The Art of Perspective || Yves LeBlanc

Books on perspective always suffer from the fact that they look incredibly technical. There’s no real way round this because it’s necessary to know how lines and planes project towards a putative vanishing point.

Over the years, various books have attempted to get round this. Occasionally, someone tries omitting the diagrams altogether and the result leaves you knowing less that when you started. Others, like Gwen White’s excellent manual, aim themselves at the technical drawing market and just go for it. Overall, the middle way, with as many example drawings as possible and simplified line-work, generally works as well as it can.

This book falls somewhere between the middle and let-it-all-hang-out ways. The diagrams are all there, but so are the drawings. I think that you have to want to take perspective pretty seriously (and there’s a convincing argument that says you should) to be both prepared and able to get to grips with this. However, it’s all broken down into relatively digestible bite-size chunks and, as long as you proceed at a fairly steady pace, you should find yourself getting somewhere.

One of the most user-friendly books on perspective is the same publisher’s The Art of Perspective by Janet Shearer. This uses specially taken photographs to illustrate what is going on and is probably the best place to start a study of the subject. The book under review here, though, picks the baton up and takes it a lot further.

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