Using the 3D Board
The 3D board is the easiest way to generate accurate perspective drawings.
The system is simple and fast. You can put away any textbooks you have on perspective drawing. The 3D board is easy enough to use that you can concentrate on being creative. You can also draw to scale using the 3D calculator.
The three slots on the board each have centres that are vanishing
points. When the tracking rule is placed in one of these slots,
the straight edge of the tracking rule will always be pointing
to a vanishing point.
This means that you don’t need to set up or even think about
vanishing points. The 3D board is easy enough to use that you can
concentrate on being creative. It is a design tool first and foremost.
Measurements aren’t needed because it is better to design
The tracking rule and board are made of the toughest materials
and will withstand rigorous use. A special ellipse template is
You will need the following things ready:
- 3D board;
- Tracking rule;
- A sheet of paper;
- sticky tape or masking tape;
- 3D ellipse template.
The general process for drawing follows these steps:
- Affix the A4 paper by to the board shown by the locating lines
using four small pieces of sticky tape or masking tape on the
corners. It is important that the page is accurately positioned.
- Place the tracking rule in one of the three slots.
- Draw along the straight edge of the tracking rule
- Draw in pencil and ignore any mistakes. Go over the correct
lines in fine liner as the last step.
The tracking rule can be used flip side. The bumps
on one of the edges indicate that the edge is not to be used for
For drawing ellipses, firstly place the tracking rule in the slot
opposite to the surface on which you are going to draw the ellipse.
Place the tracking rule in the top left slot to draw an ellipse
on the front right surface.
Place the tracking rule in the top right slot to draw an ellipse
on the front left surface.
Place the tracking rule in the bottom slot to draw an ellipse
on the top surface.
Now place the ellipse template on the straight edge of the tracking
rule so that the smallest end is pointing towards the centre of
the arc being used.
Slide the template along the tracking rule so that
the correct size of ellipse is in the chosen place, and then trace
Each full ellipse on the template has a half ellipse next to it.
To draw a cylinder use one of these pairs. Draw the first ellipse
completely. Without moving the ellipse template, draw the half
ellipse next to it.
Join the sides together by drawing lines with the tracking rule
from the same arc. Make sure you don’t have any sharp corners.
For longer cylinders follow these steps:
- Draw the front face of the cylinder using the ellipse template.
- Using the tracking rule in the same arc draw tangents from
the top and bottom of the front face to generate the sides of
- Use the ellipse template (aligned on the tracking rule in the
arc) to draw the back of the cylinder. Choose the ellipse of
best fit. (The template offers a limited range of ellipse sizes)
To draw a circular indentation, draw a full ellipse and then slide
the template slightly towards the vanishing point (without moving
the tracking rule) and using the same ellipse draw that part of
it which is inside the first one.
Once you are familiar with how the board works it will become
easy to generate some of your own shapes. To use it as a design
tool follow these steps:
- Generate a prism within which your object would fit.
- Modify the prism to the desired proportions.
- Modify the prism to the correct overall shape by extending
and truncating parts of the prism.
- Add details
- Go over the correct lines in fine liner.
It will be important to make good guesses about where your first
lines should go. This is an important skill to develop and will
help you draw faster.
Using the Archi-Board
The Archi-Board is great for drawing objects that are bigger than you such as a building (interior or exterior). Some of the object will be above eye level and some will be below eye level. This is the key difference between the Archi-Board and the 3D board. Setting up the page and the use of the instruments is the same for both of the boards (please refer to above information).
The first thing to do is to draw a horizontal line right across the page with the tracking rule in a curved slot. The alignment dots on the opposite slot will help you create the horizontal line.
You have now drawn an important line across the page called eye level. Anything above this line the viewer looks up to (eg: roof, ceiling, tops of door frames). Anything drawn below this line the viewer looks down on (eg: floor, garden bed). The line itself is just a guide and will not feature in your final drawing.
For an exterior view of a building begin with a box. Follow the instructions on the left (top to bottom). For an interior follow the instructions on the right: (the rectangle indicates the slot to use and the bold line indicates which line to draw)
To draw circular objects using the archi-board, use the special ellipse template so that the edge with the narrowest ellipses lines up with the eye level.
Adding people can make your drawings look more realistic and give a sense of scale. The trick is to make sure their eye is positioned on eye level. You can print this page out and trace the outline of one of the pictures below (or from a book or magazine). The larger the image the closer the person will appear to be.
Click here for more about drawing to scale using the 3D board and Archi-Board.