Chapter 6
Elliptical Perspective and
Cylindrical Objects
Objectives
• Understand elliptical perspective and
describe its use in drawing.
• Draw an accurate ellipse freehand.
• See the underlying cylindrical form of
objects in order to simplify their shape.
• Draw cylindrical objects, whether they
are standing up or lying down,
accurately and with a sense of the
object’s volume.
Elliptical Perspective
• Seen from
directly above or
below, a circle is
round.
• As the edge of
the circle comes
closer to your eye
level, the ellipse
narrows.
Upright Cylinders (1 of 2)
• The two ellipses
(circles) on the ends
of a cylinder are the
same size.
• Their apparent
shape changes
because you don’t
see both ellipses
from the same eye
level.
Upright Cylinders (2 of 2)
• The ellipse you can see (top or bottom)
is narrowest where it meets the sides,
widest in the middle
• Draw perpendicular guide lines to keep
the ellipse from being lopsided.
Cylinders on Their Sides (1 of 2)
• Drawing a cylinder that’s lying on its
side requires using both elliptical and
linear perspective.
Cylinders on Their Sides (2 of 2)
• First, draw a guide line down the center of the
cylinder, parallel to the sides and running through
the centers of the ellipses.
• Then, draw perpendicular guide lines for the
ellipses.
Volume in Cylinders (1 of 2)
• Establishing volume in
cylinders combines
the techniques of the
sphere and the cube.
• The greatest contrast
on the sides comes in
the middle—the area
closest to the viewer—
as in a sphere.
Volume in Cylinders (2 of 2)
• The greatest contrast
on the edges comes
at the point closest to
the viewer, as on a
cube.
• The cylinder, like the
cube, has a second
cast shadow, a thin
dark line.
Summary (1 of 2)
• Elliptical perspective
– An ellipse appears to narrow as it comes
closer to your eye level, to widen as it gets
farther away.
• The cylinder is one of the four basic shapes.
– It combines the attributes of the sphere and
the cube.
• The two ellipses of a cylinder do not appear
identical because they are at different
distances from your eye level.
Summary (2 of 2)
• When a cylinder is lying on its side, linear
perspective makes the sides appear to
converge.
• Draw a central guide line and a perpendicular
guide line to render the ellipses of a cylinder
lying on its side.
• Illusion of volume in a cylinder comes from
contrast in value between ellipses and sides
and between light and shadow areas of the
sides.
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Elliptical Perspective & Cylindrical Objects