How to Draw a Skyscraper

How Do You Draw Buildings?

Learning how to draw a skyscraper will require more technical skills than many of the other subjects you may choose to draw, and it will also most likely take longer to draw. 

Why would you want to undertake something that you know in advance will be challenging? Well, you do it because it will challenge you for one thing. You also might want to draw a skyscraper because it can look quite spectacular when done well. 

When preparing to draw a skyscraper, it’s essential that you have suitable materials and you take the right approach. The materials are whatever you feel like working with, but using more precise mediums such as graphite or ink will make things easier. 

You’ll also need a ruler. Being able to draw straight lines and take accurate measurements is essential when drawing something like a skyscraper. A t-square can also be a beneficial tool when drawing objects with vertical lines.

How to Draw a Skyscrapper
How to Draw a Skyscrapper

Draw Vertical Lines

All buildings have vertical lines. These are the walls of your building, and they are almost always straight. One trick that you can use to speed things up for yourself is to draw your vertical lines with a t-square. 

First, you’ll need to ensure that your paper is square with the bottom of your drawing table. Once it is, tape it in place. Next, sketch out your skyscraper, then use a ruler to measure the distance between the vertical lines and compare them with your reference.

Make adjustments as needed. Then you can use at-square to draw the vertical lines. This keeps you from having to mark down two points when you measure your building, and it also ensures that you’ll have perfect vertical lines.

Draw Virtical Lines
Draw Vertical Lines

Draw And Check The Proportions Of The Drawing

When drawing anything, you need to ensure that the proportions are correct. This is especially true when drawing any type of building. Read my related post, How to Draw a House.

How can you do this? There are a few options. You could use a projector or light table and trace the skyscraper that you’re drawing, but many artists try to avoid tracing since they feel that it’s kind of a cheat. 

Another option is to use the grid method. Simply draw a grid on your reference photo, then transfer the grid to your paper, making sure to account for a change in the size of the paper if there is one. 

Then you can start to sketch out the building using a ruler to ensure that you have straight lines and help measure for proportions.

Draw Horizontal Lines

Once you’ve established the general structure of your skyscraper, you should then start to define its features. The horizontal lines on a skyscraper indicate the different levels and set up other features such as windows and doors. 

This is another instance when a rule is a necessity. Very few artists can draw perfectly level lines freehand, so don’t be afraid to use a ruler. Is it going to take some time? It will, but the extra effort will be worth it in the end.

Draw the Different Levels Of The Building

Draw the Different Levels of the Building
Draw the Different Levels of the Building

Once you’ve started to put in the horizontal lines, you’ll have indicated where the different levels of the building start and end. 

Next, start defining it more by adding windows, ledges, and any other features that help separate the different levels of the building.

Draw Base Building Structure

Skyscrapers descend deep underground. That’s how they support their weight and maintain stability. But, even though they have an underground structure, they also typically have a robust base at the street level. 

The base building structure should include windows and doors so that your skyscraper appears to be functional.

Draw Roof Building Structure

The roof of skyscrapers usually has quite a few features, so make sure that you incorporate them. They usually have roof access, HVAC systems, exhausts, and attendees or satellite dishes. 

These are just some of the features that you’ll find on the roof of a skyscraper. Make sure that you add signs of wear as well. Unless your skyscraper is brand new, the roof of the building takes more abuse from the elements than other parts of the building. 

Adding a little weathering can go a long way toward making your skyscraper look more realistic.

Check The Symmetry Of The Drawing

Symmetry is always essential, but it’s even more critical when drawing an artificial structure such as a skyscraper. If the symmetry is off, your drawing won’t look right. 

There’s a trick that many artists rely on for checking symmetry in a drawing. It’s called the mirror trick. How does it work? When you’re working on a drawing, you focus on it so much that your mind won’t notice any flaws. 

But, if you hold that drawing up to a mirror, you change the image. This forces your brain to process it differently, which helps you to spot mistakes. The key to using the trick effectively is to sketch lightly so you can make corrections and do it frequently to catch mistakes before they lead to other mistakes.

Draw Skyscrapers Details, Windows, and Doors

Draw the Archetecture Details
Draw the Archetecture Details

One of the most essential parts of drawing a skyscraper is adding the details. What’s a skyscraper without details like windows and doors? It’s just a big rectangle. 

You must take the time to sketch the details and then render them. If you don’t, your building will not look like a building at all.

Alternative Ideas:

Drawing a Skyscraper In Perspective

If you feel like really challenging yourself, you could try drawing a skyscraper in perspective. When viewed from below, many tall skyscrapers actually appear to bend! 

Drawing from perspective is challenging because you can’t just rely on a ruler and measurements. You have to figure out how things line up at different angles. You can still use a ruler, and you should, but you’ll definitely spend a lot more time ensuring that your measurements are correct before you can commit to putting pencil to paper.

Drawing Buildings Around A Skyscraper

Drawing Buildings Around A Skyscraper
Drawing Buildings Around A Skyscraper

Another option you may want to consider when drawing a skyscraper if you want more of a challenge is to draw one with buildings around it. 

You might even be considering drawing an entire city scene. Be forewarned, though; attempting to accurately draw a city scene can be incredibly time-consuming, but at the same time, the end result can be very rewarding.


Ian Walsh is the creator and author of 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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