2 Point Perspective Drawing: Step by Step Guide for Beginners
Perspective drawing is a vital artistic technique if you’re interested in conveying spatial representations on paper. Today you’ll learn the 2 Point Perspective method of drawing by means of simple Step by Step instruction!
Defining Two Point Perspective
Two Point Perspective is a type of linear perspective. Two Point Perspective is a systematic way of drawing box-like objects or anything that can be logically arranged into a geometric, grid-like structure. This 2pt drawing method is defined by 2 vanishing points that represent 2 convergence points and infinite distance away. All geometric objects that are arranged perpendicular or parallel to each other will have drawn sides that converge on each vanishing point. This will become super clear in the examples to come.
Why Learning 2pt. Perspective is Important
Learning 2 pt perspective is one of the smartest things you can do as an artist. As a result you’ll be able to correctly identify the angles that sides of objects make and draw them accurately.
2 pt. perspective is really just a recipe for drawing geometric objects with special realism. It’s a very important stepping stone in your quest to become a better artist. Whether drawing or painting you’ll encounter perspective drawing issues everywhere. Even in places you wouldn’t think to such as portraits and landscape art, but more on that later.
Have you ever tried to draw a city scape, or a bunch of houses? How about an interior scene or a table top scattered with books?
How did it go?
I’m guessing not so well and that’s why you’re here reading this! Once you understand how to see objects and environments in perspective they become so much easier to draw. You won’t have to guess as much as before. Remember, two point perspective is a drawing system. You just need to follow the system to get good results every time, with no guess work!
Sounds pretty good right? It is.
Step by Step Perspective Instructions
The following section contains many step by step illustrations to help you understand the 2-point perspective system at work. Each illustration is color coded for easier understanding.
You’ll start off by drawing a two point perspective drawing of a building. I’ve chosen a house for this building’s structure. This will give you a solid foundation for drawing a building’s exterior. This will prime you for drawing more complicated perspective drawings such as cityscapes, town centers… anything architectural really.
For the second lesson I’m going to show you how to draw a bedroom in proper 2pt. perspective. An understanding of a bedroom will enable you to draw interior scenes in proper perspective.
If you read the introduction you’ll recall that there are two vanishing points in a 2 pt. perspective drawing. No surprise there!
Just to make everything super easy to understand I’ll be creating a red vanishing point on the left and a green vanishing point on the right. What’s the point?
Heh heh… no pun intended!
Any of the receding lines (perspective lines) that need to be drawn to the left vanishing point will also be drawn in red. All lines that need to meet at the right-hand vanishing point will be drawn in green. To contrast all vertical lines will be drawn using black. Please note: all vertical lines in a 2pt. perspective rendering need to be parallel. There will be some other types of special lines too. Let me give you a key that you can refer back to:
Perspective Color-coded Key
Use this color key to guide you through both step by step perspective drawing tutorials below.
Cool! Here we go…
One of my favorite ways to teach 2pt. perspective is to draw a house. It’s a structure that’s more or less familiar to just about everyone and it contains some really great features for perspective training!
Make sure you draw all of your lines with a ruler or straight edge. Otherwise you’re going to have a mess on your hands while attempting to learn this.
Drawing A House Using 2pt. Perspective
Learning to draw a simple house in proper perspective is a great exercise. We’ll start off constructing a simple box (rectangular solid). We’ll then turn this box into a house by adding details such as a roof, a door and a walkway!
The first thing you need to do is to establish your horizon line and two vanishing points. For now you can draw the horizon line near the center of your paper. You’re going to want to place your vanishing points as far apart as possible and both points need to be drawn on the horizon line.
The horizon line is a horizontal line that represents eye level.
Next you should draw the closest corner of the house. This is nothing more than a vertical line.
To create the front side of the house you should connect the top and bottom ends of your vertical line to the left-hand vanishing point.
You’ll have to decide how far back this wall extends. Pick a distance and end the side with a vertical line. Remember that all vertical lines in this drawing will be parallel to each other.
Repeat the same procedure for the other side of the house / box. These lines can be seen below in green.
It’s worth reminding that I have color-coded then entire drawing. Notice how the red lines are drawn to the left-hand vanishing point, the green lines are drawn to the right-hand vanishing point and the black lines are all perfectly vertical and parallel to each other.
The top of the box can be drawn by connecting the remaining top corners to their appropriate vanishing points. Check out the diagram below!
At this point in the drawing it would be a good idea to clean things up a bit. Erase any extra lengths you have on your lines.
Finding the middle of something that is drawn in 2 point perspective is not as easy as measuring it. Because a perspective drawing accounts for visual space, things need to get smaller as they recede away from the viewer of the drawing. To put this another way, the back half of the box needs to be smaller than the front half!
Draw the spatial perspective properly!
Fortunately there’s an easy way to do this. Borrowing a simple technique from geometry we can find the perspective middle of our box by connecting opposite corners. This lines (yellow) are only temporary so you should draw them very lightly.
Next, with a perfectly vertical line you want to intersect the perspective middle of the box. This divides the box into two halves that are properly compensated in size for your perspective drawing.
Get used to the procedure for calculating perspective middles. You’ll end up using this technique often!
Now that you have the middle of the box located, you can add a door. There! Now this box is starting to resemble a house.
Before you attempt to draw a roof you need to calculate the perspective middle. Check out the yellow lines drawn below. I’m using the same procedure we used to position the door.
At this stage of the drawing you can decide how tall or how much pitch the roof will have. Pick a point somewhere on the perspective middle (the tall yellow line). Next you’ll connect that point to each of the top two corners of the right wall. (drawn in purple)
Next we’ll construct the ridge line portion of the roof. That’s the highest part of the roof. This is simple. Just connect the point you established in the previous step to the left-hand vanishing point.
Note: The next 3 steps require special attention. Most people fake or guess the angle and positioning for the final line that constructs the roof. But, there is a precise way to draw it. It requires some extra, temporary lines but is worth learning. Watch this…
You are going to construct the back wall of the house even though we can’t really see it. Do this lightly.
Now divide that wall into its perspective halves.
Where the vertical line representing the perspective half (yellow) intersects with the ridgeline (red) that is where the final line should be directed to. Simply note the intersection and connect it to the remaining left-hand corner. I’m doing this in purple.
Good job! I’m sure you’ve got some extra lines drawn. Erase them before continuing please.
Finally you can invite some guests into our house drawing by adding a walkway. Keep your cool and don’t just make up your own angles. Make sure you are drawing your lines to the proper vanishing point.
You can even draw a direction change in the walkway. My house has a walkway that very similar to this one! Notice how I’m using the other vanishing point to create the direction change in the walkway?
If your drawing is all caught up fantastic! Now you need to challenge yourself. Can you add some windows to the front and side of your house? How can you divide up the space so that they are positioned symmetrically yet compensate for perspective? (Hint use the “x” finding middle technique repeatedly)
Drawing a Bedroom in 2pt Perspective
How about a Two Point Perspective Bedroom?
Drawing the house showed you how to draw an exterior of a building but what about drawing interiors in two point perspective? Let me show you a simple step by step example for drawing a simple interior…
The first step you need to accomplish is to establish your horizon line and two vanishing points. For now you can draw the horizon line near the center of your paper. You’re going to want to place your vanishing points as far apart as possible and both points need to be drawn on the horizon line.
Remember: the horizon line is the horizontal line that represents eye level to the viewer. Anything placed below this line and we’ll see the top. Anything placed above the horizon line and we won’t see the top, but will see the bottom. This is assuming of course that the top and/or bottom planes are visible.
Next you should draw the farthest corner of the bedroom’s interior. This can be anywhere in between the two vanishing points but for now we’ll put it near the middle. I’ll represent this vertical line using the color black.
To draw an interior wall of the bedroom, connect the top and bottom of the vertical line to a vanishing point. When drawing interiors, walls go to opposite corners. This tends to confuse beginners so pay special attention here. The wall on the left gets connected to the vanishing point on the right.
Now you can draw the other wall. Remember that I’m color-coding things here so you can follow along with no problems!
The color key is located above.
Have you noticed that I’ve drawn the lines that represent the walls in perspective so that they trail off and don’t really end anywhere?
This is because when you are inside a room you generally can’t see the beginning of the walls. They usually start behind your field of vision and emerge into view.
With the empty shell of the room drawn we can now add perspective elements. Let’s turn this empty box into a bedroom! Let’s draw a bed. A bed is nothing more than a box. We can use our vanishing points to draw it. We can start by laying out the frontal plane of the bed.
Next you can draw the other side of the bed.
Finally, use your pencil and ruler to draw the top of the bed. Don’t guess at the angles. Use the vanishing points when drawing your 2 point perspective bedroom!
Yep, it’s nothing more than a box! (btw… you can add hand drawn details later such as pillows, sheets, etc.)
It would be wise to clean up the drawing. You should erase the parts of the wall that would be blocked by the bed.
You need a doorway to get into your bedroom perspective drawing! Let’s add a doorway now!
You can even use one of the vanishing points to make it look like the door is open.
Pretty cool huh?
A bedroom wouldn’t be complete without a window. Make sure you are still using the vanishing points. Here… I’ll show you below…
Finally you can erase any extra lines you had used in the creation of the window.
How about adding some cool posters to your bedroom wall? Remember that in a perspective drawing everything has a very controlled presentation. You pick the size and placement of the poster but it has to be drawn to one of the vanishing points.
It’s now your turn to add more elements to your drawing of a bedroom. What else belongs there that can be drawn using the two point perspective method? Take your time and be creative!
Need some ideas? Try drawing a few of these items:
- Night stand
- Alarm clock
- Tv & video game console
- Throw rug
- Book shelves
Checking Your Drawing
Linear perspective drawings using 2 vanishing points are fairly easy to evaluate once you get the hang of them. You are drawing according to a set of rules. These rules state that anything that is part of the box-like structure must be 1 of only 3 line types:
- A perspective line meeting at vanishing point #1
- A perspective line meeting at vanishing point #2
- A vertical line
This is why a person with great perspective drawing experience can spot mistakes amongst hundreds and even thousands of drawn lines very quickly. There are only 3 possible correct answers for most lines.
The only exception here would be nonconforming lines, lines that do not fit into the 3D grid that the other box-like objects line up to. You experienced these nonconforming lines in the pitch of the roof during the house drawing tutorial above.
Keep practicing. You’ll get better at spotting your drawing mistakes. Remember, you don’t pick the angles of the lines, they are determined by each vanishing point.
I can’t emphasize enough how important a formal education in perspective drawing is. Once you know the basic rules that govern how to draw 3D space on a 2D surface, drawing becomes many times easier. I can tell you from personal experience that once drawing becomes easier it becomes more fun too!
If you just skimmed through this page and have gotten to this point that’s great. Thanks for reading. But you really need to take ownership of your drawing education. Grab a pencil and a ruler, go back and actually do the tutorials. Draw both the house and the bedroom explained in the tutorials above.
You’ll want to commit the 2pt. perspective drawing method to memory. Even when you attempt to draw or paint subject matter that doesn’t seem worthy of perspective such as still life, landscape, and even portraiture, your perspective knowledge will help you in ways you can’t even imagine!
Have a question? As always, chime in below.
This tutorial is absolutely brilliant! Thank you.
I’m glad you enjoyed it Adele. Please tell your friends and thanks for commenting!
I have been looking for a simple explanation for a long time. Yours was great can’t wait to try it.
Awesome Tara, if you need help just ask in this comment section. Thanks for reading!
Hi John – The presentation could not have been better prepared and most ‘students’ should be able to understand the thinking – I am meeting up with some friends who are keen amateur artists who need some help with buildings etc. Different colours etc make sense. Many thanks, David (from an architectural background)
I’m glad you found the lessons useful David. Thanks for commenting and may your future drawings end up as planned!
I have never seen this explained so astutely, the color codes are very smart, thank you so much!
This is the best tutorial I have ever seen. Thank you.
Wow, that’s high praise – thank you!
The is the most helpful and practical tutorial on 2 point perspective drawing I have seen. By doing your house and bedroom drawing exercise I feel I have got a hang and a real understanding of perspective drawing. Thank you for this wonderful post! Will you make one and three point perspective drawing tutorials in the near future? Would love to see them!!
Thank you Grace. Actually I have many perspective drawing lessons.
Try these to start:
I must say this is very well done and easy to understand! Well done and thank you.
Given a photograph of a landscape, how do you tell where the horizon line is? Photograph can be zoomed out quite a bit and taken from above so what is eye level here?
Hi Cal, you’d have to look for clues. The horizon line is eye level and is always where level ground meets the sky. Even if you move up in altitude your eye level still is the horizon line because you’ll be seeing more ground and less sky. It’s pretty cool the way that works…one subtracts from another…the horizon moves with you! Note, this is not where the top of a hill or building meets the sky. You would have to discount elements like those.
Thanks. Say a picture like this where it’s up high and the buildings are shot at an angle, where is the horizon line?
Is the horizon line always parallel to the bottom of the paper? Or in this case as the buildings are at an angle, the horizon line also lines up with the buildings at an angle?
Under most normal circumstances, yes parallel with the bottom of the paper otherwise it will look like your head or the camera has been tilted. That’s one of those things most artists would force it to be parallel unless they had a really good reason not to… such as deliberately angling the horizon line to make things feel uneasy such as if you were drawing a destroyed city, a tornado scene, etc.
In that the picture the horizon line (eye level) is where the sky meets the land, discounting for the hills/mountains.
Thank you. Understand now.
Probably the best explanation of 2 point perspective I’ve seen. It’s a great refresher for me before I teach it!
Thanks Emily! I’m glad it helped you and I wish you well teaching it… teaching perspective is VERY challenging. I know teachers that skip it altogether because it stresses them out so much!
I think I did somethin wrong because mine looks terrible
Hi John i am trying really hard to draw my kitchen with two point perspective and i just dont get it can you draw a kitchen so i can see what am i doing wrong, thanks
Jose, take a photo of your drawing. Upload it to an image sharing site and post the link here in the comments so we can see what you have so far. If the photo is decent I should be able to help.
this is an amazing tutorial !!!!!!!!
but i still need more help please
i can email you my number and we can chat on whatsapp if thats okay with you mabey even on facebook. i really need help please!
Hi Nawal, I can do a draw-over and help you correct your drawing that way (maybe even make a video). This way it benefits everyone here! Take a good photo of the drawing and post it to an image sharing platform. Then make a comment here with all your questions and a link to the drawing.
Hi, that was simply awesome!! I need/want to know this. Sitting with house drawing in front of me right now, added garage door… 2 questions. Lines on garbage door. Do I go from perspective its close to & move ruler down a little each line keeping 1 end at perspective? Same way for wrap around deck?
Hi Cindy, it’s hard to decipher what you are asking in words but I’ll do my best to answer. By the way, you can always post a link to an image of your drawing for more clarification.
The lines in the garage or wrap-around deck must connect to one of the vanishing points. Don’t just move the ruler down resulting in parallel lines, they have to converge at one of the vanishing points.
Thank you. This was very helpful with color coded lines. It helps bri nging this back to me n this way.
That’s fantastic Gayle!
I’m having trouble adding the vertical lines for the door/windows. How do you calculate how far apart the verticals should be for windows on either side of the door?
One way is to simply do it by eye, just make sure to make the window that’s closest to us bigger. There are some clever ways to calculate the size/space relationships, but to give fair warning they involve drawing a bunch of temporary lines. You’ll have to spend some time practicing and understanding the technique. Have a look at the “grid” example in my one-point perspective tutorial: http://helloartsy.com/one-point-perspective/#perspective-grids You can use that technique to calculate the windows along a single plane.
This tutorial was very awesome
Thank you so much john
I’m glad you found it helpful! Thanks for the compliment:)
Thanks alot…it was simple and brilliant
Easy to follow but drawing is difficult.I do plan on mastering it tho.I learned,as an adult,the grid method.Never taught perspective.
It is difficult. That’s why I suspect most people give up before they gain any serious momentum. Keep at it 🙂
Thanks very much!!
so helpful with my homework!
It is a very good tutorial simple and easy . I am having difficulty placing furniture gageing in the distances and sizes. please help. thanks
definately the best tutorial ive seen//thanks so ,much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This was really easy to follow and see the color coded lines! Thanks so much!
Thank you Cheryl! I’m glad you found it easy to follow along.
Dear Mr.John Morfis, your lessons help me improve a lot. I was so thrilled when I tried the perspective following your tutorial. I added some details in the room drawing as you mentioned in the two point perspective. But I am not quite sure if I made it right. How can I share the picture here if I need help?
Thanks and Regards.
Hi Karthika. You can post your image at any one of those image sharing sites and post a link here. I’ll then do a draw-over if necessary and post back here in the comments.
Thank you Mr.John. Here is the link.
You did a great job. I made a few suggestions here: https://imgur.com/5NrXv4L
Thank you Mr.John. I was tryng the three point perspective. Now I am going to make the changes as you have shown in this. Thanks once again.
Thanks so much for this great tutorial! One thing that I don’t quite get is, if you are drawing from your imagination, how do you decide where the vanishing points go? Is there a rule of any sort?
This is where doing some quick thumbnail sketches with various vanishing points is very helpful. Try out your idea with a few different placements so you can see the differences.
This was really so good!! Thanks a lot for your efforts.
I am facing some difficulties in drawing depth of objects like shelves on wall and also on exterior drawings like landscape or cityscape. Can you please tell me how can I improve them?
Please provide a link to a quality image of your drawing.
Hi John – using this well explained tutorial for photo manipulation & matte painting. Really useful thanks.
I’m going to search now but is there any guides for what you would want to draw/insert on the outside of the bedroom e.g. landscape scenery & what lines they follow?
As long as the objects outside was confined to the perspective grid they would utilize the same 2 vanishing points. If not, they would have their own vanishing points and the drawing would become a multiple-point perspective drawing which is fine.
Very clear and useful, thank you
Thank you Patricia!
For interior with a vertical line (back wall) that ends ABOVE the horizon line, it seems that the floor line on the left is drawn from the Left vanishing point (red) instead of from the right as occurs when the floor line is below the horizon line. It seems this method of drawing from right vanishing point only creates the ceiling in proper perspective. Can you explain please? I am trying to construct “rules” to understand perspective, but the rule of Draw a line from left vanishing point to create floor on right does not work if floor falls below horizon line. I am confused. Thank you!
You wouldn’t end the back wall above the horizon line. That line should continue below and underneath the horizon line. Why? Because the horizon line represents eye-level. Think about this… If you are looking into a room no part of the floor your are standing on can exist above your eye level. If so, you would be underneath the room.
thanks, I have been trying to imagine the impossible! so if I am standing on the first floor looking up at the 2nd level of an interior, in order to get perspective correct for the 2nd level, would the vertical line end at the bottom edge of the paper?
In short, yes. The vertical line still meets the floor which is below your eye level (horizon line). But any view significantly looking up or down is better conveyed using the 3 point perspective method. I have a 3pt lesson here.
Guess I’d better get 2 point straight first! Have avoided perspective for so long because it is so intimidating, but hoping to finally grasp it with these tutorials. Thanks again!
I tried a book case using this method and uploaded to flicker (which I have never used so not sure this will work). Questions: why does the top of the book case look funny? How do I get the shelf surfaces in proper perspective?
Hi max. The top of the bookcase needs to “wrap” around the front corner. Take a look at that red line… it goes through the whole width, but should stop at the front vertical line, then another line needs to be drawn from that corner, down to the vanishing point on the right.
For shelves think of them as the tops and bottoms of boxes. Just solve that problem, isolated as a simple box.
Thanks so much John. I think I got it here, but am always looking for “rules”. you can see I randomly draw R and L vanishing point lines. I am wondering for this shelf exercise, would I have arrived at proper perspective if I only drew VP lines from VP through the front and back shelf vertical lines?
In looking at it again, I think I have the bottom right side of box 1 and possibly the top right side of box 2 wrong, but am not sure why.
Well done. Turning complex things into simple boxes is a great way to figure stuff out. It’s a wee bit hard to tell from the image but if you are off it’s not by much. The top shelf, which is the bottom of your box #1 is above the horizon line and as such we will see the bottom of that shelf. Not by much however because it is fairly close to the horizon line. Things get really compressed when near eye-level. All perspective lines become a horizontal line at eye-level and we see neither the top or bottom of anything.
Thanks so much! I need much more practice before this becomes intuitive—it’s a struggle, but your tutorials really help.
You’re welecome Max. Keep moving forward, it’s a journey worth taking!
This is sort of off-topic but damn Mr.Morfis you consistently reply to comments even two years after creating the tutorial. Why do you still reply to comments?
Thanks for noticing Jeffrey. If somebody takes the time to comment, I try to make the time to respond. I know this approach will not scale to 100s of comments per day but for now I’m able to keep up with it 🙂
It’s so very kind of you to do so and much appreciated!
i don’t know if you will see this comment in 2019 .but thank you so much for this explantion it is perfect but i don’t know how to draw it with the correct sizes that given for the buildings in real life and their true height and distance from each other how to convert these values in the paint ..EX if the 2 buildings beside each other and first is height 3 and other is 5 how to do this
You are thinking in terms of units and that’s a very good start. You can establish the first/closest building say as 10 units tall. Then you connect it’s units back to each vanishing point and that will set up the heights for all things in space. From here you’ll be able to calculate the proper heights of each building. Spacing and width can also be calculated too but the process is very technical. Most artists do it by eye but if you are interested look into “perspective projection drawing”. For a quickie and some shortcut ideas (short of projection techniques) check out my lesson on 1 point perspective. The advanced solutions near the bottom, notably the “mapping” will give you some insight into these matters.
It was a good 1 point perspective lesson!
But where’s the rest of the bed?
This is great but I wanted to draw the bed in another position, would that make it look bad?
Try it out and see for yourself.
How do you do a two point perspective using five letters
With a pencil and a ruler of course.
Helped a lot with my engineering class thank you.
That is good to hear!
Excellent lesson. I ended up on your site via good luck. I have a distorted photograph of the flat where my great-grandmother lived in Boston. I checked on Google and the building is still there–in 2021. I do a lot of Photoshopping and wonder if–using layers–I could establish a vanishing point and tug the corners.
Hi Carolyn, If you are looking to correct the proportion of a building in a photo you can; this kind of thing is done all the time. Photographing buildings almost always creates some angles that are not quite desirable…most notably vertical edges that curve or taper and are not quite vertical. Curves are taken out with lens correction filters. Tapered edges are fixed by tugging corners as you suggest. Set up guides (vertical) and transform the photo by dragging the corners of the photo until the walls of the building are lined up with your guides if that the desired outcome. I haven’t used Photoshop in a while but I remember they had a perspective cloning tool as well…great for fixing things or adding things along the walls of buildings.
Your teaching is really appreciable sir…. You are better in both explaining and executing….. Keep up the good work…
Enjoyed the way you articulate…..Thank you
I love the easy steps, it made this a whole lot easier to understand and to achieve.
Good to know Yamni, thanks for your compliments!
This was very useful thanks
I’m glad, thanks for commenting.
Thanks very much. I am learning on my own using the tutorials here, and I am happy with progress I have made. Very grateful for sharing your knowledge.
Fantastic Sujith, best of luck to you!
Great tutorial! Is there a way to find your vanish points in order to make your 2pt drawing to scale?
Like lets say a grid that would represent squares that can be 1ft x 1ft?
Hi Dan, I’m a bit unclear on precisely what you are asking, but I think it has to do with scaling (perhaps?). Scaling is a matter of fractions. When going from a smaller drawing to a larger drawing your cross multiply the ratio of the original fraction to the desired size of the larger or scaled artwork. You can do this for any vanishing point and object in the illustration too.
I really have to say that your explanation and tutorial are theeeee BOMB!!I am currently in school taking visual arts and design. i have learned more from you in the last hour then i have in the first 4 days of school. So, thank you and i hope you keep doing tutorials.
Thank you for the lessons. At 80, and never taken any art, this is enlightening. Your method has removed the usual intimidation present in most “learn to draw” postings. Keep up your lessons and methods.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR VALUABLE TUTORIALS.
You are quite welcome!
This tutorial helped me a lot, it is written in simple words and is taught Step by Step.