250 box challenge - purpose of the exercise

2:20 PM, Friday May 22nd 2020

I'm currently at box #110 on 250 box challenge, and I started to wonder about the goal of this exercise.

I started out drawing them completely freehand, no guides. Later on I started to incorporate the followings:

• Placing my fingertip somewhere far (2-8 inches outside of the paper) as a vanishing point to guide my other lines

• Drawing multiple dots toward the VP (not quite a dotted line, but definitely more than just one or two dots) to help visualize the lines

These steps did improve my results. But I also wonder, if this is just the same thing as using a ruler, just with less precision. If the goal of the exercise is just to deliver more accurate results, a ruler would do it. But since the exercise doesn’t call for it, that’s obviously not the goal. Yet as I mentioned, I feel like using guides (fingers, dots, pen, etc) for the sake of better results is not that different from using a straight edge all the way around.

So the goal – is it to be draw so many boxes that you will start to intuitively “see” approximate angles of where each line should be without any guide, or is there something else going on?

I hope that makes sense. Thanks!

6 users agree
2:25 PM, Friday May 22nd 2020
edited at 2:25 PM, May 22nd 2020

You can't draw dots or place your finger on anything explicitly on the vanishing points.

It is against the exercise. You definitely can put dots to help you make your guesses, but only that.

The purpose of this exercise is to improve your intuitive understanding on 3d space, so if you explicitly put down the dots on the vanishing points, or use another tool to mark them, you're missing the point.

Scylla made this video where she uses dots as guide to draw boxes, without marking directly the vanishing points, go watch it if you don't have clear how to use them.

edited at 2:25 PM, May 22nd 2020
3:36 PM, Sunday May 24th 2020

Thanks for sharing this video, it was VERY helpful. I used her method and while I've still got some work to do, my convergences have been the best they’ve been without using VP or ruler. Have a great day!

4:48 PM, Sunday May 24th 2020

Glad it helped! Keep it up!

0 users agree
7:46 PM, Friday May 22nd 2020
edited at 7:46 PM, May 22nd 2020

I did similar things to help guide myself:

  • Placing my pen down on the paper and using it to help visualize the line first, then I pick the pen back up and use what I learned from the visualization to help guide my lines

  • Placing multiple dots, each time trying to better approximate the correct convergence for the line

  • "Placing" the vanishing point using my eyes at some object which might be near or far. Like at an object on my desk, or maybe the wall, or even beyond wall in the next room or in the next building, etc. Just as a way to think about how near or far and in which direction the vanishing points were.

But at the end I simply dumped all the above techniques and just freehanded everything without stopping to think so much about every single detail. Once you get the understanding, potentially using techniques such as the above, you just do and let your intuition guide you.

edited at 7:46 PM, May 22nd 2020
3:39 PM, Sunday May 24th 2020

Yeah knowing what to do intuitively definitely makes you feel like you’ve learned something. I appreciate the input.

Also someone else shared this video. I think it’s really helpful way of looking at it. After using her mothed I an see improvements on my boxes.


0 users agree
7:28 AM, Saturday May 23rd 2020

I'm only at box 30, but from what I understand it's about grasping the relationship between parallel lines. It's not specifically about finding the vanishing point, but instead to read the parallel lines and then have an intuition about where that vp wil be. Then it's balancing that relationship so that all three pairs of parallel lines respect the different vps of the box.

The closest I get to graphing a vp is to ghost in a line that converges with its parallel twin, then dropping a dot at the approximate point where I think the perpendicular line would meet it. I suspect anything giving more guidance than eyeballing it like this will defeat the purpose of the exercise. Afterwards, I look at the plotted lines and spot where I got stuff wrong, then use that knowledge to second-guess my choices when I do the next page.

I don't know if that helps your question, but thanks for the topic! I do sometimes wonder if I'm doing this right.

3:42 PM, Sunday May 24th 2020

Thanks for the input. I've heard Uncomfortable say that it's okay to use a guide, so long as you'd always have it. So you can use a pen to aim toward an imaginary VP if that helps. I think the key though is like you've said, not to focus on the definite VP like that's the point. I do think the point is to develp intuitive understanding of how the boxes should look.

Also someone else shared this video. I think it’s really helpful way of looking at it. After using her mothed I an see improvements on my boxes.


11:59 AM, Wednesday May 27th 2020

Cool, that's pretty much what I've been doing, except I draw in the parallels of the different sides before dropping in the rest of my points, as per the method used for the organic boxes exercise.

But she's on the money - it's about visualising where the line might be. I don't use a physcial guide because the intention is not to draw a box correctly but to understand what it is that makes a box work correctly. So there's no point using a guide if all it does is give you a nice result.I find it much more useful to look at my boxes afterwards, check what I did wrong, and try to fix that mistake on the next set of boxes. To me, a guide would totally defeat that approach.

Simply put: I'd rather get it wrong without a guide than get it right with a guide, because in the former approach I learn more and faster. Good luck!

This is an advertisement. Most of the links here are part of Amazon's affiliate program (unless otherwise stated), which helps support this website. It's also more than that - it's a hand-picked recommendation of something I've used myself. If you're interested, here is a full list.
Marshall Vandruff's Linear Perspective Videos

Marshall Vandruff's Linear Perspective Videos

Despite their age, Marshall Vandruff's videos on Linear Perspective are some of the best lectures on all the ins and outs of perspective, and as an instructor, he is highly respected across the board. He goes into a lot of the intricacies that I don't touch on in much depth (at least, not if I can help it).

On top of being some of the best, his lectures are also among the most accessible, at the full 8 hour set for $12.00. There's literally no reason not to grab them.

This website uses cookies. You can read more about what we do with them, read our privacy policy.