This glossary is designed to give the user the meaning of words/terms in context to the content of this site. All effect has been made to keep this glossary in line with generally accepted understanding of a words meaning.

From time to time new words/terms will be added to this glossary as the content of this site expands into different contexts on the subject of art.

Pencil Drawing Glossary

Base Layer

The base layer is first layer of graphite applied to the paper. The base layer usually sets tonal range of the subsequent layers.


Blending refers to the technique of gradually applied the second layer of the graphite mix to create a gentle escalation of tone.


Crosshatching is created by applying a second or more layer of hatching at a different angle to the others below. For example at 30, 60 and 90 degrees.

Grades of Graphite

The grades of graphite range from hard (H) to soft (B). Preceding the H or B is a number. The higher the number harder or softer is the graphite.


Graining occurs when the mix of graphite produce unexpected or unwanted effects.


Hatching is a series of patterned or regular parallel line used to fill in an area.


Layering a technique of applying a mix of graphite one on top of the other to create a required effect. The effects are a 'mask' (Soft on Hard), Smoothing (Hard on Soft) and toning (A mix of adjoining grades).


The mix of graphite refers to the selected grades of graphite use in layering, crosshatching and smoothing.


The point or drawing tip of the graphite can be sharp, rounded or flat. Each in turn will pick up more of the grain.


Shading refers to the process of producing the required tonal value (between light and dark) of any given area. The process applies to a number of techniques. Namely, Hatching, Smoothing, and Blending.


Smoothing is a technique used to soften bold or irregular textures. This is achieved by blending a harder grade on a softer of graphite.


There are two types of textures. One is irregular textures are usually bold and is determined by grain of the paper. The second is more regular and are created by hatching and other techniques


Unlike shading, Toning refers to the process of producing the required tonal value (between light and dark) of an area that has a gentle escalation of light. The process is primarily created by the technique of layering.

Perspectives & Axonometric Projections Glossary


Unlike perspectives, axonometric projections do not have vanishing points. All lines on a common axis are drawn parallel and at a given angle. The angle of axis x & y are determined by the type of projection, Isometric, Dimetric or Trimetric.

Bird's Eye View

Bird's eye view is referred to a perspective as seem from a bird. Namely, a perspective of an object as seem from above.


This is usually an 'Architectural' drawing of a side or face of an object or building. For example: 'North Elevation of Block B'. It is drawn to scale so that the elements and details can be measured.


An exploded axonometric projection is normally a drawing showing the separate components to an assembly. It is draw as axonometric projection and the different elements are drawn offset from the assembly so that it can be identified. Quite often the elements are labeled and indexed.

Focal Point

The focal point is at the intersection of the 'picture plane' and 'line of vision'.


In all perspectives the horizon is always at eye level and is generally on the level. To create an effect of an object being seen from a banking aircraft the horizon is titled to one side. The vanishing points to the x & y-axis are always positioned on the horizon, or at eye level.

Line of Vision

The line of vision is a straight line from the viewing point (or the eye) to the focal point. It determines the distance the viewing point is from the object, and particularly in 3-point perspectives the pitch of the line of vision. (Looking up or down)

Picture Plane

Picture Plane is a line through, in front of or behind the object that is been drawn and is perpendicular to the 'Line of Vision'. It is on this line where the dimensions of the perspective are determined by the intersecting 'Projection Lines'.



Plan is a 'floor plan' of the object been drawn and is drawn to scale so that the elements and details can be measured.

Projection Lines

Projection lines are fundamentally construction lines used to plot the proportions of the perspective. Their roll is vital and great care must be taken to keep them crisp and accurate.

Vanishing Point

Vanishing points (VP's) are the kingpin of a perspective. Their locations are unique to the setup of that perspective. There are 3 types of VP's, one per axis (x-y-z). The x & y axis' are positioned on the horizon, and axis is either above or below the object. However, each axis could have several VP's depending on the shape of the object being drawn

Worm's Eye View

Worm's eye view is referred to a perspective as seem from a 'worm in the ground'. Namely, a perspective of an object as viewed from below.

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