Happy April Fool’s Day! No fooling, today I’m starting a new feature on this blog, where I use my expertise (as demonstrated in my two books Perspective! and Extreme Perspective!) to demonstrate the lapses, inconsistencies and violations of Perspective Law in my fellow artist’s technique. Call it “Perspective Police!”
David Chelsea is listening to: Ben Folds Presents: University a Cappella!
My first example is a strip from a recent issue of the New Yorker by internationally renowned Dutch cartoonist Joost Swarte. Strictly speaking, this piece has no perspective in it at all. As I pointed out in a recent blog post, Swarte likes to use isometric construction as an alternative to perspective, which he does (flawlessly) in four out of six panels in this strip. But in the fourth panel he varies the pattern by switching to an another parallel drawing style known horizontal oblique projection, which is defined as a view from an infinite distance of an object or scene which has been rotated horizontally but not tilted. In such a view, all surfaces parallel to the ground are seen edge-on and are therefore invisible (An equivalent method called vertical oblique projection is simply the same construction turned on its side).
The rules of horizontal oblique projection require Swarte not to show the tops of tables and chairs or the floor, and to place any objects resting on the floor- including the feet of both characters- on the bottom line. Swarte follows the rule regarding the tables and chairs, but can’t quite bring himself to leave out the floor, and he sets the objects resting on it at a number of levels (also, unless the lampshade is tilted, we really shouldn’t see the underside of it).
A case can be made that leaving out the floor would make for too crowded-looking a space; but I don’t think that bringing the drawing in line with correct construction, as I have done in my reworked version, destroys its quality at all.
In other paraline drawing news, my fellow Portlander Adrian Wallace opens the latest installment of his webcomic Jumbo deLuxe with an isometric panel, and gives my website and new book a shout-out as well. l can only return the compliment.
Got an example of iffy perspective to show? Be a whistleblower! Send an e-mail to me at davidchelsea(at)comcast(dot)net and include Perspective Police! in the subject line.