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The 3 Types Of Pictorial View In Drawing Explained

Updated: Jul 16, 2022

Pictorial view is another term that has been used many times from artistic friends of mine throughout drawing discussions. Before I started to draw I had no idea what they were talking about but since I became a huge fan of perspective drawing I know the answer now.

What is pictorial view?

Pictorial view describes the angle in which a three-dimensional object is depicted on a drawing surface. Pictorial drawing can be divided into three main subcategories that all describe different views on a subject.

Now, what exactly are the three main categories and are there more? Where are these drawing techniques used most often? Let's talk about all this in today's article.

I. The 3 Main Types Of Pictorial Drawing

As I already said in the beginning, we can divide pictorial drawing into three different main categories. One of them I'm pretty sure you've at least already heard of and I've also talked about it already here on Mac H. - Creative.

Perspective drawing as the third subcategory of pictorial drawing is very popular around all kinds of artists including me. Of course, it is even important in some professions as well but let's answer the most interesting question at first.

What are the three types of pictorial drawing?

1. Isometric

2. Oblique

3. Perspective

These three terms will appear a lot of times throughout this article so get used to reading them. Following we will go into every one of the subcategories in detail. I will give you quick definitions of them, explain it more detailed after that and also provide examples for you.

1. Isometric

What is isometric drawing?

Isometric drawing is the first subcategory of pictorial drawing. Isometric drawings project all sides of a three-dimensional object in a non-foreshortened way. It is based on 30° angles and the same scale is used for all axes.

Isometric drawing might sound a little confusing right now after this wannabe encyclopedia definition. It actually isn't that complicated and you have seen it a hundred times already if you have opened the maths book at least once in the geometry section.

All of these basic geometrical entities such as the cylinder, a simple cube, a cuboid, and so on are all depicted isometrically. Before you get too confused and you can still follow let us take a look at an example.

If you click on the image you get to "creativebloq", the site on which I've found this example image.

This picture already shows in an easy way what I meant by saying that isometric drawing was based on 30° angles. You start off with a vertical edge just as you do in two point perspective drawings.

When we're talking about cuboid forms isometric drawing looks very similar to the two point perspective drawing method at a first glance. Don't let this confuse you because in isometric drawing we don't have any vanishing point.

Vanishing points are the reason for the foreshortening effect in perspective drawings. As we have already learned a few paragraphs before today, there cannot be foreshortening in isometric drawing.

In two point perspective drawings all non-vertical lines converge into one of two vanishing points which makes the objects get smaller the closer they are to a vanishing point. In isometric drawings these lines a parallel to uphold the logical structure of the object that is depicted.

Just because we look at an object's edge doesn't mean it's a two point perspective drawing. If there are no vanishing points, it's not a perspective drawing.

All other geometrical forms can easily be depicted without the foreshortening effect if you use the isometric drawing method. This means that you can also draw very complex mechanical structures isometrically as engineers do, for example. Look at this example.

Clicking on that image will lead you to the "vbengg" website where I got this isometric drawing image from.

So, isometric drawing can be explained by stating that it serves the intention of depicting an object logically in a mathematical sense. In contrast to perspective drawing, it doesn't have the effect of foreshortening.

2. Oblique

What is oblique drawing?

Oblique drawing depicts the front view of a 3D object with the sidelines emerging at a 45° angle from the front side to the back. Opposing isometric drawing, oblique drawing doesn't depict an object with an edge in the foreground.

This method also sounds way more complicated than it actually is. In fact, I find it to be way easier to understand than the first one in general. We don't have an edge in the foreground anymore from which the sidelines emerge at a 30° angle.

Now, we focus on one side which is being referred to as the frontside mostly and from there as I already said the lines forming the shapes on the side are at a 45° angle to the horizontal. Again, let's take a look at a basic example before I blow your head off with those dull encyclopedia explanations.

This image is linked to the "technologystudent" website. I found the image there. They explain the differences within the oblique projection method there.

The picture pretty much speaks for itself, doesn't it? It simply shows what's different to isometric drawings. The front is projected completely without being scaled in any way.

The right side of the cube emerges to the back at a 45° angle as we've discussed already and the upper side as well. The emerging lines are all parallel with each other and don't converge into one vanishing point.

Normally these lines that go to the back are shortened by 50% to make the object look realistic. This method is called cabinet and is one of the two oblique drawing ways that are possible. The other technique is called cavalier.

Cavalier drawings within the oblique drawing method are depicting these sidelines at their full length. You can see the exact difference in the following example image.

Of course, oblique drawing can also be used to create very difficult drawings of highly complex technological or mechanical objects. Many different geometrical objects can come together for these more complex oblique drawing.

One example would be this drawing of a camera. It shows us the front side of an object which is the first oblique drawing box we can check. There are no vanishing points and the sidelines are not converging but are parallel with each other. Check.

Furthermore, if you have been paying attention so far, you can see if its a cabinet or a cavalier drawing. Can you tell which one it is?

It is a cabinet drawing because it shows the camera as if we were looking at it. It would be a cavalier drawing if the right side of the camera and the top area would have their real dimensions. Here they are scaled down to look realistic.

That is basically all you need to know about oblique drawing. If you didn't really get it, I recommend watching this short video on the topic of oblique drawing. The instructor really summarizes it in an easy-to-follow way.

Remember that oblique projections are not how we actually see things. This is also mentioned in the video above. We see things either as a shape or if we see multiple sides of it, we see it in some kind of perspective which leads us to the third and last type of pictorial drawing.

3. Perspective

I've already mentioned perspective drawing multiple times on the Mac H. - Creative website and I'm going to upload an entire Blog post only dedicated to this topic in general. But let's answer the main question first in the most informative way possible.

What is perspective drawing?

Perspective drawing is a drawing technique that allows the artist to project three-dimensional objects as a human would actually see them. This method always includes lines converging into one or up to six so-called vanishing points.

This is a very short and informative answer, yes, but it definitely isn't enough to explain the perspective drawing method in detail. We differentiate the technique with multiple subcategories. One point perspective to sic point perspective. The name is always hinting at the number of vanishing points the lines can converge into.

I've already dedicated an entire article to explain the difference between one point and two point perspective which are the most used ones in drawing. Check it out here. Three point perspective drawings can often be seen in city drawings.

Four, five and six point perspectives are barely used in drawing because it is rather difficult and doesn't serve one particular purpose. Let's say, these kinds of perspective drawings are suited for the more curious artists who are willing to experiment a lot.

You can see examples of these perspective types in this article on Mac H. - Creative where I'm talking about analytical drawing. Another category that perspective drawing is a subcategory of. Don't let this confuse you.

This is the first two point perspective drawing of a house I did when I started with this great drawing technique. As you can imagine, this is often used by architects and engineers to construct buildings.

These drawings are then often used in meetings to present the actual progress to their clients. Whole streets can also be shown using the two point perspective. Whole cities are more easily drawn with the three point technique.

You can find examples for all the different perspective types in the analytical drawing article. Click this link to get there. It's another article on this site and it will open in a new tab so you won't lose your place here.

One point perspective most often means that all the non-vertical lines converge into one vanishing point in the center of the image. If you're drawing the interior of a house such as a kitchen or a bedroom, for example, this technique is perfectly suited for that.

Check out this video to learn how to draw a simple hallway in one point perspective.

Two point perspective is almost as simple as one point perspective. You can learn how to draw in two point perspective with this tutorial that perfectly explains the technique step by step for literally anyone.

I'm sure you'll enjoy it just as much as I do and maybe you'll even enjoy it so much that you'll become an architect one day. How great would that be?

II. Additional Types Of Pictorial Drawing

There are a few more types of pictorial drawing that are barely used. Nevertheless, I'd like to introduce you to a few of them, so you have the most useful knowledge on the topic after this article and not only the absolute basics.

Speaking of which, if you want to learn about the absolute basic perception skills every drawing artist needs to know, check out this article on the Blog. It's the first article I ever published on Mac H. - Creative and it covers one of the most important drawing topics.

Coming back now to the questions of what further types of pictorial view/drawing there are. We'll talk about two of them in a slightly less detailed manner than the three main ones because they are just not that important.

The additional pictorial drawing types:

1. Axonometric

2. Planometric

So, what are these two further types about and what are the differences to the main categories of pictorial drawing? Let's directly dive into the first one.

1. Axonometric

Axonometric projection is basically a generic term that isometric projection is a subcategory of. I know, I know, this already sounds complicated again and before I struggle to explain it as simply as possible to you, watch this video.

In the video, the instructor perfectly explains what axonometric drawing is and that isometric drawing is one of three subcategories of it. At the end, he also shows examples that round up the topic so everyone understands it.

The differences between the different types of axonometric drawings are based on the relations and angles between the axes and the horizontal. That's basically everything you need to know to understand axonometric projection.

2. Planometric

This technique is called planometric because it includes a plan of one plane of the object describing the top view on the object. As the other additional types and oblique drawing planometric view also has parallel lines instead of converging ones as in perspective.

Planometric drawings can be based on two 45° angles. The second way to create a planometric drawing is the so-called 30/60 method. This basically means that you don't have two 45° angles but one 30° and one 60° angle.

This makes the subject you're drawing appear more like you're looking at it from a top-down view. The initial approach of drawing stays the same and only the angles change.

I have another video for you that teaches you to create a planometric drawing yourself and it also includes circles. Circles have to be treated very carefully in pictorial drawings generally since they don't have lines whose angles you can adjust however you like.

III. Instructions By A Professional Engineer

This section is kind of a little bonus on top of the knowledge you've already gained on the topic. This video was made by an engineer teaching how pictorial drawing is actually done in a professional way in the engineering industry.

Check it out. I think it's super interesting to see a professional work with pictorial view creating a drawing of a medium complex 3D object.

A relatively tiny thing that I find very interesting, however, is the fact that there is a special kind of paper for this profession. They don't just use a blank piece of drawing surface but a prefabricated paper for pictorial drawing.

I am sure you will learn more than one or two additional things from this expert if you watch the video. If you're creating a pictorial drawing of any kind yourself, I'd love to see your work at our Mac H. - Creative Facebook group. You're welcome to join us here.

IV. Related Questions

1. What Is The Difference Between A Pictorial And Multiview Drawing?

Multiview drawings are accumulations of two-dimensional drawings depicting various sides of one object. A pictorial drawing, on the other side, depicts a three-dimensional object in one drawing showing only a few sides of it from one particular point of view.

2. What Is The Purpose Of A Pictorial Sketch?

Pictorial sketches have the purpose of portraying one single three-dimensional object on a two-dimensional surface for professional engineers or architects, for example, to present their plans to their clients.

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