How to Draw Buildings in 3D

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In this drawing lesson we consider how to draw buildings in 3D with the help of a single vanishing point.
We'll draw a very simple house, as well as a room's interior.
3d House & 3d Room Interior

There is a typical error that I see in a lot of 3D drawings, when people try to create a square paneling, like on the ceiling of the room above. In the second part of this lesson I'll show you how to avoid this mistake.

You need a ruler and an eraser for this drawing lesson, because we will often draw lines that help us, but have to be removed again.

We start with the house.
You can jump straight to the room by clicking here.

How to Draw Buildings in 3d - Simple House: Step 1

Square and Vanishing Point

At the beginning, you draw the front of the house and the vanishing point.
Here our front is a simple square, but it actually could be any shape you wish.
The vanishing point is the X to the right.
Don't place it too close to the front of your building, but leave good space between them.

In reality, the parts of a building that are farer away from us become smaller, and the vanishing point will help us to achieve the same 3d-effect in our drawing.

How to Draw Buildings in 3d - Simple House: Step 2

Perspective Lines

Now draw a straight line going from each corner of the square to the vanishing point.
These perspective lines are coming closer and closer together, and make it look like the square is becoming smaller and smaller in the distance.

Perhaps you can already imagine the shape above as a 3d square that is incredibly long, stretching into infinity. If you can't, it will become clear to you in the next few steps.

How to Draw Buildings in 3d - Simple House: Step 3

Hind End of Building

Since we don't want our building to have infinite length, we have to cut the long shape off at some point.
We do this through drawing in the hind end of the building. It is just another square that lies between the perspective lines, touching them with its corners.
And as you can see, the hind end is much smaller than the front of the building, because it is farer away from us.

Erasing the Perspective Lines

Now you can erase the perspective lines, so that only the actually visible parts of the building remain on paper.
I did this in two steps here.
First I cut off the perspective lines behind the back side of the building.
You can see the result on the left. This 3d box will be the base for our building.

Then I also erased all the inner lines, because our building isn't transparent after all. You can see the result on the right.
This doesn't look very 3d anymore, but in the next steps it will do so again.

How to Draw Buildings in 3d - Simple House: Step 5

Let's add a roof on top of the box, so that it starts to look like a building.

Triangle for Roof

Start by drawing a triangle on top of the square.

Roof Hind End
Connect the top of the triangle with the vanishing point.

Then draw in the back end of the roof. It is a line that is parallel to the right side of the triangle. Draw it touching the upper end corner of our 3d box.

Afterwards, erase the parts of the lines that reach beyond the building.

How to Draw Buildings in 3d - Simple House: Step 5

Windows Perspective Lines

Now you can draw in a simple front door, and since it is directly facing us, no perspective lines are required for it.

Windows on the side wall of the building have to become smaller in the distance, however. That's why we draw in two perspective lines: one for the upper edge and one for the lower edge of the windows.

Adding Windows

Now you can draw in the windows between the perspective lines.
The second window is forced by the perspective lines to be smaller, but you should also take care to draw it a bit narrower, since perspective shortening is also influencing the width.

Simple 3d Building

Once the windows are set, you erase the superfluous lines again.
And with that your first simple 3d building is finished.


In the next section of this lesson we'll draw a simple room with furniture.

How to Draw Buildings in 3d -

Room Interior: Step1

Square with Vanishing PointPerspective Lines

Just like in the first part of this lesson, we start out with a square and a vanishing point. This time the vanishing point (the little cross) is placed right into the middle of the square.
Having done that, draw lines going from each corner of the square towards the vanishing point.

Can you look at the result on the right and think of it as a long square tunnel that is leading into the picture? Try to see it. If you can't, it's no problem; you'll see the 3d effect soon enough.

How to Draw Buildings in 3d - Room Interior: Step 2

Hind Wall of RoomUnnecessary Lines Erased

Since we don't want an infinite tunnel, but a room, we have to draw in a back wall. This back wall is just a smaller square which's corners lie on the perspective lines.
Erase the lines that are lying inside of the smaller square afterwards.

With that we already have an empty 3d room, though you probably don't see the 3d effect very well in this step.
Through the adding of some furniture the 3d effect will become really strong.

How to Draw Buildings in 3d - Room Interior: Step 3

Front of Drawer and Bed

To keep it simple, I decided to place only a locker and a bed into the room. First we draw the sides of them that are directly facing us.

Draw a large vertical standing square on the left side of the room for the locker. Let it touch the perspective line with its lower left corner, so that the locker appears to be touching the wall.

For the bed you draw a horizontal square hovering a bit above the ground.
The legs on which it stands will later be drawn below it.

How to Draw Buildings in 3d - Room Interior: Step 4

Drawer and Bed Perspective Lines

Now draw lines going from the corners of these squares towards the vanishing point.
As you can see, I didn't do this for the left two corners of the locker, and the lower right corner of the bed, because these lines would be hidden behind bed and locker anyway.

How to Draw Buildings in 3d - Room Interior: Step 5

Drawer and Bet Hind End

Again, we have to cut off our 3d shapes at some point.
Do this with lines that are parallel to the front sides of bed and locker.

How to Draw Buildings in 3d - Room Interior: Step 6

Helpful Lines

Erase the perspective lines reaching beyond the newly drawn ends of the furniture, as well as the lines of the room which are now lying behind bed and locker, and are thus blocked from view.

Now the furniture looks like two simple boxes standing, or hovering, inside of the room. We'll add a few details now to make them look better.

I want to have two doors of equal size for the locker.
For this I first have to find the middle of the locker.
You find it by connecting the corners of the lockers side with lines, so that you get an X. The crossing point of this X is lying exactly in the middle of the locker. Draw a straight vertical line through this middle point, and then erase the X, since it only helped us to find the middle (see next image for result).

To give the bed some legs, add two small boxes below its front side.

How to Draw Buildings in 3d - Room Interior: Step 7

Bed Legs and Drawer Door

Draw perspective lines going from the corners of the bed's legs to the vanishing point.

How to Draw Buildings in 3d - Room Interior: Step 8

Window & Finished Legs

Then cut off the perspective lines at the end of the bed and also erase all lines which are hidden behind the bed.
And with that your simple furniture is finished.

Now let's also add a window to our room to make it a bit more comfortable.
Just draw a simple square around the vanishing point first.
This is the window itself and in the next steps we'll add a window ledge below it.

How to Draw Buildings in 3d - Room Interior: Step 9

Window Ledge Perspective Lines

Go on by drawing perspective lines once more, this time going through the lower corners of the window, reaching outside of the square.

How to Draw Buildings in 3d - Room Interior: Step 10

Window Ledge

Draw in a very thin box below the window touching the perspective lines with its upper edges. Then erase the lines inside of the window and your window ledge is finished already (see next picture for final look of the ledge).

How to Draw Buildings in 3d - Room Interior: Step 11

The last thing we add to our room is the ceiling paneling.
It will consist of square panels of equal size.
Such a square paneling is often done in 3d drawings and it is often done wrong.

So let's start with the way how not to do it.

Common Perspective Drawing Mistake

So what is wrong with the paneling in this picture?
The panels are supposed to be of the same size.
But each row that is closer to the hind wall seems to be broader (or longer, depending how you think about it) than the previous one.

The reason is that they were, in fact, given the same width, as is shown through the red lines on the right.
But since the later rows are farer away from us they have to be shorter,
just like everything else in a 3d world becomes smaller the farer away it is.

So let's look at the right way to do this now.

How to Draw Buildings in 3d - Simple House: Step 12

Middle of Ceiling

Again we have to find the middle of the ceiling with the help of an X.

Middle of Ceiling

Draw a horizontal line crossing the ceiling in the middle.
Then erase the big X around it.
The remaining line is now dividing the ceiling in half.

Finding Middle for Both Halfs of Ceiling

Now do the same thing for both halves of the ceiling again.
Draw an X into each, to find its middle.
Then draw a horizontal line through this middle and then erase both Xes.

Quarters of Ceiling

And this is the result.
You now have three lines that divide the ceiling into four rows of equal size.
The rows in the background just appear to be smaller because of their larger distance to us.

Ceiling Panneling Perspective Lines

Now you can draw in the perspective lines for the panels.
Just measure out the distance between the rows at the top of the room, place little marks there and then connect them with the vanishing point.

Erased Unnecessary Lines

Finally, cut off the perspective lines at the end of the ceiling, and your paneling is complete.

Finished 3d Room

For the finishing touch I added frames into the window.
And that's it.
Your first 3d room is complete. With the furniture and the paneling on the ceiling the depth of the picture became pretty good in the end, didn't it?

Now you know more about how to draw buildings in 3d.
Congratulations on that and for your patience to work on these techniques.
Feel free to give me some feedback for this lesson.

Until next time, take care.

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