Drawn to the Extraordinary

Painters and draftsmen alike puzzle through perspective drawing issues. They almost have to if they want to establish any kind of sense of space in their work. Without linear perspective, all that remains is the flatness of the surface-and no artists with representation or realism on their minds are ever going to stop at that.

Mansard Roof by Edward Hopper, 1923, watercolor painting.
Mansard Roof by Edward Hopper, 1923, watercolor painting.

There are artists that take drawing perspective into fairly well-charted territory, using one-point perspective to give a simple sense of distance like Leonardo did in The Last Supper or Raphael showed in the School of Athens. Two-point perspective is used to turn a corner, visually speaking, or give a sense of looking into a space or having a corner come poking out at you. I love Edward Hopper's The Mansard Roof as an example of this. You see the architecture of the mansion from the front and side, giving you a sense of how vast the lovely mansion, surrounded by lush greenery and summer shade, really is. 

Recorded Diffusion by Alexandra Pacula, oil painting, 2012, 40 x 40.
Recorded Diffusion by Alexandra Pacula, oil painting, 2012, 40 x 40.

But then there are artists that take their perspective drawing lessons into hyper-drive, creating works that put viewers with a bird's eye view of a city flashing by like Alexandra Pacula. Or just the opposite, as in Georgia O'Keefe's City Night, where three-point perspective allows the skyscrapers loom as dark, streamlined monoliths above us and the moon is a mere pinprick of light.

What I've come to realize, however, is that it isn't perspective alone that will make a work of art unusual or jump off the flat surface. It is perspective combined with a compelling subject and a strong composition. In Drawing: The Complete Course, you'll find the techniques and methods that can help accelerate your drawing practice into something extraordinary. Not with a magic wand, but with skill and forethought–and instruction from artists who are striving for that same sense of the extraordinary in their own work. Enjoy!


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Courtney Jordan

About Courtney Jordan

  Courtney is the editor of Artist Daily. For her, art is one of life’s essentials and a career mainstay. She’s pursued academic studies of the Old Masters of Spain and Italy as well as museum curatorial experience, writing and reporting on arts and culture as a magazine staffer, and acquiring and editing architecture and cultural history books. She hopes to recommit herself to more studio time, too, working in mixed media.