Top Tips for Drawing City Landscapes Landscape paintings have caught the eye of many artists over the years. The awe-inspiring towering skylines even make some cityscapes, like New York and Shanghai, iconic. With all their complexity, it takes a mathematical approach and precise line work to produce a good cityscape drawing. To help you on your way, here are our top 10 tips for creating your own city skyline artwork. Choose the right materialDrawing cityscapes requires precision and detail, so choose materials that allow you to create clean lines. Some of the tools and materials you might want to try include point-to-point markers, ballpoint pens, technical pens, dipper pens, hard-tipped pencils, and watercolor pencils to add color to your masterpiece. Understanding Perspective There are three main types of perspective, and understanding them is important for drawing cityscapes. Perspective allows you to create three-dimensional shapes and scenes on two-dimensional surfaces. Learning how to draw perspective is an intensive topic, but we’ve outlined the 3 main categories below to get you started. In this type of linear perspective, the subject converges to a single ‘disappearance point’ on the horizon. This is often used when you are looking at the front of a building or at something disappearing in the distance (like a street or road). Two-point perspective In two-point perspective, two vanishing points are established on the horizon line. Parallel lines run along the width and depth of the subject and meet at two separate points on the horizon. In the context of drawing cityscapes, this method is used when looking at the corner of a building. Three-point perspective Three-point perspective is similar to two-point but it has three vanishing points: two along the horizon and a third above or below the horizon. In cityscape drawing, this is used when you are looking up or down, from the corner of a building. Drawn from life or a photoTo create a realistic drawing of a cityscape, pay attention to the details of the scene. If possible, take your pencils and notebooks outside and draw what you see on the street or find a spot that overlooks the city. For those who don’t live near a city or who want to paint one of the iconic cityscapes in another country, print out a high-resolution photo to use as a reference. survey. Pencil planningPlan your drawing with your pencil in advance so you can fine-tune your composition and details before you make a permanent mark with your pen. This will help you refine your drawing so you can identify any areas that need improvement. The last thing you want with a detailed piece of art like this is to go halfway and make a mark you regret. Don’t Rely on Rulers While attractive, don’t rely on rulers too much. Too many straight lines will make your work lifeless, so try to draw as hands-free as possible. Of course there will be times when a ruler is required to draw lines for elements like the horizon. Bring your cityscape drawings to life with colorOnce you’ve planned to draw with pencil and rewrite with pen, it’s time to make it a reality. Watercolor is a great choice for adding color to your cityscape drawings as it allows you to add depth, highlights, and life. Water-soluble pencils and alcohol-based graphic pens are also a great choice for this stage of your artwork. Pay Attention to Light Your use of light and shadows can make or break your cityscape. Make sure you know where the light source is in your image as this will determine where the shadows are. The different tonal values on each side of the buildings also need to be observed to give them a three-dimensional effect. Create perspective with lightAnother light-related trick is to give depth to your artwork using light. In most cases, a distant building will appear lighter than nearby buildings. Keep this in mind as you add color to your cityscape so you don’t end up counter-reacting three-dimensional effects in your drawings. It’s okay to ignore details When you are creating a complex city scene, you can leave out some details. This makes the process easier and often looks better than burdening your artwork with too much visual information. For example, when you are drawing a window, the top and sides are all that is needed to show it exists – the mind fills the rest. Try different means Don’t be afraid to mix. Using mixed media for urban scenes is a great way to add details, highlights, and other effects. Some examples include using paint on a pen to suggest bright lights in a building at night, washing up watercolors to shade the side of a building, or using fine lines to depict details in layers. Gouache’s delicate coating. Artwork, practice, and planning are an important part of creating your best work. If you’d like to see a cityscape drawing in progress and get some more tips, check out our ‘How to Create a Cityscape’ video lesson. We’d love to see your artwork, so don’t forget to tag @montmarteart or #montmarteart to show us what you’ve created.
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