So..the creation of art begins with one simple thing, and that is perspective...
What is perspective? Well, perspective is our perception of one or several objects in space. Perspective tells us the distance, spatial relativity and dimensions of an object. If two people are viewing the same object or landscape, one with his face to the ground, and the other from a helicopter, both will see that object or landscape in an entirely different way. It is probably the absolute base foundation of good art, and while difficult to master, it thankfully follows some strict mathematic rules that once digested, will become second nature to you when calling upon it to create your art.
So let's look at the components of perspective...
This is our horizon line. Now there's something extremely interesting about this line, as no matter where we stand or place our 'camera' (visual camera that is, not necessarily a physical photo camera (though it can be that too ;)), as long as we face directly forwards, the horizon line will *ALWAYS BE AT EYE LEVEL*. Try it yourself, if you live in a place with a clear or roughly clear view of the horizon. If you stand outside your door, the horizon line will be at eye level. If you then go up a high rise apartment building and look out your balcony, the same will occur. Since the horizon line will always be at exactly eye level (assuming you're not tilting your head or camera), then anything below the horizon line, you will be viewing the top of...and anything above it, you will be viewing the bottom side. Again, try this...look around your living room. Grab a cup or a DVD box and slowly move it around your field of vision, and observe what you see.
Now the majority of the time, the horizon line will not be directly visible, instead obscured by foliage or buildings. But in perspective drawing, the horizon line is essential for the next step.
Now this dot here is what is known as the vanishing point. The vanishing point is the point at which things vanish (stay with me here :o). What we mean by this, is that at this dot, we can no longer see any further past the horizon. If we draw perspective lines outward from that point, we have our first type of perspective, 'one point' perspective.
These lines can be used as a grid, or could either represent a road, railway or a rigorously rigid river (good band name there). That doesn't matter. What does matter is that when held up to scrutiny, the perspective fits, and our brain will see the reality in that which we're trying to represent. After all, we're not creating our own rules of nature and getting our viewer to conform to them. Nature's rules are solid, and we all share the same perception of the world around us to one degree or another. Understand the rules of nature, and you're free to bend them to your whim.
So let's begin, the image below should provide a step by step towards creating a cube form within the dimensions of one point perspective.
Once you've gotten the hang of that, the next step is to create a second vanishing point. This is shockingly know as 'two point perspective'. A general rule of thumb here is to place your points quite far apart from each other. Place them too close and you end up with some distortion problems.
Let's attempt something more difficult, but something that is really the first significant step in mastery of form. Let's construct a cube in 2 point perspective.
Now a good exercise here is to continue building cubes all over the page. Try placing one in front of the other, or one on top of another etc. Remember always that all parallel lines will converge to the same point in space. You can construct cubes on the same construction lines as another, up and down, but in order to have then appear parallel, they *must converge to the same point*. The more you do it, the more you will begin to understand how a cube would fit into any given perspective.
That's all for the moment. Some exercises will be presented in the next part. If anyone reading this would like to contribute their attempts, I'd love to see it and post some here. If there are any questions or any need for clarity on any given subject, don't hesitate to let me know!