Ovals & Ellipses
Ellipses have no straight sides. Their
Ovals have straight sides and are made by connecting two circles.
perimeters are constantly curved according to
a mathematical formula.
Ellipses are circles drawn in perspective.
Think of a model rail road track with straight-aways or an oval above ground swimming pool.
What we know…
Cups, plates, saucers, glasses, and many other
forms are circles.
What we see …
As we change our
point of view, how
we see the circle
changes to ellipses
of different widths.
Here is a lamp shade
viewed from above,
on, and below the
•Observe the shapes of the
negative spaces surrounding the
ellipses. This can help you with
the correct curves and angles.
•Avoid the tendency to make a
straight line across the bottoms of
vases, cups and glasses.
•Keep the curve all the way
around the ellipse, avoiding
•Ellipses have no straight edges.
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Minor & Major axes
An ellipse has two axes we need to know about, the minor axis and the major
axis. The minor axis divides the ellipse into two equal halves across its
narrow dimension. The major axis divides the ellipse across its long
dimension into two equal halves. The minor and major axes cross each other
at a 90 degree angle.
90 degree angle
Divide a receding plane
Dividing a flat plane will give you equal sized
sections. Use this method to place evenly spaced
Note how the ellipse recedes toward the vanishing