How Do I Draw a City Skyline?

By Carl Hose

A cityscape is a landscape drawing that depicts a city skyline. The city skyline is a combination of natural elements, such as those found in the sky, set against a foreground of images depicting a city. Creating a city skyline is quite easy, which makes it a natural starting place for an artist who wants to learn landscape drawing.

Draw a horizontal horizon line across your paper. The line should be placed slightly below the center of your paper. This line should be drawn lightly in pencil. It is only a guide to help situate the buildings in your drawing.

Draw the elements in the sky that will depict the atmosphere you want to capture. This could be a sun or moon, depending upon time of day, clouds and any birds you might want to place in the scene. You can choose which elements to place in your drawing, but a sun or moon should be added at the minimum. A circle in the sky area is all you need to depict either, or a half circle on the horizon if you want a sunset.

Draw the buildings for your city skyline. Begin at one edge of your paper and work your way across, drawing a series of rectangular shapes of varying sizes to create buildings. Draw the basic shapes on the first pass. When you've completed the drawings, erase the horizontal guideline you drew in step one.

Return to the edge of the paper where you began drawing your shapes. Draw lines extending from these original building lines to add dimension to your buildings. This is done by drawing a short diagonal line from each top corner of the rectangles and connecting that line with a horizontal line to create the top dimension. Also, add a vertical line running parallel to each rectangle and connect it to the side of the rectangle with a diagonal line to create side depth.

Add details to your buildings. Draw small squares for single windows, or two horizontal lines with vertical lines inside them to represent rows of windows. Add double doors on some of the buildings (draw a square where you want the door to be, then divide it into two sections with a vertical line).

About the Author

Carl Hose is the author of the anthology "Dead Horizon" and the the zombie novella "Dead Rising." His work has appeared in "Cold Storage," "Butcher Knives and Body Counts," "Writer's Journal," and "Lighthouse Digest.". He is editor of the "Dark Light" anthology to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.