One of the most important skills in perspective drawing is the ability to construct circles (ellipses) in perspective.
The circle is so ordinary, when you are working with drilled holes in surfaces, circular parts protruding from a surface, rounded corners, cylinders of various types, cones and circular lines on spheres.
Even when you want to create human forms such as hands, face, fingers, body etc., the ellipse plays a very important part.
So what is an Ellipse?
The only way you can define an ellipse, the true way to define an ellipse, is that ‘an ellipse is a circle in perspective’, sorry, but that’s it. At this stage you should now have a good idea of perspective and it’s uses. So lets look at that statement again.
Not very often I can guarantee you, because the world is made up of what we often call 3D or ‘three dimensional’ images seen by our eyes, yet a circle is a 2D ‘two dimensional’ image, so it stands to reason that it’s not often you will see a circle.
In Perspective Drawing therefore we are able to see a circle in one place only and that’s at the point of intersection of the Line of Sight and the Horizon Line in One Point Perspective, as seen below. Indeed every circle we look at ‘front on’ in One Point Perspective is a perfect circle. I guess that’s the reason I will mention from the word go that we will not be working too much with One Point Perspective.
Our perception of a circle in Two and Three Point Perspective is not a true circle at all, but an ellipse that varies considerably from a perfect circle to an ellipse that is so compact that it becomes a straight line. This can happen on the horizontal and vertical plane as well as any other plane (angled plane) at any angle, that is aligned with our eye level.