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Home >> Painting Tips >> Foreshortening


The process of applying linear perspective to an object is referred to as foreshortening. This technique assists in adding depth and drama to a drawing. Foreshortening refers to the technique used to create the illusion of an object retreating into the background. In the world of art, the term is often used as a synonym with perspective, even though foreshortening can occur in other types of non-perspective drawing representations as for example oblique parallel projection. The art of foreshortening demands that you know your field of study thoroughly. So amateur painters should try and begin with a simple object which can be controlled easily. The effect of foreshortening can be very difficult to obtain, when drawing a complex object. The art of foreshortening therefore must be carried out with a lot of conviction to trick the eye. Andrea Mantegna’s Dead Christ is one of the fine examples of fore-shortening. Signorelli was one of the noted painters who loved to depict actions in his paintings and skillfully mastered the art of Foreshortening.

Techniques of Foreshortening- The following techniques can help to master the art of foreshortening.

  • One should sit still and straight because slightest slump can mar the drawing of a foreshortened object.
  • One should draw what one is actually seeing and not what he thinks it should look like.
  • One should also have a keen sense for observation.

Useful Books on Foreshortening- Some of the very useful books on foreshortening for artists and art lovers are as follows-

  • Atlas of Foreshortening: The Human Figure in Deep Perspective by John Cody and Ron Tribell.
  • Henry James and the Art of Foreshortening by Morris Roberts.
  • Complete Life Drawing Course.
  • Dynamic figure drawing by Burne Hogarth.

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