I can’t help myself! I keep thinking about that Palladian dome mistake (see here and here) and so re-visited it again this morning during my cafe visit to work out how I could draw it more accurately using perspective.
These are my rough (pencil) sketches trying to work it out. Basically I was looking for anchor points within a rectangular grid – the square where the dome meets the roof faces and the top of the dome in relation to a point above each facade. It’s all a bit complicated – isn’t it? It’s more a case of perspective setup than sketching.
Big takeaway: There are parts of a building which are MUCH easier to draw as shapes.
This led me to think about how much I rely on basic observational skills vs perspective and came up with a ratio of 80:20. I do use perspective but it represents only 20% (as a maximum) of the sketching process.
Some might interpret my approach of Pointless Perspective as being anti-perspective. But that is not the case. Being able to use perspective when sketching is super helpful and I would urge everyone to put in ‘the hard yards’ so that they can use it when they sketch. However I believe it is not the most important thing when sketching architecture! Basically this is because without good observational skills your building sketches will still look wrong – wacko proportions and crazy steep angles. The two work together.
So just to clarify, my upcoming SketchingNow Buildings course is all about that important 80% and you know what, if you really focus on that 80% portion of your sketch, it will look believable and alive! You might not need that 20% overlay of perspective at all. That extra 20% is all about enabling you to work faster and improving the accuracy of your angles.
I don’t go as far as Paul Laseau who says: While perspective is a handy device to construct imagined spaces, it is not useful, and possibly detrimental, to sketching existing environments. But I do believe that it is not essential and that the thought “I can’t draw perspective” can prevent people from just taking more time to develop their observational skills
Ok, have I said enough radical stuff for the day? What do you think about my 80:20 rule? Is it crazy?