Drawing a Grid in One-Point Perspective

View the image below. It contains terminology which may or may not be universal and it has a nifty drawing based on the DML. If that is not enough, it is drawn to scale. 1 square = 1 foot.

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Figure 1

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a room in scale in one-point perspective

Drawing Parameters / Particulars of the Scale

To start the drawing decide on scale, height of eye level, special vanishing point
For example- The drawing pictured at figure 1 used the parameters listed below.

  1. Scale: 1 square = 1 foot
  2. Eye level/horizon line is at 5 feet
  3. Special vanishing point: Placed on the horizon line 9 feet away from the vanishing point. See image of placing the point further away
Figure 2 - The Scale
  1. Each square represents 1 foot. Your scale can be different - each square could equal any size.
  2. The ground line is marked 1 - 12. Keeping in mind that the scale is 1 square = 1 foot, then this represents a grid that is 12 feet wide.
  3. The horizon line / eye level line is placed at 5 feet on the scale. This indicates the viewer's one-eye is 5 feet off the ground. (One-eye = perspective is limited in that us results in a view that is as if looked at with one-eye instead of two eyes.)
  4. The special vanishing point is placed nine feet away from the vanishing point.

The numbered grid on the ground line (GL) or horizontal measuring line (HML) determines the spacing of the parallel lines that meet at the vanishing point. (Yes, the lines going toward the vanishing point are parallel. They don't look parallel do they? In real life they would be.)

Figure 3 - How the DML Finds the Depth of the Squares in the Grid

The DML determines where the horizontal lines will be drawn. Notice in the image where the BLUE DML intersects with the parallel lines (circled in yellow in the image to the left.) The intersection of the DML with the parallel lines is where to draw the horizontal lines. (Remember the grid?)

Now it is just a matter of precise drawing.

Steps to Draw the Grid in One-Point Perspective

  1. If drawing to scale, establish the particulars of the scale (see comments above ) and mark the vanishing point
  2. Draw the ground line
  3. Draw the parallel lines from the vanishing point to the ground line. In the image above there are 12 parallel lines and each one meets the ground line at a certain point on the scale- number 1-12 in the image just under the ground line.
  4. Mark the special vanishing point that is to be used for the DML. In the image above the special vanishing point is on the horizon line at scale #9; it is circled
  5. Draw a line from the DML toward the furthest parallel line with the end of the DML meeting the line at the ground line. In the image above, this step is the blue DML line.
  6. Using the point where the DML intersected with each parallel line, draw horizontal line. (see figure 9) The horizontal line should be parallel to the ground and horizon lines. Each horizontal line should be drawn inside the grid between the first and last parallel lines. These horizontal lines mark the depth of each cube in the gridded plane.
Figure 8

This illustration shows Steps 1-5 from "Steps to Draw the Grid in One-Point Perspective" (above)
one-point perspective grid steps

Figure 9

In this illustration, the points where the DML intersect with the parallel lines are circled in green. These points are where the horizontal lines in Step 6 are draw. In the illustration, 3 of the lines are already drawn.
one-point perspective grid steps dml

Figure 10 - Placing the Special Vanishing Point Further from the Vanishing Point

Placing the special vanishing point further away from the central vanishing point results in a greater degree of foreshortening. In other words - the floor seems "flatter" or being viewed from a lower point or further away. On the flip-side, placing the special vanishing point closer to the central vanishing point results in a smaller degree of foreshortening resulting in the floor seemingly viewed from a higher point or closer.


escher_relativity.jpg (243289 bytes)
Artist of interest:

Online link:
 M. C. Escher


Perspective books:
I have all of the books linked below and my ungiven opinion varies on each of the books.
(Links last checked August 2, 2011)

Elementary: Lessons in Perspective Drawing published by Rod and Staff
Links: Lessons in Perspective Drawing or Lessons in Perspective Drawing (links go to same book)

7th - High School: Lifepacs Elective Art Unit 4 (You do not need the teacher's book for this one course in my opinion)

Advanced: The Art of Teaching Art by D. Rockman. Heads-up- This is an art book, so of course there are nudes in it and a few deserve to be covered. This can be accomplished with small post-it notes. Covering the nudes does not hamper the quality of the book. You may preview the book at books.google.com and at amazon.com. This book is useful for teaching upper level art classes.
Also check your library and the internet for resources.

Perspective for those who want to draw comics - Vanishing Point: Perspective for Comics from the Ground Up

Wikipedia page on graphical perspective: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perspective_(graphical)

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