Jun 6, 2021

Drawing Basics: Drawing a Barn

The underlying structure od a barn


If you are just beginning to use the basic or simple form to draw, this step-by-step demonstration provides some tips on how to set up a drawing using simple forms.

This video shows us how we can use one of the simple or basic forms to draw a building. I demonstrate how we can use the box to establish the underlying structure to work out the positioning, proportions, and perspective as we draw a barn. We also take a look at how to set up some drawing guidelines to center or align parts of the barn to keep it appearing symmetrical.


Underlying Structure

This drawing technique looks for the hidden or underlying structures of objects to make drawing these objects easier to do. The underlying structure is the framework of shapes and forms that the complex visual information and details hang on. We can reinterpret each object into simple geometric shapes and forms. We can then use these simple geometric shapes and forms to understand how all the parts of the subject come together within three-dimensional space. 

The simplified forms used to set up this drwing of a dog.
The simple forms used to set up the structure of the drawing of the dog.


We use the underlying structure to set up the subject within our drawing before working on the details. Drawing just the structure as simple forms allow us to resolve the proportions of the parts of an object, position it within our composition, and resolve the perspective or how the object sits within the scene without needing to worry about the details. This technique saves us time and energy, making drawing more enjoyable.


This technique relies on reinterpreting the forms of the object into something less complex. We simplify the parts of an object into basic or simple forms. These forms are the sphere, box, cylinder, cone, and pyramid. We can use the structure that we draw using the simple forms as our guide or map. This map helps us scale and place all the details accurately within our drawing. 

The Underlying Structure of our Barn

The image below illustrates the underlying structure of the barn we draw in this video. We use the box to set up a basic structure. We can then use those boxes to guide us as we draw the other parts of the barn. For example, we can use the box to figure out where to put the roof's peak. If we want the roof to center over the main body of the barn, we can use a technique to find the center of the barn as we would see it from the point of view we are drawing that barn. 

The underlying structure of a barn drawn using simple forms.
The simple forms used to set up the structure of the drawing of this barn.


We can use this technique to help us find the center of the box. Then we use a guideline to match up the roof's peak to the center of the box.  

A technique like this s a great example of using simple forms to work out critical elements in the drawing, as doing this keeps the roof lined up in the same perspective as the rest of the building. 

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I encourage you to watch the video, then draw the barn as demonstrated. Practice drawing each box to match the perspective of the barn, following the steps to draw the forms and shapes to illustrate the barn. Also, practice sizing the parts of the barn to fit the sizes demonstrated. 

After drawing the barn, if you feel ready, draw a variation of the barn. You can change the perspective of the barn. You can change the relative sizes of the parts of the barn. After doing this, draw the barn again, creating a new variation. This practice will help you get a good grasp on using boxes to set up the underlying structure.

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