isometric drawing

theory topics


On this page are the steps for you to learn about and complete Isometric drawings.

  1. Model Answer
  2. What is an Isometric drawing?
  3. Some techniques for sucessful Isometric drawing

Back to top


1 Model answer


Here is an example of a drawing enhanced in Adobe Illustrator, from a Year 12 student.


isometric drawing


Here is a visualisation drawing of a complex children's playground by Year 12 student, K Roberts, 2010.



Back to top



2 What is isometric drawing?


An isometric projection belongs in the group of drawing methods called 'axonimetric' drawings. It is also called a 'paraline' drawing because it uses three groups of parallel lines to construct it. Isometric drawings are set at 30 degrees to the horizontal and use a 30/60 degree set square.


watch this video of lego blocks in isometric


Watch as I complete an simple Isometric projection of a couple of Lego bricks. (This video also contains instructions on rendering).



Back to top


A convenient projection


Isometric drawing is a projection. This means that the planes of an object are projected onto three sloping planes. The best thing about Isometric drawing is that each plane is in the same angle relative to the 'picture plane'. What does that mean for us?


This means that because each view has the same amount of distorsion (actually 'shear'), we can measure the length, width and height of things using real measurements. We can set up our drawing using the same measurements we used for a 3rd Angle Orthogonol drawing.


Being able to set out a drawing with real measurements is fantastic for students and designers, because when we want to test our ideas for product designs, to see how they would look if constructed, we can do it with certainty that the view is realistic.


Back to top


3 Some techniques for sucessful Isometric drawing



orthogonal and isometric


The best way to do great isometric drawings is to understand the object you want to draw really well. To do complex isometric drawings you have to do a full 3rd Angle orthogonal drawing to establish the sizes of each component. See below for some Year 11 work showing a Mini in both 3rd Angle orthogonal and isometric projections.


drawing accurately


Make a full 3rd Angle orthogonal to understand your object well.
Then you can crate and draw your isometric view accurately.


Back to top


Sketching on an Isometric grid


Click here to download your A3 Isometric grid.


using a grid to get started


Download an A3 Isometric grid with the link above to get started with isometric sketching.


Back to top




I found this great exercise in a text book called 'Design Graphics' by Fair and Kenny. It demonstrates clearly how we need to begin with a 'crate' for an object first. The best way to understand the term crate is to think of it as a box you would get a toy in. This means the crate will be exactly the length, width and height of the object inside it.


try this at home


Start with your 'crate'. Measure off the slop of the front and back on the sides. Then plot the points you need. An extension of this task is to try to make the little car taper on the width as well as the length. Can you do it?
Here is the cover of this great little text book.


drawing all the lines


Consider the following drawing. The crate is show in blue and the finised drawing is shown in red. When you are drawing your crate, make sure you draw all the lines, even the ones at the back you think you won't need. These are needed as you will need to measure from hidden points to calculate the position of features of the object.


Crate fully


The crate is shown in blue. Note, I have drawn the back lines of the crate bottom.
The final drawing is shown within the initial crate.


Back to top


circles in isometric - elipses


Adding wheels


Every car needs wheels. Read on below to find out how to contstruct them in isometric.


Circles appear as elipses in isometric projections. An elipse is a kind of oval. We have to draw them with the correct proportions between the long and short axis (length and width) and align them at the correct angle from the horizontal in our drawings.


Making wheels from isometric elipses


The first thing is to note how a circle sits within a square in the undistorted view. The circle touches the square in 4 places. Then note where it crosses the main diagonal lines. (Shown in red). We have to replicate this position in the isometric view.
To begin making a wheel, draw a square in isometric view.
Then note the places where you elipse will touch the square, or cut the main diagonal lines.
Join the points with one flowing curved line to make the elipse.
To turn it into a wheel, project back and create another square behind the first.
Complete the square with all elipse construction lines and the elipse.
Heavy in the lines you neeed.
To make details draw more squares and construction lines.
Heavy in or trace your work to finish the wheel.
Note here, how the wheel sits within the original crate of your isometric drawing.


Back to top