Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #36: Perspective

 

Welcome to Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #36! I don't know about you, but with this cooler fall weather (at least here in the Great Lakes region), I am fired up to get my oven fired up to bake some cookies! And since it is also back-to-school season, I am ready to learn a new thing or two!

As many of you know, I spent some time in Europe this summer, and as one does in Europe, I did more than my fair share of visiting churches and art galleries, and coastlines and hillsides. It was all very beautiful and inspiring and definitely "cookiefiable"! The idea for this challenge really struck me as I stood across the Seine gazing at the post-fire skeleton of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. I looked at it from nearly every angle, walking in a 180-degree arc, and taking pictures at various points. Essentially, as I changed positions, my view or "perspective" changed, and the cathedral, which obviously hadn't changed at all in the five minutes it took me to walk from one point to the other, looked completely different.

Notre Dame Collage

After I came home from my vacation, I looked through my photos and started to notice the perspective in all of them . . .

France Perspective Collage 2

So with all of these photos as inspiration, I got to thinking about how we could incorporate more perspective into our cookie art. And by perspective, I don't just mean the technical kind used to create architectural drawings (although I will definitely discuss this), I mean perspective in all of its forms, for it is perspective that gives life to any two-dimensional art, even cookies! So, in short, for this challenge, I want you to learn a little bit about perspective and create some cookies that spring to life and break free of their flat 2-D existence!

Before we get to the details of this challenge, let's talk about a little incentive to join in the challenge fun. That's right, we are talking about a prize! One lucky entrant will be chosen completely at random from among all of the challenge entrants to receive a grab bag of goodies (estimated value $100-plus USD) donated by Cookie Connection host @Julia M. Usher. Remember, the more times you enter the challenge, the greater your chance to win! (And, pssst, the grand reveal of the prize will come when I post the recap, but Julia assures me it will indeed be grand.)

With thoughts of that mystery prize swirling through your heads, let's get to the details and rules for this challenge!

What is "perspective"?

Simply put, perspective is a point of view. It is what a person sees when positioned on a certain point in a certain space and time. When we talk about perspective in art and architecture, what we are really talking about is using various techniques to almost fool the eye into thinking that something that is only two-dimensional has depth or three dimensions. 

The Encyclopedia Britannica defines perspective as the "method of graphically depicting three-dimensional objects and spatial relationships on a two-dimensional plane or on a plane that is shallower than the original (for example, in flat relief)."

Broadly speaking, and for our purposes here, there are two major categories of perspective: linear perspective and aerial perspective.

Linear perspective is probably what comes to mind when most people think of perspective. It is most often used by architects, engineers, and designers, furnishing an opportunity to view a 3-D building or an object before it is made. In linear perspective, the size or scale of an object diminishes as the distance from the viewer increases, because in real life, the further away an object is, the smaller it will appear to us, and the closer an object is, the larger it will appear. The point where far away objects meet the horizon is called the vanishing point.

Bayeux Cathedral Van Pt

Notice how all of the lines in the photo above (on the street, the buildings, the windows, everything) converge on that vanishing point? This is called single-point perspective.

Following are a couple of examples of cookies that utilize single-point linear perspective. Can you spot the vanishing points?

Skate City Throwback by Sweet Gypsy9B828D1D-687E-40DC-B83E-E2285CBD007C

Gondola Ride Under Carnival Moon by Bakerloo StationGondola Ride under Carnival Moon | Bakerloo Station

Things can get a lot more complicated with linear perspective if you use multiple vanishing points. If you want to learn more about two-point and three-point perspective, there is tons of great free material easily accessible by Google search. Personally, I can recommend these online articles, which include great illustrations, and also provide excellent background on all forms of linear perspective:

Aerial perspective (also known as "atmospheric perspective") is different than linear perspective in that, instead of relying primarily on mathematics and straight lines, aerial perspective conveys dimension and depth through gradual changes of object size, the sharpness/clarity of images, and variations in color, without utilizing a mathematical vanishing point. Put simply, in aerial perspective, things that are closer to the viewer will be bigger, clearer, and more colorful than things that are further away from the viewer. For example:

Grand Canyon Perspective

In the photo above, notice that the trees and evergreens in the foreground where I was standing with my camera look quite large and clear, but the people on the stone outcropping in the middle of the photo are quite small relative to the trees in the foreground, and you cannot make out any details like facial expressions or clothing colors. Finally, when you look toward the canyon in the background of the photo, you cannot make out the outlines of any people or vegetation. You only see the general hazy colors of the distant rock layers that comprise the canyon itself, which ultimately fade to a hazy gray-blue where the canyon touches the sky on the horizon.

And here are a couple of examples of aerial perspective in cookies . . .

Icy Woods by Cookies by jossIMG_20190630_201456_596

In this landscape by @Cookies by joss, the objects that are supposed to be closest to the viewer are larger and clearer, and the things that are supposed to be further away are the smallest and hazy blue-colored.

Why So High, Dragonfly?! by Kim Damondf 018

I love how, in this cookie by @Kim Damon, the thing that in reality is the smallest of the three objects (the dragonfly) is the largest object on the cookie because it is closest to the viewer, whereas the largest thing in reality (the landscape) is the smallest and least clearly defined, because it is meant to seem furthest from the viewer.

For an excellent discussion of aerial perspective, I encourage you to check out the section titled "Introduction to Atmospheric Perspective" from the article by Sara Barnes noted above in our discussion of linear perspective ("Learn the Basics of Perspective to Create Drawings that Pop Off the Page"). Another short, but clear description of aerial perspective, with illustrations, can be found in the Encyclopedia Britannica.

A Few Tips and Tricks for Creating Cookie Art with Perspective
  • Sketching your cookie plan first will help you check and adjust lines and proportions.
  • If you are trying your hand at linear perspective, it may be helpful to photograph your subject and literally trace the perspective lines. (I actually did this in my "Gondola Ride" cookie example above. I took a photo of a canal street in Burano, Venice and then traced the perspective lines of the sidewalks and buildings before drawing in the rest of the details. Then I projected my own artistic rendering of the canal onto my cookies - it's not one cookie but a cookie puzzle - with a pico projector!)
  • If you are working with aerial perspective, it helps to layer your details, starting with the background (most distant objects) first and finishing with the foreground (closest objects).
  • Generally speaking, make sure your colors change from lighter and "fuzzier" to darker and clearer as you go from background to foreground.
  • Generally speaking, objects should change from smaller to larger as you go from background to foreground.

[AUTHOR'S NOTE: As always, if you find additional tutorials, tips, or other information that may be useful to those of us trying to learn perspective techniques, please share them in the comments under this post. Likewise, thoughtful discussions of your own "fails" are extremely helpful to others - please do not be shy about sharing! Share. ALL. The. Knowledge.]

Now that you have some sense of perspective, let's get to the rules for this challenge!

Rules: PLEASE READ THEM CAREFULLY. Nothing makes me sadder than having to disqualify a fabulous set of cookies because someone failed to read ALL of the rules!

1. Create a cookie or set of cookies that has linear or aerial perspective.

2. You may NOT make a 3-D cookie structure to create dimension. The goal of this challenge is to create a sense of depth on a 2-D, flat cookie surface. However, you may use piped royal icing details, fondant, edible lace, royal icing transfers, sprinkles, and other materials on top of your flat cookie base.

3. You may stack two flat cookies, as in the "Skate City" example above. BUT, you may NOT stack more than two flat cookie layers. Why? Because if you stack more than two layers of cookies, you are really starting to get into 3-D structure territory, and, again, that is not the point of the challenge. The point of the challenge is to learn how to create the illusion of depth on a 2-D surface. In short, if you stack cookies at all, do so sparingly!

4. Your design must be completely original, and not a copy of any other artist's design. (In my eyes, the more original the entry, the better! And, remember, no copyrighted designs may be used without written permission.)

5. As always, we ask that you make a brand new cookie project for this challenge.

6. Think outside the box, inside the box, and BE THE BOX. In other words, immerse yourself in this challenge by taking some healthy risks, and HAVE SOME FUN.

To enter:
  • Please post an image of your cookie(s) to the site under the Practice Bakes Perfect clip set no later than October 21, 2019 at 5 pm central. (Note: October 21 is a Monday, not our usual Sunday closing time.)
  • Because these challenges are ongoing, we ask that you put "Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #36" in your photo caption AND in a tag, so that we can tell the challenges apart from month to month. Please use the main title field to uniquely name your cookies as you normally would.
  • Please also assign other relevant clip sets and tags to your images, as you normally would. (Meaning don't just use the Practice Bakes Perfect clip set and leave it at that, or your photos won't easily be found with keyword searches.)
  • You can enter more than once, but please post only one clip of each distinct entry. Multiple clips of the same entry are not allowed unless added in a comment beneath the one primary clip.

After the challenge has closed on October 21, we will announce the winner in the Saturday Spotlight on the following weekend (October 26, 2019). The next challenge will be announced about a week after that Spotlight.

And one last thing . . . This is NOT meant to be a competition. The only person you should be competing against is yourself. Period. These challenges are intended to inspire the artist in you and push you to be the best cookie artist YOU can be at this snapshot in time. Remember, the whole point of this exercise is to get you out of your comfort zone - to "take healthy risks," as my wise-beyond-his-years son always reminds me. Plus, prizes are given entirely at random, so healthy risk-taking has its own rewards!

I would love to chat with you as you journey through this process, so if you have any questions about the challenge, are having trouble getting started, need help bringing an idea to life, or want technical advice, please leave a comment below or send me a Cookie Connection private message.

Christine Donnelly began her professional baking career at 16, when she was hired on the spot at her local bakery to work the counter and decorate cakes. After detours to college and law school, she worked as a trial lawyer in Chicago for many years, ultimately leaving that career to become a stay-at-home mother to her two children. In her “retirement,” she continued to bake at home, at last finding her preferred artistic medium in decorated cookies. In February 2013, Bakerloo Station was born with a presence on both Facebook and Instagram. Christine makes cookies to balance her left brain, to inspire and share creative ideas, and to feed those needs that only art can satisfy.

Photo credit: Christine Donnelly

Note: Practice Bakes Perfect is a bimonthly Cookie Connection blog feature written by Christine Donnelly that poses inspiration or challenges to get you to stretch as a cookie artist - for practice, for prizes, and for fun! Its content expresses the views of the author and not necessarily those of this site, its owners, its administrators, or its employees. Catch up on all of Christine's past Cookie Connection posts here.

Attachments

Photos (9)

Add Comment

Comments (16)

Newest · Oldest · Popular

Hi! Great challenge, as always! I was wondering if flat layered cookies were allowed? Like the disco ball in the skating rink example, or a cookie to which two other smaller cookie layers are attached  to constitute the foreground and middle ground of the picture? Thanks!

Uih, that sounds like another great challenge. This is really special and can't wait to see the entries!

Right now I have no idea for this, but if something comes to my mind, I will make sure to keep an eye on the deadline, haha!

My mind is reeling with images now! I can't wait to dive in! Thanks for the great challange and for sharing my little boy with dragon fly cookie! He came out of the PBP challange for doing bodies, years ago (if I'm not mistaken) which brings to mind a great point. These challenges are the reason I stayed with cookieing. I have done many art and crafty things, but these challenges have helped me to continually be excited to try new things and grow. Thank you so so so much for always raising the bar and coming up with new ways to spark creativity @Bakerloo Station Christine and @Julia M. Usher!

Oh, we’ll have to go to Europe to get inspired!!😂😂😂

Wow, this is a grand Challenge! Thank you so much Christine, Julia and all who are involved in putting this amazing challenge out!👏👏 My head is spinning around already!🥰

Annelise (Le bois meslé) posted:

Hi! Great challenge, as always! I was wondering if flat layered cookies were allowed? Like the disco ball in the skating rink example, or a cookie to which two other smaller cookie layers are attached  to constitute the foreground and middle ground of the picture? Thanks!

Yes, you may stack two flat cookies, like in the Skate City example. BUT, you may NOT stack more than two flat cookie layers. This is because if you stack more than two layers of cookies, you are really starting to get into 3-D structure territory, and that is not really the point of the challenge. The point of the challenge is to learn how to create the illusion of depth on a 2-D surface. In short, if you do it at all, stack cookies sparingly!

Kim Damon posted:

My mind is reeling with images now! I can't wait to dive in! Thanks for the great challange and for sharing my little boy with dragon fly cookie! He came out of the PBP challange for doing bodies, years ago (if I'm not mistaken) which brings to mind a great point. These challenges are the reason I stayed with cookieing. I have done many art and crafty things, but these challenges have helped me to continually be excited to try new things and grow. Thank you so so so much for always raising the bar and coming up with new ways to spark creativity @Bakerloo Station Christine and @Julia M. Usher!

Aw, thanks so much, Kim. Keep on cookieing! xoxox

Bakerloo Station posted:
Kim Damon posted:

My mind is reeling with images now! I can't wait to dive in! Thanks for the great challange and for sharing my little boy with dragon fly cookie! He came out of the PBP challange for doing bodies, years ago (if I'm not mistaken) which brings to mind a great point. These challenges are the reason I stayed with cookieing. I have done many art and crafty things, but these challenges have helped me to continually be excited to try new things and grow. Thank you so so so much for always raising the bar and coming up with new ways to spark creativity @Bakerloo Station Christine and @Julia M. Usher!

Aw, thanks so much, Kim. Keep on cookieing! xoxox

Thanks, Kim! And thank YOU for being such an eager participant - your energy is what fuels ours! 

So cool!!!  @Bakerloo Station
Great challenge!! but do I understand this correctly, the cookie must be mainly painted, but the foreground may have a fondant or RI figure (like the dragonfly by Kim Damon, for example)? Only structures are not allowed ??? Thanks!
I am looking forward to seeing the results and hope there will be a lot !!!

Icingsugarkeks posted:

So cool!!!  @Bakerloo Station
Great challenge!! but do I understand this correctly, the cookie must be mainly painted, but the foreground may have a fondant or RI figure (like the dragonfly by Kim Damon, for example)? Only structures are not allowed ??? Thanks!
I am looking forward to seeing the results and hope there will be a lot !!!

Good question. @Bakerloo Station will be in touch soon, I expect.

Icingsugarkeks posted:

So cool!!!  @Bakerloo Station
Great challenge!! but do I understand this correctly, the cookie must be mainly painted, but the foreground may have a fondant or RI figure (like the dragonfly by Kim Damon, for example)? Only structures are not allowed ??? Thanks!
I am looking forward to seeing the results and hope there will be a lot !!!

Great question! No, the cookie does not have to be mainly painted. For instance, the "Gondola Ride" example cookie was made with almost all colored royal icing and only tiny details were painted.

** RULES CLARIFICATION **

Hi, all! Please note the two following rules clarifications/additions to the main post. They were added by @Bakerloo Station to answer (in one visible place) the recent questions raised in the comments here.

The underlined areas are what's been added:

2. You may NOT make a 3-D cookie structure to create dimension. The goal of this challenge is to create a sense of depth on a 2-D, flat cookie surface. However, you may use piped royal icing details, fondant, edible lace, royal icing transfers, sprinkles, and other materials on top of your flat cookie base.

3. You may stack two flat cookies, as in the "Skate City" example above. BUT, you may NOT stack more than two flat cookie layers. Why? Because if you stack more than two layers of cookies, you are really starting to get into 3-D structure territory, and, again, that is not the point of the challenge. The point of the challenge is to learn how to create the illusion of depth on a 2-D surface. In short, if you stack cookies at all, do so sparingly!

THANK YOU!

Post
×
×
×
×