I've been reading a lot of books on landscape graphics and have noticed a lot of information on the use of perspective charts. What is your opinion on using these?

I also am having a difficult finding these charts anywhere except on a few sites and they seem overpriced. Where or what brand do you like?


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I have used perspective charts a lot more lately. The ones I got were from Arch in San Francisco for $50. There were 8 of them. Mike Lynn sells a good one for $64. It is a tighter version which is good for interiors as well as landscapes, but restricted view angles. I found that once I had some instruction in constructing my own perspectives (Mike Lynn workshop in my case) UCB ext. perspective class for friends of mine, the charts became super handy. After awhile people say that you don't need them as much; you just "see" the perspectives.
I'd highly suggest learning to draw perspective proprtionally. I've never used a perspective chart, but if I did I'd probably keep it in the drawer with the prismacolor markers and 1st edition Entourage book, lol, just kidding.. Start with a person for scale, eyeline and use that information to construct the rest. It takes practice, but once you understand it, it makes life easier and affords you the ability to draw on the spot, in front of clients and the like.

Mike Lin preaches to his students to 'be loose' yet it seems a lot of the work produced at his workshops look just the opposite; rigid. In my opinion, a perspective drawing or any concept level illustration should at the very least be a tool to stimulate excitement in an idea or project. In my opinion an illustration or concept sketch should also be emotive, somewhat spontaneous, yes...loose.

I think some of the tools available to aid in drawing, included cad can detract from the drawing quality and effectiveness.

i hope this doesnt come off the wrong way, I just saw an opportunity to open up somem more discussion on this topic. I hope my comments were constructive. If you would like some more information or examples on wwho I would consider good perspectivists or the proportional method I can throw some links and info out later.

I hope this makes some sense

I agree with you 100%!!! There is nothing better than being free of the perspective charts and sketching up something right in front of a client....

Thanks for your comment!
Thanks for the offer Nick, more info on the proportional method would be great. I have used charts before, but am looking some quicker methods so I can draw better on the spot. Although if your going to send me to Richard, he's not offering workshops right now.
Admittedly, I studied the Drawing and Designing with Confidence book cover to cover before I went back to school. It's not that I think the method is flawed at all, but that I feel like I tend to see a 'Mike Lin style' all over the place which the trees are drawn as the same symbol, leaf-by-leaf, and the compositions look labored and stilted...sometimes.

The other thing that I think influences my opinion, and may misdirect some of my statements about the Lin philosophy is the markers. CSU really discouraged using markers even though I entered the program with a set of nearly 200 and still used them all the way through today. I don't know why they discouraged markers so much.

So, what I was trying to say is that I think some people miss the 'be loose' part, though maybe Brian's right that charts and tracing are good starting points..maybe I should try it myself.
I apologize for taking so long to reply. Thanks to everybody for their opinion. It's good to see both sides of the discussion though. It sounds like they may be good for some people but others may not find them helpful. I agree with you about the advantages of being able to sketch a perspective in from of a potential client and not having to use a chart. I also think the chart could be a time saver in certain situations though. More than likely, I will order a set just to see if I like them or not. I will be sure to let anybody know my results after using them.

Nick, please feel free to send me any info or links your willing to offer. I always like to keep my options open.
Hi Jared...

I used the 2 point perspective charts from Mike Lin for years til I found Richard Scotts (www.graphicsteacher.com) freehand perspective sketching class and took it.....There is nothing better for learning to draw perspective sketches at any size and even freehand with no drafting tools....only your hands and pens....ITS AWESOME....BEST MONEY EVER SPENT! Take his class.....you won't regret it.....

Hope this helps....My only regret is that I didn't know about his class til 2 years ago....had I had it in college I would have been so much better off and so much further ahead than I am now....
Thanks Brandon, I really appreciate that. I was actually planning on taking his perspective class this upcoming year but I just read on his website that he won't be offering any classes in 2010. Hopefully he'll offer something in 2011 though because I'm sure it will help a lot.
I've used the Lawson Perspective Charts in the past as a "quick and dirty" method to set up my perspectives with a proportionally accurate wireframe. Now I tend to gravitate towards setting them up using Sketchup, I can do simple mock ups relatively quickly and have the ability to rotate it and pick out one or more interesting views to focus on and go from there.
another great tool is to block out the image in Sketchup adjust the camera angles and view and then print it out, lay a sheet of tracing paper over it and draw the scene, much of this has been adopted by Leggit in his "tradigital" drawign techniques which are fast and effective... not a perspective chart but highly effective... just another angle.
the best education i EVER got on this subject was from a class i took from Richard Scott's class...

see www.graphicsteacher.com ....he teaches you how to draw scaled perspectives at any size, viewing angle, etc at will...NO USE OF CHARTS....it was AWESOME!!!

I abandoned my Mike Lin Charts soon after this class cause of the freedom this new knowledge gave me...

Check it out!


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