The essential guide to foreshortening in art

Foreshortening in art: drawing of woman reclining
(Image credit: Rob Lunn)

If you're wondering what foreshortening in art is, we're sure you're not alone. Hopefully, by the end of this post, you'll know exactly what it is and how to create believably foreshortened images. It's a technique that is extremely difficult to master. In fact, artists have struggled with foreshortening since its first reported use by Florentine artist Fillipo Brunelleshi back in 1415, so if you're having trouble getting to grips with it, you're in good company.

Thankfully, there are a few easy steps to follow that will help you get to grips with the basic principals of foreshortening. We'll share those with you, plus we'll show you a few drawing techniques that will help you 'sculpt' your subject's dimensions using pencil or brush. Underpinning foreshortening is perspective – you can take a look at our article on one-point perspective for more information on that.

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Rob Lunn is a self-taught painter, and loves to paint in oils. His influences are Vincent van Gogh, Caravaggio and Ilya Repin. He has taught art workshops since 2012 and gets a real buzz from teaching people to draw and paint. He has contributed to Paint & Draw magazine and bookazines, and has also provided traditional art tutorials for Creative Bloq.