Draw a cube: 3 different ways and perspectives

Today we will learn how to draw a cube. We use 3 common ways to draw the three dimensional cube on the flat paper – simple 3D view and 1 and 2 point perspective.

Here are the three ways we will learn to draw a cube:

Cube in a simple 3D view

The first cube is drawn in a simple view. This is an easy way to suggest a space and draw a three dimensional shape on a flat paper.

Although a bit harder to draw, a 1 point perspective looks more realistic – like a real object in space.

Cube in a 1 point perspective
Cube in a 2 point perspective

A cube in 2 point perspective is a very dynamic and exaggerated view, which really makes the flat drawing pop out to the third dimension.

draw a cube in simple 3D view

Simple 3D view thumbnail

Our first cube is drawn in a simple view. This is an easy way to suggest depth and draw a three-dimensional shape on a flat paper. Let’s get into it!

Step 1 – Draw a square

Step 1 - Square

Start drawing a cube with a simple flat square. This will be the front side of your cube.

In this tutorial you will surely get some good practice drawing straight lines. Make all the sides of the square the same length, and try to keep the right angles as straight as you can!

Step 2 – Add the side edges

Step 2 - Add the side edges

Add three lines, one in each of the top and right hand corners. Make all the lines the same length again.

You can play with the angle at which you draw the lines. We have drawn the lines at a roughly 45-degree angle here. That gives us the most typical view of the cube, where you can see both the top and right side.

But turn the side lines more up, or to the side (flat) – and you will get very different views of the cube. Just make sure that all lines are the same length and at the same angle.

Step 3 – Draw the rear edges to finish the cube

Step 3 - The rear edges

Complete the cube by adding the last two edges. These are, again, the same length as our original square. One runs vertical (left to right), and one horizontal (top to bottom).

Explore: Draw a cube from different angles

Cube in a simple 3d view

Now that you know how to draw a cube in the basic view, try playing with different angles and views.

Here is the complete cube you have just drawn. Since we have extended the angled lines up and to the right, you can see the top and right hand sides of the cube.

But if you choose to extend the angled lines up and to the left, you flip the cube so that you see the top and left hand sides of the cube.

Notice that the bottom side line is now coming out from the other side of the cube as well.

You can also draw the sides pointing down, and get a view in which we see the cube from the bottom up.

Draw a cube in 1 point perspective

Cube in 1 point perspective thumbnail

A slightly more advanced way to draw a cube is with 1 point perspective. The resulting cube is very similar to the simple way we have used above, just slightly more squished. Although a bit harder to draw, the result looks more realistic – like a real object in space. That is what perspective does – it is a way to show space on the flat paper. Let’s get drawing!

Step 1 – Draw a square and the vanishing point

Step 1 - A square and the vanishing point

Start as before with the front square face of our cube.

Next, mark the point into which our perspective will merge. This is called the vanishing point. Here we have put it in the top right corner, that way we will get a view which is similar to the one we have drawn above.

Once you have drawn a cube the way we have shown here, play with the placement of your vanishing point. Moving it further down or to the left will give you a very different view of the cube.

Step 2 – Draw the perspective guidelines

Step 2 - Perspective guidelines

Next, draw the perspective guidelines. They all start at the top and right corners of our front face square, and merge into the vanishing point. (It is called the vanishing point because objects get smaller the closer they get to the point. At the vanishing point objects would be so small that they vanished.)

You can use a ruler to draw your lines like we did, if you have one on hand. It makes the job a bit easier.

Also, draw the lines just lightly – they are there only for guidance and we will erase them later.

Step 3 – Draw the far edges of the cube

Step 3 - The far edges

With the guidelines in place, draw the far edges of the cube.

Both edges start and end at the perspective guidelines. First, draw the top far edge – parallel to (in the same direction as) the horizontal top line of the front cube face.

Then draw the vertical (top-down) far edge – again, it follows the direction of the top-down side of the front face.

Yeah, here are some fancy words you have just learned:
“Parallel” lines are two lines going in the same direction.
A “vertical” line is a line going from top down.
A “horizontal” line is a line going from left to right, same as the “horizon”. And “horizon” is the line where the earth meets the sky, if you look far into distance – the line that goes flat left to right.

Step 4 – Draw the side edges to complete the cube

Step 4 - The side edges

After a short linguistic detour, we’re back to drawing a cube.

This is an easy step – just outline the perspective guidelines between the front and rear face of our cube to complete the drawing.

Step 5 – Erase the guidelines to show the cube

Complete cube in a one point perspective

The final step is to erase the vanishing point and the guidelines you drew before.

As you can see, the resulting cube drawing is very similar to the simple way we have used above, just slightly more squished. But that is what makes it look more realistic, like a real cube in space, although it is drawn on a flat paper.

Draw a cube in 2 point perspective

Two point perspective thumbnail

The third way to draw a cube is with 2 point perspective. It uses similar guidelines to the 1 point perspective above, but these merge into two different vanishing points. The result is a very dynamic and exaggerated view of the cube that really pops out from the flat drawing to the third dimension.

Step 1 – Draw the two vanishing points

Step 1 - Draw the two vanishing points

We start simple by marking the two vanishing points.

Draw a horizontal line near the top of your sheet of paper. Then mark two points on the line near the edges, as far as possible from one another. There!

Now, as usual, this is your drawing, and you can place the line and points wherever you like. Where we have placed them for now will make the explanation easier, since all the guidelines will be nicely visible, so for this drawing please follow along.

The closer together you put the points, the more squished and less natural will the cube look, so marking the points as far apart as possible looks better.

Placing the line up, down or in the middle of the paper will give you different views of the cube – top, bottom or a level view. So once you have drawn this cube, go and experiment with your own point placement!

Step 2 – Draw the front edge of the cube

Step 2 - The front edge

Another simple step: Draw a straight vertical line – this will be the front edge of the cube. Place the line in the middle of the paper, with a gap from the horizontal guideline.

If you place the line more to the left, you will see more of the right side of the cube. Draw the line to the right to see more of the left side. Put the line further up, and you will see less of the top of the cube. And if you draw the line across the horizontal guideline, and you will see neither top nor bottom of the cube. See how it works? Try it out once we are done here!

But to follow along with this drawing, place the cube edge in the centre with a gap from the horizon.

Step 3 – Draw the perspective guidelines

Step 3 - Draw the perspective guidelines

Now lightly draw four guidelines. Two from the top end of our cube edge, each connected to one of the vanishing points.

Then two more from the bottom of the edge, again going back to the vanishing points. Draw these straight lines with a ruler, if you have one handy.

Step 4 – Draw the outer edges of the cube

Step 4 - The outer edges

Next draw two parallel vertical lines, one on each side of the first front edge. These are the left and right edges of the cube in two point perspective.

Step 5 – Draw the perspective guidelines from the outer edges

Step 5 - The perspective guidelines from the outer edges

Now that we have the vertical edges of our cube, draw two more perspective guidelines.

These again start at the top end of our vertical cube edge. The one from the right edge goes to the left perspective point. The one from left edge goes to the right. That way the lines are crossing marks out the top side of the cube.

It is much easier to see it on the picture that to explain it in words.

Step 6 – Draw a cube from the guidelines

Step 6 - Draw a cube from the guidelines

In this step, we just outline the correct parts of our guidelines to complete the cube drawing.

First outline the bottom edge between the vertical lines. Then outline the top side of the cube – four edges marked out by the perspective guidelines.

Step 7 – Erase the guidelines and add a horizon

Cube in a two point perspective

This is the final step. Erase all the guidelines to clean up your drawing. We have also added a horizontal line “behind” our cube – that suggests that the cube is laying on a table or some other surface.

That is all – now you can draw a cube in 2 point perspective. As you can see, the result is very dynamic and expressive.

If you want the bottom corner to stick out less, and get a bit more of a natural view, just draw the center cube edge (the very first vertical thick line) further up and closer to the horizon. Remember all the options for starting your drawing from the step 2?

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