements in a composition to indicate relative depth. Since I often practice this type of perspective while I’m on the same level as my subject matter, I gave myself an additional challenge by sitting up at one of the high-stooled tables. Sketching some of my classmates as well as tables and chairs in the distance, I focused on how my slight elevation changed the relative placement of people and objects in the composition (at right).

5/11/16 inks, colored pencils
It was another gorgeous day, so we (OK, mostly I) were restless to sketch outside! Moving outdoors, Bill assigned us to choose a composition that included enough depth that we could incorporate various methods we’d learned throughout the course to indicate that depth, such as including greater detail and higher contrast in the foreground with lower contrast and atmospheric perspective in the distance. Some of what he’d been teaching echoed what I learned in Liz Steel’s Edges course – an ideal way to reinforce the concepts solidly in my brain. I chose a view of some foreground trees and a few people on a bench facing downtown Seattle’s skyline (at left). In the center of the composition are some glass flower sculptures outside Chihuly Garden and Glass, which I later regretted drawing in ink because that brought them too far forward.

The second assignment was to choose a challenging perspective study such as circles seen as ellipses – an example he’d just shown while we were still inside the Armory. The best example of subject matter at the Center, Bill said, was the International Fountain. If viewed by a bird flying over, it would look like concentric circles, but from the ground, it’s a series of huge ellipses. I didn’t leave myself enough time to tackle the fountain, but I found another subject that was nearly as challenging in the same way: the top of the Space Needle (below).

Sketching it from a sunny bench, I pondered what might be the key lesson of Bill’s excellent course: Perspective? Single-line drawings? Getting human proportions right? No. The most important lesson was this: Sketch, sketch and sketch some more.

Got it!

5/11/16 brush pen, ink
Bill Evans demos using an embroidery
hoop to help him sketch on a T-shirt!


  1. Good lessons to reinforce! Love your space needle sketch. I'll have to get over there this summer and explore sketching options....I'm sure it could be a whole day!

    1. Thanks, Terrie -- I never tire of sketching the Needle, and it's definitely a challenging shape (that skinny waist -- I never seem to get the proportion right)!

      - Tina


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