It’s hard to create a strong image that lacks any sense of depth or distance. Depth can be created in various ways, such as light and shadow, focus, overlapping elements, etc.
In this article, I will show how we can combine techniques to give an illusion of depth on a flat, 2D, 3D surface. If you want to create a sense of realism in your artwork, it’s important to work on your depth in drawings.
What is Depth in Art?
Depth is the distance from an object to a viewer or focal point. It can be expressed in terms of spatial relationships between objects, atmospheric perspective, and fading into the distance.
It is important to consider what depth is like in artwork because it provides a sense of realism and order. It creates a visual journey from foreground to background, behind or in front of the subjects, near or far away. Depth helps to push our two-dimensional surface into a three-dimensional space. Ddepth also cues us where to look first, next, and last within an artwork.
How do artists create depth on a flat surface?
Artists create a sense of depth and the illusion of space using various methods developed by artists and scientists hundreds of years ago. Leonardo Da Vinci was one of the founding fathers of using a one-point perspective and looking at the proportions of the human figure. One-point perspective also involves using one vanishing point on the horizon line.
Another fundamental way an artist can create the illusion of depth in art is through Aerial Perspective (or Atmospheric Perspective). Aerial perspective includes a range of characteristics that give the illusion of depth. These include:
- Diminished clarity and increased haziness of distant objects caused by thicker layers of atmosphere between an object and a viewer/camera lens.
- Decreased sharpness or detail of objects at a distance because of atmospheric haze or dimming light (i.e., earth’s natural atmosphere)
- Fainter color hues in the distance because of atmospheric scattering of light (blue sky, particles in air).
How To Draw A 3D Hole Optical Illusion
Step 1 – Drawing the Ellipses
The first step is to draw a big ellipse. The rest of the drawing will be in ink, but I will draw this first ellipse in pencil because we will erase it later. Next, draw a smaller ellipse inside the first one using ink. You’ll want to make this one slightly shorter and more rounded. And instead of placing it right in the center, move it down slightly.
By the way, I made a light pencil sketch of the entire drawing beforehand and am now simply going over it with ink. That way, the drawing process will be much smoother, and you won’t have to see me erasing and re-drawing many times. But when drawing this yourself, be bold and change things often to get the curves right. Then draw another smaller ellipse inside this one. Again, you’ll want to make it more rounded and place it closer to the bottom.
Repeat this process three more times. You can see the pattern very clearly here. Each ellipse is more like a circle, grouped at a single point.
Step 2 – Drawing the Tiles
Next, we will draw some straight lines from the center outward. The gaps between these lines will be widest at the bottom and gradually narrow as they move upwards. I like to start simultaneously at both ends to help plan the spacing and make them more consistent. That way, I’ll have a good idea of how wide the stripes at the top will be and plan accordingly.
One important detail is to make sure you end up with an even number of stripes. You’ll see why this is important in a minute. Let’s erase the outermost circle once all the stripes are drawn in.
Step 3 – Inking and Shading
Now, we’ll use a Sharpie marker to fill the outer circle using an alternating pattern. So it’s important to have an even number of stripes. If the stripes were odd, it would throw the pattern out of sync.
The large Sharpie marker won’t be able to color the squares to the edge, so we’ll go as close to the edge as possible. Continue doing this for all the circles. Now, let’s take a smaller pen and fill in the small gaps we couldn’t get with the larger marker.
The last step is to create a dark gradation at the center hole. I’ll use a 9xxb graphite pencil to put in a base tone. You also can use a 4B or 6B pencil for this.
Creating The Illusion Of Form
The illusion of a cube is created by a controlled splatter technique using a toothbrush. First, draw the cube lightly using a pencil, remembering to put the back line in to create a sense of space. Then mask out the areas surrounding the darkest side of the cube, leaving that area the only area open to the splattering. Take the toothbrush and dip it into the ink. First, Make a test example to ensure a smooth and consistent area of ink is applied, and when you are happy with the result, turn the process to the exposed area on your drawing. When this has dried, do the same with the mid-tone area by masking around that and then applying a mid-tone. Please wait for it to dry, and then using the same procedure, do the same for the last and lightest tone.
Create the illusion of a cone using front light shading with a fine felt-tipped pen and correction fluid. As with the other two solids, outline with a pencil first very lightly and place the back line. The nearest point of the cone will be the lightest area, and as the surface of the cone gradually goes back, the tone will become darker. In this drawing, I used correction fluid to make the lighter area appear even lighter. The dark areas have been created by using a series of lines that follow the curve of the form. These lines become denser and darker as they begin to reach the outside edge of the form.