This tutorial explains how to properly draw cylinders in perspective step by step. It also shows how this knowledge can be applied when drawing more complex objects.
Step 1 – Draw a Rectangular Prism (3d Rectangle) in Perspective
To draw a cylinder in perspective first draw a prism that is as tall as you would like the cylinder to be. Make sure to draw it as if though it’s transparent so you can see all of its structural lines.
Step 2 – Draw the Cylinder Inside the Prism
Inside the prism draw a line from two of the corner to the corner across from it making an “X” shape. Do this for both the top and bottom plane.
The point at which the lines overlap will be the proper in perspective middle of the top and bottom plane of the shape. Draw a vertical line though each of the two intersections.
Based on this line draw two halves of an in perspective circle (oval shape).
Step 3 – Connect Top & Bottom of Cylinder
Erase/remove all of the guide lines excluding the center lines though the top and bottom perspective circles. Connect the top and bottom shapes with vertical lines drawn from the end points of the horizontal lines inside the top and bottom shapes.
After doing this you should have an in perspective cylinder.
Top vs Bottom Comparison
In the above example you can see how the top and bottom planes of a cylinder differ due to “eye level”. The close they move to the level of the viewer’s eyes the narrower they will appear. In this case the top part is closer to the “eye level” and is therefore is flatter/horizontally narrower.
If you were to look at a cylinder while holding either it’s top or bottom directly at the level of your eyes each would appear flat (a straight line). If you were to move the cylinder further down/or up from the top/bottom would get wider until they eventually looked like circles.
Two Point Perspective Cylinder
Drawing two point perspective cylinders is basically the same as one point. Simply draw a two point perspective rectangular prism and then follow the same steps previously mentioned.
How to Apply Perspective Cylinders When Drawing
In the cup drawing above you can see how knowing how to draw cylinders in perspective can be applied to drawing real objects such as a cup.
Knowing how to draw cylinder in perspective is very useful for drawing a wide variety of objects. You may not always need to perfectly structure every cylindrical shape you draw using perspective lines but it is very helpful to have a good understanding of how perspective drawing applies to cylinders.