Get It In Perspective

Get It In Perspective

Linear & Aerial Perspective & Tone


Just as the magician uses “tricks” to deceive us, the artist too has certain techniques which can create the illusion of 3 dimensions.  These tricks fall into these two categories.




Linear perspective refers to the phenomena by which objects appear to decrease in size as they move away from the viewer.


The laws of perspective depend intrinsically on the idea of the horizon or eye level being constant within a recorded image, as it is on this horizon line that the “vanishing point” is situated.


Where eye level varies within a drawing there is a disconcerting “warping” of space.  It is this warping of space that De Chirico uses in his surrealist paintings that contributes to the dreamlike effect his works inspire.




As important in maintaining the unity of the picture plane when rendering the illusion of “reality” is the use of aerial perspective.  This refers to the manipulation of tones to reinforce the illusion of naturalistic space.


It is based on the fact that objects appear to come forward in space if the tonal contrast in the modeling of a form is maximized.  As the contrast of light/dark decreases there is an apparent movement away in a spatial sense.




Tone refers to the relative greyness of a form.  At one extreme of the tonal scale is white and tones at this end of the scale are referred to as “high key”


At the other end is black, and the greys close to this end of the scale are known as “low key”


It is important to recognize the various tonal values and learn to appreciate the relative nature of tones.


Once and understanding of tone is achieved it is then possible to compose drawings in different keys thus creating various manipulation of mood/emotion etc.

About the Author:

Rhonda Armistead is a contemporary Artist from Lismore in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, Australia. Mediums include, Oils and Acrylics on Canvas, Reduction Plate Lino Prints, Etchings on Acrylic Plates, Drawings, Sketches in Pencil and Charcoal and Fine Line Pen. Her paintings include Portraits, Landscapes and Contemporary Abstract pieces. Commonly, she explores the intrinsic biodiversity and nature studies of the Region along with expressive portraiture and dramatic combinations of both, usually with an underlying message encapsulated within the symbolism and aesthetic of the work. Rhonda also produces a range of hand crafted jewelry under the name of "Web of Life Designs" All her works are an intimate conversation between head, heart and hand.

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