Since the new year started, I’ve been setting aside an hour each day to focus on improving one skill each month. This month it’s perspective. I’ve been using a book that Jesse Hamm recommended called Vanishing Point, and like Jesse I think it’s probably the best book written on perspective that I’ve come across. It’s very simple and direct in it’s instructions and while I was already familiar with a lot of the basics, I’ve made myself start from the beginning and do the exercises in order.
I think the biggest thing I’ve learned so far has to do with my own working methods. I am extremely impatient when I work and I tend to want to cut corners drawing. Which is fine if you’re a seasoned professional with years of drawing and understanding under your belt but for me it just ends up tripping me up. Basically, you can’t take shortcuts until you actually know where you’re going.
Think about it, if you were in a unfamiliar city and following directions to someone’s house, would you take what you suspected to be a shortcut? Probably not. If you did you might get there ok, but you’d likely get lost and the trip that was only suppsed to take ten minutes could take a lot longer. Once you know the city you’re navigating you’ll probably figure out quicker routes than your directions.
There’s actually a number of shortcuts you can take when drawing in perspective like this method for finding vanishing points way off the page, or even using a program like Google sketchup to build your backgrounds or grids. However if you don’t actually have a firm grasp on perspective I contend that it will actually take you longer using these shortcuts then if you just sat down and made yourself learn how to get there the long way first. I’m coming to believe that mastering something is just a matter of having the patience to sticking to doing it the hard way. THEN it gets easy.
Every time I’m having problems drawing something I write in the corner of my drawing “BE PATIENT” to remind me to take my time and figure it out. It saves me time in the long run. It seems self-evident but I’m a hard headed guy:)