Join Will Kemp for an in-depth discussion in this video Cityscapes, rooftops, and panoramas, part of Foundations of Drawing: Urban Sketching.
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- So, when you're walking around any town or city you'll often find yourself with your sketchpad looking up at a monument or a building and the perspective goes really, really steeply or if you look down an alleyway again it really goes into the distance. So, one way to get a different feeling to your drawings is to change your actual position, change your perspective from being down low to getting up higher and it will give your drawings a different feel.
- [Josh] So, when you're up high you have a lot flatter perspective, and the attention is more on the silhouette and the shapes of the skyline. It also can feel really special and inspiring. And there are different things that you notice when you get up higher. The different way the light behaves, it casts these amazing shadows that aren't broken up by the city streets. And even the silence when you're up there can feel so calming and quiet. It's almost as if you've got this private view of the city and the roof tops all to yourself.
- So I find myself approaching the panoramic scenes and skylines slightly differently. So, instead of working from the outside in, and larger shapes to smaller shapes, I'll often focus on the focal point in a skyline and, then build out the drawing from there. So, it's like reversing what I'm focusing on initially. - [Josh] So let's move on to our first rooftop sketch. And we head into the fantastic Renaissance city of Florence before coming back to ground level and looking at acute angles with perspective.
- So, I'm here in Italy in the absolutely beautiful city of Florence. I've got this fantastic view behind me, and the sun is just setting in the distance which gives this absolutely glorious balance between lights and shadows in the scene. So, I'm going to grab my sketchbook and do a quick sketch of this amazing Duomo scene and try and capture some of that magic of Florence just before the sun sets on us. - [ Josh] For this small study, I'm concentrating on the central image of the Duomo.
So, I'm starting with the semi-circular shape of the dome, and then positioning it just in from the right-hand side of my sketchpad. This will just allow me space to move the sketch over both pages of the pad. I start with the Newgee fine line 0.5 pen, and I'm trying to capture sense of shadow in the scene.
And I work between the fine line pen and I'm also using the cool gray fiber-tip pen. And this just enables me to block in some of the darker areas. So, because I started the sketch over on to the right-hand side now it gives me the space on the left so I can include the tower, which is an integral part of the silhouette shape of the scene.
I'm flicking my eyes around the scene and I'm looking for a silhouette shape of buildings that are in front of the main focus. So this line in the foreground just enables me to create a very subtle silhouette shape so it has like a layered effect. So, I've got the foreground shape which is darker and then the main focus behind it.
You can see that there's been a 3-stage build-up to this drawing. I started off with the fine line pen to look for the outlines and the main shapes. Then went in with thicker marker with the dark gray fiber tips to get the dark accents established. And then went back with the fine line pen to put in hatches to indicate shadow shapes and just added anymore details. I don't often do this in my drawings. I build up the different layers even just using the same material, but just looking at different elements at each stage.
So, start with the main structure, then look for the dark accents, then finally put in the details. - What I'm going to do now is leave until it goes completely pitch black, but the building is illuminated and come back to see how you can tackle that in your sketches to create a different drama into your drawings.
- Choosing your materials
- Building structure into your drawing
- Sketching architecture
- Capturing panoramic views of a city
- Drawing people in cafes
- Sketching movement
- Bringing it all together in a start-to-finish drawing