3 point perspective drawing made simple

In this article we will discuss 3 point perspective drawing and its uses in creating scenes and environments


  • What is 3 point perspective drawing?
  • Why do people draw with it?
  • Finally, how does it work?

As the name implies 3 pt perspective drawing uses three vanishing points. Two going across the horizon line (HL) and the third going either below or above the horizon line. It is commonly used when drawing buildings from below or above the horizon.



Imagine flying over a city and looking down at all the buildings. Or you’re looking up at a building from the ground. This is visualizing a scene in 3 point perspective. It’s used a lot in movies for establishing shots of cities, forests and other scenes.


Buildings 3 point perspective looking down


3 point perspective
Worm’s eye view

Cartoonists and animators use it to demonstrate extreme angles or to create drama between opposing characters especially if one is taller than the other.

Video game designers will build 3 point perspective environments which puts the viewer at the base of a tall building or above it. The video game players can pan up and down in the specific scene.

For a lot of beginners, 3 point perspective can be difficult to draw. I will try to break down the process so that you’ll see how to create a simple cuboid in 3 point perspective.

The beginner doesn’t have to know 3 point perspective in great detail but if you are looking for a challenge it certainly will help with your drawings. I will draw a city scape in 3pt perspective as a demo.

Look at the image below.

Mark Kistler’s book “Learn to Draw in 30 Days has a pretty good lesson on 3 point perspective drawing using stacking towers.

Three point perspective drawing can be hard to draw at first but with practice a beginner should be able to draw most shapes in 3 point perspective.

So are ready to knock this lesson out of the park?

Draw a horizon line about the middle of the page

Draw a square shape using the VP’s on the HL.

Next, draw two vanishing points near the edge

Draw another vanishing point below the horizon line. We could draw the third point above the HL but for this lesson we will keep it below.

Line up with both vanishing points on the horizon line and draw out a square



You should have a shape resembling the drawing above.

Next, take each corner of the square and line it up with the third VP below the HL.

You could make the line longer if you like.



Try drawing the cuboids above, below and at the HL like I did in the above drawing

Remember to line up the corners of the square to each VP to keep the shape in proper perspective.



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