Turnaround Drawings

In this article you will learn an effective exercise for developing a good sense of form.

This is definitely going with the theme of making drawing harder to make it easier..! I learned about it in a perspective class with legendary teacher Marshall Vandruff. The difficulty of the assignment is what stretches your abilities and keeps your drawing-brain fit.

How to do it

The challenge: draw an object, but instead of drawing it the way you see it from where you are looking, draw it the way it would look when seen from the side.

You can draw from life, or from a reference image. When you work from life, try to imagine what the object looks like from the side, draw it, and then check by actually looking at the object from the side. The best way to work with reference images is to have actual images of the views you draw, so you can check in the end. 3D renders work well, too.

Stretch yourself, but don’t stretch yourself too much! It’s helpful to begin with simple household objects that have no overlaps. Increase the complexity of the objects you draw as you gain confidence. It’s important that you do this gradually, so you don’t get frustrated and learn most effectively.

My workflow

  1. Pick object or reference image.
  2. Simplify object/image into basic forms in your mind or in a quick sketch.
  3. Draw a small top view “map” to orient yourself.
  4. Draw a turnaround view. I like to do 90° turns first, then add 45° views and odd angles.

Example with different views

Fun with Animation

If you know some animation basics, you can string together a series of drawings and create a spinning object!

Your turn

Pick a simple household object and make one turnaround drawing!

Further Reading

There is a great in-depth article on perspective drawing on Autodesk’s blog by Monika Zagrobelna.


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