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✏️ Tips and tricks for beginners and returners

Hausskizze in Fluchtpunktperspektive

Spatial drawing

Spatial drawing

Räumliches Zeichnen ist die Grundlage für eine dreidimensionale Wirkung innerhalb eines Bildes. Wer nicht einen flachen Eindruck vermitteln möchte, sondern von Tiefe und Weite, findet hier die wesentlichen Mittel und Merkmale, wie ihm das gelingen kann. 😉



There are many reasons why an image appears spatial. Here you will learn what they are and how to use them.

Spatial drawing is commonly used in technical drawings and in architecture. However, a spatially structured image also has its appeal and noticeable advantages. Here, I will show you how to draw in a spatial manner and what it depends on. You can also learn shading here.

Shading and Blending with PencilShading and Blending with Pencil – Read the blog article



Below you will find the basic hatching techniques using a pencil or fineliner:

Various Cross Hatching
Various cross hatching


Various Curved and Figure-Eight Hatching
Various curved and figure-eight hatching

When you look at, for example, a chair, you initially see the chair as a whole. But you need to learn to see because, for an artist, it consists of lines at first.

Spatial Drawing: Shading Geometric Bodies
Various hatchings

To do this, you use four basic shapes: circle, oval, square, and triangle. In combination with the three-dimensional, you have many possibilities to depict complex objects in an easy way.

Body and Cast Shadow
Body and cast shadow


Three-dimensional/ spatial forms

  • Circle – Sphere
  • Triangle – Pyramid
  • Square/ Rectangle – Cube

In the case of the chair, you first draw a cube and then a square above it. You can transfer this simplification to all possible objects.

Very simple: e.g. an apple = circle.
For trees, you could take a cone or a sphere, depending on the species, the trunk would then be a cylinder.


Basic shapes using a tree example
Pine and deciduous tree

When looking at children’s drawings, you can see that even they already make use of these aids by simplifying what they see. To understand which shape can be used where, one must learn to imagine an object in a simplified manner. The best way to do this is by memorizing simple motifs and reproducing them on paper from memory.


Spatial Drawing – Space

The effect of lines can also be expressed differently. If you imagine a surface with a simple spiral on it, you will see that it appears calm and even. However, if you shift the line, it creates unrest and tension.

Calmness and tension in a square
Balanced and restless


On another surface with several shapes that are initially calm and balanced, you can also create tension and depth through proportional shifts. In this case, only the middle part has been shifted, but the size has not changed. This technique can also be used in landscape pictures to create tension, as shown in the example of the tree where the horizon line is responsible for the effect.

Spatial tension through the horizon line
Tension through the horizon line


To represent space on a two-dimensional sheet, you can use some clever tricks: The simplest method is to draw a horizontal line across the sheet. It is even possible to draw multiple horizontals overlapping each other. The distance to the subject also plays a crucial role.

Multiple horizon lines
Distributed from foreground to background with multiple horizons


When you want to depict multiple objects, such as apples, in a three-dimensional way, you can either arrange them in layers, meaning placing them one after another, or assemble them arbitrarily. In this variation, it is helpful to initially draw invisible lines, which makes it easier. Naturally, when drawing several objects of the same size, the ones in the back are smaller than the ones in the front. However, this only applies to objects of different sizes to a limited extent.

Spatial Drawing: Distinguishing Different Levels through Varying Shades of Brightness
Distinguishing different levels through varying shades of brightness


The Key Features of Spatiality

Here is a summary of the possibilities for drawing in a spatial manner:

  • Using or suggesting the horizon line
  • Overlaps
  • Darkening the background to create contrast
  • The foreground is usually at the bottom of the picture
  • Surface textures change as they recede (they become blurrier)
    • Aerial perspective is common in landscape photos
    • There is also the “bluing” effect (colors become increasingly blue) of the background
  • Objects become smaller as they recede
  • Shadows give shape to the object
  • Parallel lines that recede into the distance converge towards a vanishing point
  • Color contrasts and brightness contrasts decrease with distance
Spatial Drawing: 12 features to represent an image in 3D
Spatial Drawing: 12 features to represent an image in 3D


Additional Pages


From the German Blog


From the German-speaking Forum


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