Most artists know a range of drawing tricks, and many will be familiar with the 'railway tracks' method of drawing one-point perspective. But how do you divide the spaces on those tracks? For many, it's simply guesswork, but an artist has demonstrated a super easy way to work it our properly in a video that's gone viral on Twitter and TikTok.
Paul Heaston shares a quick way to work out not only how the spaces in perspective should be divided but also how to add depth. He begins with the standard diagonal line tracks. He shows how to add in the railroad ties without having to guess where they should be, and then he takes it further by adding depth to the sketch (see our pick of the best drawing tutorials for more tips on how to draw).
Can’t talk about this trick enough times. pic.twitter.com/K6pFNZ6G5gMarch 27, 2023
The location of the first railroad ties doesn't matter, but you'll use that to position the others. Draw a vertical line down the middle of the track through the vanishing point, and then draw a diagonal line from one end of the first railway tie through the centre line. The end of this line will mark where the second tie should start.
But what's most surprised the almost 300K people who have viewed the video on Twitter is the method for adding depth. Again, the depth for the first tie doesn't matter, but the point where it crosses the diagonal can be used to ensure the depth of the subsequent ties is in perspective. And the technique will work for windows, columns, streets and – as Heaston shows in the last few seconds of the video – also fences.
"I thought I knew this trick until you got to the depth part," one person commented. "I knew about the first part but the depth trick just blew my mind," someone else tweeted. For more help with drawing, see our top tips for improving your sketching skills.