Vanishing Points

The distance of the vanishing points with respect to the object plays an important role in its representation. The closer vanishing points are to the subject, the more distorted it will appear. Consequently, sometimes we need to define the vanishing point(s) off the page. A vanishing line angled at 45 degrees or more is recommended to avoid distortion. In some cases it is necessary to draw vanishing points off the page in order to avoid distortion. 

Ways to drawing vanishing points off the page:

1. Attach additional sheets of paper to edges of drawing space to assist you in sketching the required vanishing lines at the required distance. These additional sheets will be removed once the sketch is completed.

2. Use a ruler and division
This technique is particularly useful when you would like to draw features within a 3 dimensional object and require additional perspective lines that would normally be derived from vanishing points outside the parameters of the page. All this method requires is basic division of the lengths of relevant sides of the subject and a ruler to connect the dots. For example, if you are drawing a house and need to draw windows and other details that require vanishing points at an angle that renders them off the regular page, simply divide the applicable sides of the house by the same number of equal parts and connect matching numbers (i.e. heights on the walls) with a ruler.

3. Use string
This technique is especially practical if using an easel because the easel holds your paper upright, allowing for the necessary attachment of strings to surrounding surfaces. Requires two strings. The first string acts as a horizon and is attached to nearby objects such as a nail or beam. The second string is clipped onto the horizon (a certain distance away from the easel/drawing space and projected across the drawing surface at the necessary angle and finally held in place with a clip attached to the easel at the other end.

Other pages of interest

Landscape drawing
Vanishing points
Atmospheric perspective
Step by step guide to sketching
Sketching natural landscapes