Scaling Furniture from Photos
Apply the laws of perspective to create working drawings from photographs
Synopsis: Have you ever wanted to build a piece of furniture after seeing it in a photograph? This article by Miguel Gómez-Ibáñez provides step-by-step instructions to create accurate and comprehensive project plans from a photograph. Tips for drawing in perspective and drawing to scale are detailed as he walks readers through a drawing of a contemporary-style secretary desk. A few measuring and drawing tools are all you need to get started.
From Fine Woodworking #170
Thumbing through magazines and books, you may see furniture that you would like to make. But to do that, you need a set of working drawings. To evaluate proportions and details accurately, you need to draw the piece to scale.
Published photos usually provide overall dimensions: depth, width, and height. While helpful, they do not provide enough information on which to base a detailed drawing.
Using a copy of the photo of the furniture piece, string, a straightedge, an architect’s scale, a sharp pencil, a bench or table with a sheet of plywood, and a T-square, it’s possible to generate lines on each plane of the image beginning with one known dimension. Then you can break down the overall dimensions into smaller increments within that framework. This technique opens up a lot of opportunity to build projects without plans yet remain faithful to the originals.
During the 15th century, artists in Florence, Italy, developed a process for perspective drawing that allowed them to depict accurately three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional canvas using simple principles. These artists realized that objects that are closer to you appear larger than those that are farther away. Additionally, parallel lines on each face appear to converge as they recede into the distance and, ultimately, appear to vanish altogether at a single point on the horizon. The viewer’s…