A Step-by-Step Guide On How To Draw A City Street


A Step-by-Step Guide On How To Draw A City Street
A Step-by-Step Guide On How To Draw A City Street

Have you always aspired to draw busy market street scenes, city streets with majestic buildings, or quaint streets with a rural setting? It might seem tricky to capture such a symmetrical drawing perfectly. But it is indeed straightforward! Drawing a city street is not as hard as it looks. The most amazing part about an architectural drawing of a city street is that you can draw it with specific geometrical patterns and mathematical aspects.

And it becomes even so much easier for even a beginner to draw a city street because the only thing they have to do is to properly follow all the geometrical steps and rules. Once you have managed to draw a perfect basic model, you can further give your own personal touch to the city street drawing. This tutorial will provide you with a brief idea about how to draw a city street in several ways.

How Do You Draw A City Street From 1-Point Perspective?

1-point perspective can be a tricky thing to understand. Yet, when you do, you will realize it is the most fun way to draw any art form. With the right understanding, you can draw a fantastic city street from a 1-point perspective.

As you shall discover, one-point perspective is not only the most popular way to draw a city street, it is also the easiest way to draw it efficiently and beautifully. Here is a tutorial that will make drawing a complex city street scene simpler for you:

Step 1: Draw the Vanishing Point

Your drawing of a city street will start from the most straightforward process of drawing a vanishing point1. But what is a vanishing point? No, it is not just a random dot. A vanishing point is a point where it appears that two parallel lines in a two-dimensional projection plane and a three-dimensional space meet.

The point is drawn on an image plane and is an important term mainly used in perspective drawing. The vanishing point is also known as an irection point’ because parallel lines drawn in the same vector have the same vanishing point.

Step 2: Draw the Basic Building Structure

To start with your basic building structure, you will need to draw a vertical line at a certain distance from the vanishing point. Also, the line should be perpendicular to the vanishing point. To draw a city street from one-point perspective, it is necessary that you should draw your first line only in a perpendicular way. To help you achieve this choose materials that you are familiar with. Read my post about the Artists Basic Equipment List.

The line is decisive and decides what the rest of your drawing is going to look like. If you want a street with a close-up view, then draw a longer line, and if you are planning a slightly broader viewpoint for the city street, then you should draw the line a little shorter.

Step 3: Color Code Your Lines

Now that you have started drawing the buildings, you should use color coding for different types of lines. For example, you can draw vertical lines that signify the height of the building in yellow color and the lines that signify the width of the buildings can be drawn in pink.

Also, give your vanishing point a distinctive color so that you always know and have a reference for it. Color coding your structures will not have you confused and will not cause any errors in the drawing.

Step 4: Start Drawing other Buildings

You now have a reference building and the vanishing point. Now, you can start by drawing all the other buildings. In order to successfully do this, you need to draw three types of lines: A vertical line for the height of the building, a horizontal line that acts as the width of the building, and a line that goes towards the vanishing point. Always remember that the vertical lines should all be shorter in length than your first vertical line.

Only this will give you a proper city street look. You should draw all the lines with a correct line and note that every line should be drawn by keeping in mind the previous and next line in the picture. The lengths and positions of all the lines have to be in synchronization to make the picture look symmetrical and good.

Here is a step-wise guide to drawing buildings

  • First, draw a vertical line that indicates the front edge of a building. It should be shorter than your reference line.
  • Connect the line with your reference line with a perpendicular line so as to indicate thickness. Color code that lines differently.
  • Place your ruler on the upper and lower end of the vertical line and draw a slanting line that goes towards the vanishing point. This line should be extended up to the point where you wish the next building to start. This is the most essential part of your drawing, as it is the feature that will give your city street drawing a 3D touch.
  • Now connect the endpoints of the two slanting lines. Keep in mind, the line formed by connecting these points should be parallel to the other vertical lines. To give thickness to the building, draw perpendicular lines of equal length and both the ends of the vertical line and then join the ends of those horizontal lines with a vertical line. Here you have another building.

Step 5: Keep repeating the process

The number of buildings you are planning to draw depends mostly on your canvas or page size.

Keep repeating the process mentioned above until you are significantly close to the vanishing point.

Step 6: Start Drawing the other side of the Street

Now start drawing the opposite side of the street. Even here, you have to start with a vertical line and then proceed with the other buildings. Before starting, you need to keep one thing in mind. If you have drawn the other side wider and on the left side of the paper, this side should be a little narrower.

This is because the right side is the viewer’s side. You have to draw a horizontal line perpendicular to the vertical line at the start. This signifies the viewer’s perspective. And for the left side, draw a diagonal line to the vertical line in the beginning.

Step 7: Merging the ends of both the sides of the street

The end of the left side of the street should be drawn with diagonal lines, one from the top and one from the bottom of the building. This is because the viewer will only see the width of the buildings from his/her side.

The more narrow side of the street, which is the right side, should be ended by a building overlapping the vanishing point. Because, from the perspective, only the front side of the building will be visible and not anything else.

Step 8: Draw the Additional Features

With both sides of the street meeting at the vanishing point, you have the basic body for your drawing ready. Now you just have to draw some additional features to add life in the picture. What kind of stuff can you draw here? There can be doors and windows, as well as other sorts of decorative and colorful items.

While drawing the windows and doors, you have to take into consideration the side of the street on which you are drawing them. If you are drawing a door on a side that is facing the viewer, the door should be drawn only with the help of horizontal and vertical lines. And if you are drawing a door that is facing the opposite side of the viewer’s perception, you have to draw the door with only vertical lines and lines going towards the vanishing point.

Step 9: Adding the Minute Details

You can add little zig-zag lines on the front side of buildings to make the street look attractive. The lines should be drawn parallel to the lines going towards the vanishing point. You can make the windows look distinguished by adding semi-circular roofs to them. The buildings can be modified with triangular or rectangular shaped roofs drawn with the help of proper line work.

Doors of the building can be given stairs at the bottom. You have to start with shorter and narrow stairs, and the ground-touching stair should be wide and most prolonged. While drawing the stairs, you have to remember one trick; vertical and horizontal lines should be drawn towards the vanishing point.

To give a complete look to your drawing of the city street, you can add even more and more windows and doors to the buildings. Keep on adding windows as per the length of the building. Keep in mind that the vertical and horizontal lines should be parallel, and the connecting lines should always be the lines that are going towards the vanishing point.

And now comes the fun part of drawing! You can now freely add all the stuff that will make the drawing come alive. These elements can be as per your style and your idea of a city street. You can make it seem like a busy street market by vendors, adding carts, and objects like fruits and vegetables. Or you can make it seem like a quaint neighborhood by drawing trees, lamps, flower pots, on the street and the building.

The most defining feature of your drawing can be the object drawn at the vanishing point. It can be a tower, a temple, a lighthouse, a church, or even just a majestic tower that defines the aura of the street.

Step 10: Giving the Finishing Touches

Now that your masterpiece is ready, you can either give it a finishing touch by sketching it or painting it or coloring it with vibrant colors. It depends on the type of impact you are expecting the drawing to have on its audience.

And there go our steps to draw a perfect city street portrait by one point perspective. Now that you know the procedure, let’s have a look at some facts about one point perspective:

When Is A Drawing Considered One-point perspective?

A drawing is considered as one point perspective when it has only one vanishing point. This type of perspective is used mainly for drawing images where the viewer must have a front-facing view.

One-point perspective is used typically to draw railways, streets, lengthy hallways, and housing complexes. The objects drawn in one point perspective should be made of two types of lines: lines parallel to the viewer’s sight as well as lines perpendicular to the viewer’s sight. All the parallel lines are supposed to converge at the vanishing point of the plane.

Also, a drawing in one-point perspective is composed of linear elements that only intersect each other in right angles. It is through considering all the above factors that we chose one-point perspective to draw a city street.

However, there are various other ways to draw a city street.

What Are The Other Most Common Types Of Perspective Drawing?

Two-Point Perspective

A drawing is said to be of two-point perspective when it has two vanishing points. The vanishing points always exist on the horizon line. Objects and scenes drawn from the one-point perspective can also be drawn from a two-point perspective. Some of the examples of two-point perspective images are a corner view of a house and roads shrinking beyond the viewer’s sight. If the drawing is comprised of two sets of parallel lines, one set is directed towards one vanishing point, and the other set is directed towards the other vanishing point.

When you draw a corner of a house from a two-point perspective, one wall in the viewer’s sight is often receding towards one vanishing point, and the other wall is receding towards the other vanishing point. Two-point perspective is mainly used to create a space illusion by using a two-dimensional surface. The two sets of parallel lines in a two-point perspective plane signify the width and depth of the objects in the drawing. Two parallel lines from different sets intersect each other only at right angles.

Three-Point Perspective

Three-point perspective is mainly used for drawing and representing buildings viewed from the top or bottom position. This type of perspective has three vanishing points. Two of the vanishing points are the same as those in the two-point perspective. The third vanishing point is for the intersection of the vertical lines that form the height of the building. If the viewpoint is from the top of the building, this vanishing point lies below the ground, and if the viewpoint is from the bottom part of the building, the vanishing point lies high in the space.

One, two, and three-point perspectives are used to draw the same scenarios for different viewing angles and perceptions. All these perspectives are drawn in different ways, yet have the same mathematical orientation. Now that we know all about the three major types of perspectives in the drawing let’s see how we can draw a city street using those.

How To Draw A City Street Using Two-point Perspective?

The two-point perspective is used to draw a city street mainly when you are planning to set an urban mood. The perspective is useful in cases where the creator is trying to capture the essence of two different worlds at the same time.

It is slightly more difficult to draw a city street from a two-point perspective than a one-point perspective.

One Point Perspective

Now, we will have a look at a step-by-step guide to drawing a city street using two-point perspective:

Step 1: Draw a Horizon Line

Draw a horizon in the center part of your page. The length of the line should be one-third of the total length of your page. Now draw two points, each at the end of the horizon line. These points will act as your vanishing points.

Color coding is even more important in two-point perspective as there are going to be an additional number of lines and point in this case. The position of the horizon line is very important as it controls the height at which the viewer is going to view the objects. Horizon line determines the perception of the viewer.

Step 2: Create a Two-Point Perspective

Draw a vertical line exactly perpendicular to the horizon line. The line should be drawn in the middle part of the horizon line and should approximately be one-third of the length of the horizon line.

The vertical line should not be too close to the vanishing points. To create a perspective, you have to draw lines joining each vanishing point to both the ends of the vertical line. These lines are called vanishing lines.

You have to make sure that the lines are drawn by a ruler to get them straight. The lines should start perfectly at the vanishing point and should end perfectly at the endpoints of the vertical line.

Step 3: Create more corners and vanishing lines

To create two more corners, draw two lines in the middle of the two vanishing lines. One on the right side and one of the left side. The lines should be at a perfect right angle to the horizon line and drawn perfectly straight.

Now to add more vanishing lines, you can join the lines to the vanishing points just as you did before. The line on the right side should be connected with the vanishing point on the left and vice versa. You have to make sure that the lines are not purposely met at the point. Also, it is okay if two lines cross over.

Step 4: Build your box

Now that you have drawn enough vanishing lines, you have to draw a vertical line joining the two points where a pair of lower and upper vanishing lines from two opposite vanishing points meet.

You should not try to make the line straight unless it is naturally straight. Tilted lines should not be drawn. By drawing several such lines and erasing the unnecessary ones, you can create a perfect box. This box will form the major part of your drawing.

Step 5: Give the finishing touches

You have created the base of the drawing. Now you just have to draw buildings on both the sides of the box.

All the lines should be either parallel or perpendicular to the lines of the box. You can then add all the additional fun elements in the drawing; the same as we did in the one perspective tutorial.

How To Draw A City Street Using Three-point Perspective?

Three-point perspective is mainly used to draw a city street when the creator has to show a bird’s eye view of the city.

It is also used while doodling or on posters. Let’s have a look at the basics of drawing a three-point perspective and then how to draw a city street from it:

Step 1: Draw the Vanishing Points

You can start with a horizon line with two vanishing points at each end. You can then create a triangle with the horizon line, and the third node of the triangle will make up for the third vanishing point.

The triangular area is an essential feature of three-point perspective. Whatever you draw should be inside the triangle completely. Objects that have a half portion in the triangle and half outside look distorted.

Step 2: Create the Basic Structure

Draw a line anywhere inside the triangle. It is not mandatory that the line should be perfectly vertical or should meet a vanishing point. Now, draw lines joining both the ends of the lines with the two vanishing points on the horizon line. Draw vertically diagonal lines from those lines.

These lines should be directed towards the vanishing point. Also, the depth and height of these lines should be precise, as these lines will determine the height of your objects and the perception of the viewer. Join the top point of those vertical lines with the vanishing points on opposite sides.

Step 3: Draw the Complex Structures

Now that you have followed the above procedure and created a basic structure, you can erase the unnecessary lines and start drawing the most significant structure of your drawing. This should revolve around the basic structure that you have already created. After creating the most important structure of your picture, start drawing the surrounding buildings. While drawing these buildings, you have to keep in mind that all the components of the drawing should always stay inside the box. Anything outside the box will make the drawing look distorted and irregular.

Conclusion

We hope the post has enlightened you on the many ways and forms in which you can draw a city street. All the methods are equally interesting and give different outputs. You only have to choose what scene you want to portray through your drawing.

The drawing style will have to be chosen according to the requirement of your scene. Afterward, it is very easy to get that amazing city street drawing out from your pencil. So what are waiting for? Grab a paper and create your own masterpiece now.

References:

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanishing_point

2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRYhzrZ8G_Y

Ian

Ian Walsh is the creator and author of improvedrawing.com and an Art teacher based in Merseyside in the United Kingdom. He holds a BA in Fine Art and a PGCE in teaching Art and Design. He has been teaching Art for over 24 Years in different parts of the UK. When not teaching Ian spending his time developing this website and creating content for the improvedrawing channel.

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