Reference Materials

I get some questions about what resources I’ve used to learn about technical drawing and background on gothic design, so I’ve compiled a list below of some of the primary references that I use. I have a lot more than what I’ve listed here, but these are the main ones, so far.

Technical Resources

Framed Perspective Volume 1 and 2 by Marcos Mateu-Mestre (2016).

These books have been indispensable for me – most everything I’ve learned about perspective drawing and drawing shadows in perspective has come from these books.

Architectural Shades and Shadows by Henry McGoodwin (1904).

I found this on (it is public domain) and it has been extremely useful for drawing shadows on elevation drawings, which helps to provide depth to what is actually a 2D representation. It can be a bit hard to follow at times, but the exercises are well worth completing and understanding.

The Complete Guide to Perspective Drawing by Craig Attebery (2018).

I came upon this book when I was starting to plan my first three-point perspective drawing (seen here). I like this book because it starts everything from first principles and builds your knowledge from the ground up if you are patient enough to stick with it. This book is packed full of information and can be intimidating, but I consider it to be an essential if you are planning to get into perspective drawing. It covers everything from one-point perspective up to six(!!)-point perspective.

Ruler and Compass: Practical Geometric Constructions by Andrew Sutton (2009).

This is a great resource for drawing regular polygons using only a ruler and compass. I wanted to use drawing methods that were similar to what gothic designers would have used and I didn’t want to “eyeball” anything. This book has been really helpful.

Gothic Design Insights

Gothic Cathedrals and Sacred Geometry Volume 1 and 2 by George Lesser (1957).

I first read these at the Toronto Reference Library, but then I was lucky enough to find used copies from a used bookstore in England via Abe Books. The first volume contains text and the second volume contains the illustrations referred to in volume 1. He takes specific examples of gothic constructions and does geometric analyses on the plans to back out the probable design scheme.

The Geometry of Creation: Architectural Drawing and the Dynamics of Gothic Design by Robert Bork (2011).

This is similar in scope to the George Lesser book above, but the analysis is done with the help of computers and is quite a lot more detailed.

Sacred Geometry: Philosophy & Practice by Robert Lawlor (1982).

As suggested by the title, this book mixes the history of sacred geometry and the meanings behind the design with practical examples of construction. Definitely worth the read.

Gothic Architecture, Improved by Rules and Proportions in many Grand Designs by B. & T. Langley (1742).

This is another great resource I found on This shows scaled plan, elevation and profile views of many features of gothic architecture such as columns, windows, arcades, doors, chimneys, etc. I used one of the arcades in a shadow study I did that is shown on my Geometry Studies page.

Details of Gothic Architecture, Volume 1 and 2 by James K. Colling (1890).

Another find that contains scaled drawings of gothic design pieces. Some of these show the construction details and compass lines, though are not described in text so it is up to you to do the work to figure it out (a good thing).