It basically means a sketch where you take some drawing material and make it into “objects”. The more “objects” that are involved in a sketch, the more difficult the task.
In “a realistic” isometric piece of art (which would be a traditional 2D hand drawn piece that has lines drawn on it), you could not go on for hours, and you could not go on until all the lines are drawn and you could not go on a lot of them at once. There would be very limited room for error. Now in 2D the line drawing is much easier and can be easily done in a couple of hours or even some days depending on what you are drawing at that point. In the isometric world, this is something you cannot do with much patience.
The “objects” are also different in isometric sketches. The sketches often have “windows” (if it were in a real 2D drawing) and are either large or a little bit larger than what you could fit in the sketch. In “realistic” isometric drawings, you could not use or make a big window, unless the drawing was more to illustrate a subject rather than to have a more artistic expression.
Now you may ask, why then do you draw something when you have the capability to do it in isometric sketch? Well, to illustrate a subject in a isometric drawing, one would not have the ability to scale an object to the drawings size from one piece. It would only be used in the example to draw the size of the object. The result is often much better than the drawing would be when scaled to a real size, with lots of detail.
Another feature that is often used in isometric drawing is something that is actually very common in “realistic” painting. I will describe this in more detail later.
But What’s All This About “Point of View” and Perspective?
I guess the real question is, when drawing in can I make you feel like what you are looking at is really there in the real situation. And, what do I have to do to make it look real?
For the isometric sketching, I try to make all the objects look real. I try not to make them appear small or big because that often leads to feeling that the object is too big. If you look close enough you can usually figure out how big an object is by thinking of how big it would be if the distance is the same.
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