Perspective Episode IV: A New Hope?

On my frustration with the perspective material I’ve been going through: A common annoyance amongst most of them is the author glossing over theory that is presented as insignificant. For example, some books will mention the cone of vision on one page, usually the glossary and that’s it. It further instruction they’ll tell you that this diagram was constructed within a particular COV but never tell you how to set it up, and assume or just skip past tons of information regarding it. This happens with a lot of the theory. In the end, my experience with this books is : parallel lines meet at a certain point in perspective, duplicating via diagonals, how to draw ellipses and cones. Now you can draw anything! right.

At this point, I’ve pretty much given up on books for thorough instruction and understanding and the video courses I’ve tried(CGMA, Vandruff lectures) weren’t much better, I’ve got tons of PDFs that teach a bunch of theory but I end up not getting a lot out of them.

I’ve been lurking different art boards and communities and whenever there’s a perspective topic, Erik Olson’s Perspective Course on New Master’s Academy usually gets brought up. I didn’t know much about it but from the impressions I read(that solely talked about the intimidating amount of content) I chalked it up to being the same kind of stuff Scott Robertson’s book(I’m not a fan), so I paid it no mind. I had actually used a free trial on New Master’s Academy last year just to look through their figure drawing stuff.

I could at least check out this Erik Olson guy since I was at my wit’s end, I’ve got a job and $49 for a month’s access to 100+ hours of content can’t hurt, right?

So after work on Thursday I took the plunge, bought the NMA membership and dove in. The course introduction alone was more palatable than any of the books I read. Olson talks about learning all this theory in order to subordinate it. The goal is to support whatever idea/comp you have with the knowledge of perspective. For it to be intuitive.

I’m only about 10 hours into it but I could gush all day about it, all my issues with books glossing over theory, Olson explains, then explains, then explains again. He’s not a robot either so following along isn’t a miserable experience. I’d follow along, pause, replay, pause then replay again to make sure I got it. He explains the same theory multiple different ways, it’s great. I thought having to learn about the horizon line and starting off in basic one point perspective would be excruciating(with different books, it always is) but all the stuff that was glossed over before, that Olson explains in detail makes me feel like I didn’t learn anything at all before!

I think the moment that I realized that this perspective course was already far more fruitful than anything I’d done before was this morning. Last night I had gone through a lesson explaining the 45 degree measuring point, found from the station point and how you could use the knowledge of this(and the eye line, COV, vanishing point) to reverse engineer your perspective. Meaning you don’t have to start all your drawings with a detailed perspective map-out. You can do it with the idea first, then manipulate he perspective to match what YOU want.

When doing the lesson last night, the perspective stuff was already mapped out while he was explaining the reverse engineering part so while I understood what he was saying, it didn’t quite click. So before going on to the next lesson today, I tried to just that and it fucking clicked:

Like the blurb in the blurry image(excuse the awful typos)says, I did it, realized that with the 45MP I chose, the COV was too small for what I wanted, changed the 45MP and manipulated the perspective to fit my comp. Being able to have the amount of “control” over knowledge I couldn’t wrestle with before was big for me. It’s been a while since I’ve had a ‘win’ with my studies so this was nice.

So yeah, I think I’ll be sticking with Olson for a while, hopefully I can get through at least 70% of his course before the subscriptions up.

Studies for the week, Olson stuff starts on 07/16/2020: