Perspective in Action

Creative Exercises for Depicting Spatial Representation from the Renaissance to the Digital Age

About the Book

Using a fun and accessible graphic novel format, Perspective in Action features 33 easy-to-follow demonstrations to teach artists the major discoveries in perspective.

Perspective is a fundamental element in the development of art and for understanding spatial relationships, but it is an underserved topic in the world of art instruction. Author and artist David Chelsea takes readers through the major perspective-related developments in history, teaching them how to re-create these same experiments by leading artists in all fields (including drawing, painting, and sculpture). Covering a wide-range of mediums (pen and ink, paint, chalk, digital art, woodwork, and more), Perspective in Action gives readers a more hands-on approach to perspective, as opposed to the usual theoretical presentations found in other books.
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Praise for Perspective in Action

"Cleverly packaged in a graphic novel format, artist Chelsea's (Perspective! For Comic Book Artists) book covers all aspects of simple perspective drawing and depicts its more complex applications. Step-by-step sketching exercises, craft projects, and experiments re-creating historical breakthroughs in the form. This guide shows how to draw in one-, two-, three-, six-, and multiple-point perspective and how to build a camera obscura, an Ames room, and a cabinet of wonder. A chapter on motion perspective demystifies the science behind realistic animation. Chapters on distorted perspective and stereo vision are also included. VERDICT This fun-to-read guide is best suited to readers of intermediate artistic skill level."
Library Journal

"This is a welcome, exhaustive introduction to the underlying structure of any drawing. It's like a lesson in perspective from Winsor McCay. It's about time we had a very human guide like this. Even old pros will use it."
—Will Eisner, creator of The Spirit and author of Comics and Sequential Art

"Perspective is the power to create worlds. Now, thanks to David Chelsea's Perspective! for Comic Book Artists, you can make that power your own. Don't miss this chance to master in a day what others have taken years to learn. You will never find a better book on this subject."
—Scott McCloud, creator of Zot! and author of Understanding Comics

"Perspective in Action is the most wide-ranging and authoritative book on perspective I've ever seen. David Chelsea examines every aspect of the subject imaginable, presenting it all in a graphic novel format that is both engrossing and easy to understand. For those who are serious about mastering perspective, this book is essential."
 —Mark Crilley, author of The Realism Challenge, The Drawing Lesson, Manga Art, and Mastering Manga and creator of Akiko
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Perspective in Action


Perspective has given me wings as an artist, and it has been my joy over the past two decades to share my knowledge of it with readers. In my previous books, Perspective! for Comic Book Artists and Extreme Perspective! For Artists, I lifted up the hood and showed you the inner mechanics of perspective. Now let’s take it for a spin and see how fast the thing will go. We’ll need to pack a little heavier on this trip, so in addition to the standard pencils, rulers, and paper, you’ll need to get comfortable with compasses, light tables, foam core board, and more. We won’t just be drawing perspective on paper; we’ll be learning how to create interesting projects, murals, and simple animations. Some of this material may already seem familiar. While I touched lightly on anamorphosis (a distorted form of drawing requiring the viewer to occupy a specific vantage point to reconstitute the image) and spherical perspective in my previous book, Extreme Perspective!, they seemed to call for fuller explanation, and they get it in this book. A couple of topics that have long intrigued me, stereo perspective and motion perspective, also get a thorough exploration. 

I have tried to keep the theoretical and mathematical aspects of the subject to a minimum in this book, and to provide details and exact instruction in how to create each project described, with a full list of materials. Hopefully, by the end of it, you will have a good enough understanding of the basic principles to create new and unique perspective projects of your own.

About the Author

David Chelsea
David Chelsea has been a commercial artist for more than 30 years, and his work has appeared in hundreds of publications, including the New York Times, the Wall Street JournalNew York PressSeattle WeeklyChicago TribuneReader's DigestBoston Phoenix, and Portland Monthly. He is the author of the graphic novels David Chelsea in LoveWelcome to the Zone, and Snow Angel; two volumes of his collected "24 Hour Comics"; and the how-to books Perspective! for Comic Book Artists and Extreme Perspective! for Artists. More by David Chelsea
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