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Perspective Drawing in 7th/8th grade


Date: Sun Sep 08 2002 - 15:44:03 PDT

While a thorough understanding of the rules and underlying concepts of the
synthetic system of Renaissance perspective introduced by Fillipo
Brunelleschi is valuable if one wishes to gain an indepth understanding of
the way in which perspectival images make meaning, it is hardly necessary if
drawing from observation is the goal. In fact, I have consistently found the
technical aspects of perspective to be counter productive to that end if
introduced too early. I have been teaching observational drawing to college
students (mostly non-art majors) for twenty five years and have had
considerable success in my efforts because I don't introduce the system of
perspective until after I introduce the more intuitive elements of
observational drawing: intuitive gesture, analytical gesture (the perceptual
grid), intuitive perspective (clock angles), proportion, cross-contour,
foreshortened circles (ellipses), irregular form, and chiaroscuro. By
absorbing and combining the above elements the vast majority of students are
capable of rendering just about everything they observe or can conceive of
and they derive great satisfaction from the process. Once they have developed
moderate rendering skills they are much better positioned to appreciate the
synthetic conceptual subtleties that are enfolded into the system passed on
to us by Piero, Alberti, and Leonardo.

Although I am a college instructor I am confident this approach is applicable
to younger students.

You can find specific information relating to my approach on the following

There are images and a thorough description of my approach at:

You can view multiple page spreads from my recently published introductory
perceptual drawing text at:

Brian Curtis,
Associate Professor
Head of Drawing
University of Miami
Coral Gables, FL