# Definition of Vanishing Point

Vanish point is a common term in drawing. In short, the vanishing point is the point where things ”disappear” into the distance when you draw or paint.  For example, if you are trying to create perspective when draw a train track,  it will be wider toward the front (bottom) of the paper, and narrow as you go farther back (up). The lines of the track,  parallel in real life, will meet at the imaginary vanishing point, which is often a place not even on the paper or canvas.

A vanishing point  is a point in a perspective drawing to which parallel lines not parallel to the image plane appear to converge. The number and placement of the vanishing points determines which perspective technique is being used. The concept was first used  by Renaissance artists such as Donatello, Masaccio and Leonardo da Vinci.

• linear perspective is a drawing with 1-3 vanishing points.
• curvilinear perspective is a drawing with either 4 or 5 vanishing points, in  5 point perspective the vanishing points are mapped into a circle with 4  vanishing points at the cardinal headings N,W,S,E and one at the circle  origin.
• reverse perspective is a drawing with vanishing points that are placed  outside the painting with the illusion that they are “in front of” the  painting.

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As things get further away, from us, they seems smaller and closer together. When they get far enough away, distances become ever tinier and so form a single point. In one-point perspective, all the horizontal lines go straight across, while the lines that move away from us – the sides of boxes, the road we are on, or the railway lines in front of us – all converge towards the center of the picture.

In two-point perspective, our subject is angled so that the two sides, left and right, each have their own vanishing point. In real life, the angle between these combines with our low point of view to make the vanishing points very far apart. If you’re drawing from life and try to contstruct your vanishing points, you’ll find that they are often right off the paper, sometimes as much as a whole yard or meter across your wall or table! When working from a photograph, that distance can change depending on the lens used by the photographer. When you are constructing perspective, you can put your vanishing points on the edges of your paper, or attach an extra sheet to the sides of your page while working, to create a more natural angle.

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