How to draw a bird's eye view

Written by venice kichura
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How to draw a bird's eye view
Aerial or Bird's Eye View (Wisconsin Birdseye Image)

A bird's eye view is the view of a subject from above, such as from an aeroplane or the top of a staircase. Other terms used to describe a bird's eye view include "aerial view" or "aerial viewpoint". Overhead view is another word to describe a bird's eye view; however it suggests a less lofty vantage point, such as seen in a video or computer game.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Stairway or height
  • Human subject
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Drawing pad

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  1. 1

    Study perspective. The key to drawing a bird's eye view is the ability to know how each object relates to everything else. You need to have a good understanding of perspective because once you understand it you can determine how to draw any person from any angle.

  2. 2

    Carrying a pencil, eraser and sketching pad walk up a stairway and have your human subject stand near the bottom of the stairway. Before starting to draw your sketch, lightly sketch construction lines forming a long cone-shaped three-dimensional shape. You'll place the form of your subject inside this cone.

  3. 3

    Begin drawing from the top, making your way down. Divide your cone-shaped drawing into thirds. The top portion is for the head and chest area. Begin by making an oval for the torso. Then draw a little circle inside it depicting the head. Notice the head is your largest part of the drawing because it's closest to you, the artist. Don't worry about accuracy at first as you just want to outline basic shapes.

  4. 4

    Continue drawing, noting that your subject grows smaller the farther it travels away from you. In the middle section of your cone, begin roughing out the shoulders rib cage, abdominal area, thighs and arms.

  5. 5

    Work on the bottom part of your cone, containing the legs and the feet. Draw only the tops of the feet as this is what you see looking down on your subject, just as bird would view it.

  6. 6

    Start refining your work, darkening lines with your pencil. Beginning at the top of your drawing, start redefining features. For examples, mould ears and facial features. Soften the shoulders.

  7. 7

    Do more refining as you darken lines with your pencil. Beginning at the top of your drawing, start redefining features.

Tips and warnings

  • Study the work of perspective artists such as Renaissance artist Piero Della Francesca.
  • By adding features such as a headband or stripes to clothing you give your drawing more perspective.
  • Don't draw what you think is there, but be careful to draw exactly what you see.

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