Understanding the Ellipse Shape
An ellipse, also known as an oval, is a geometric shape that appears when a circular object is viewed from a different perspective. As artists, we don’t need to delve into the mathematical intricacies of an ellipse. Our focus is on accurately drawing one for our creative endeavors.
To begin, let’s explore how ellipses work. Whenever we view a circular object from any angle other than head-on, the resultant shape is an ellipse. Since circular objects are abundant in our surroundings, mastering the skill of drawing ellipses is essential for our drawings and paintings.
However, creating smooth and evenly balanced curves can be challenging when dealing with circular shapes. To overcome this, we can employ various techniques to draw ellipses with higher precision.
Three Approaches to Drawing an Ellipse
Let’s explore three different methods for drawing ellipses: freehand, one-point perspective, and two-point perspective. Each technique is explained in detail below, and practice references are provided.
Drawing an Ellipse Freehand
The easiest and quickest approach to drawing an ellipse is to sketch it freehand. Although this method may not yield perfect accuracy, it works well for most applications. Only in technical layouts or for exacting artists, using perspective becomes necessary.
For each method, we’ll first establish a structure to guide our ellipse drawing. When drawing freehand, start by sketching two intersecting lines that meet at the midpoint of the desired shape.
Next, mark the height and width of the ellipse with small dots.
To draw the ellipse, refer to these dots as you develop a smooth curve. Use loose lines and draw from the shoulder, allowing yourself the freedom to find the right mark.
Given that an ellipse is often a result of viewing a circle in perspective, it makes sense to leverage linear perspective when drawing one.
First, determine the location of the vanishing point on the horizon line. Then, draw two perspective lines receding towards the vanishing point. The distance between these lines determines the width of the ellipse.
Establish the height of the ellipse by drawing two horizontal lines that intersect the perspective lines. This creates a “square” in perspective that functions as a guide for drawing the ellipse.
Next, find the midpoints of the “square”. Draw a vertical line from the center of the bottom line, receding towards the vanishing point. Then, draw a horizontal line across the middle of the “square”. These two lines intersect at the midpoint of the future ellipse.
Mark the locations where these lines intersect the edges of the “square” as reference points for drawing the ellipse accurately.
Using these points as a guide, draw the ellipse with precision.