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Constructive Drawing Fundamentals

Drawing from the imagination can be aided by trying to master the following three steps:

Step 1

2-D Shapes → 3-D Forms

• Squares + Rhombi = Cubes
• Circles + Ellipses = Spheres
• Rectangles + Ellipses = Cylinders
• Triangles + Ellipses = Cones

Set a Horizon Line to determine your Eye Level. Learn to draw all of the above Primitive Forms from above, below, to the left, and to the right, at any distance from that Horizon.

Notice how the Shapes which make up the Forms change as their location relative to the Horizon changes.

Step 2

Use 2-point Perspective to rotate the Forms. Learn to draw all of the Primitive Forms from any angle.

Notice how 1-point becomes 2-point Perspective when a Form is rotated far enough. Pay especially close attention to Foreshortening.

Step 3

Set a Light Source and use various kinds of Shading to accurately depict Light and Shadow on the surface of each Form. Learn to render Light and Shadow on each Form no matter where you put the Light Source.

*ArtWod's "6-ation" Principles takes this sort of process very far. Once mastered, we can use this method to do things like create complex human figures in dynamic poses with proper lighting, all from imagination. Glenn Vilppu's approach is a great example of how to put these steps together. It also demonstrates how one eventually starts to "feel the form" as they draw or paint.