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Cityscape Drawing

A Step by Step Demonstration of how to Draw a Cityscape by Patrick Williams

Cityscape Drawing

India Ink on Watercolor Paper
by Patrick Williams

My preliminary drawings are always done in a sketchbook. I carry one with me where ever I go. It s a great way to trap inspiration when it strikes, kill time or even brush up on observational drawing skills once in a while. In the end, my old sketchbooks become an amazing resource for ideas and images. If I ever hit an artistic dry spot, I have only to look through my library of sketchbooks and I'm ready to go!

"I freehand everything to keep a sensation of whimsy and motion"

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Step One: Initial Sketch
For this piece I wanted to create a stylized cityscape. I went out and did some sketches of downtown Seattle to base my drawing on. When making work that is abstracted, it's important to occasionally recharge the batteries and do some drawing from life. I start with some quick and loose sketches to play with composition. At this point the drawings are playful, nothing serious or committal as I'm just trying to figure out what works best visually. For sketching I've found nothing better then the Pitt brush pens by Faber-Castell. The flexible point allows for fast broad strokes or fine detail, which lets me lay in large areas quickly and later focus on smaller areas of interest.

I usually do a few drawings before I arrive at one I really like. It s a process of trial and error, taking elements from one sketch and incorporating it into another.

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Step Two: Intermediate Sketch
Once I have a sketch that suits my fancy, I will do a full size drawing. I don't use a ruler for these kinds of drawings mechanical edges and right angles often result in a static feeling piece, so I freehand everything to keep a sensation of whimsy and motion. I always keep an 18" x 24" Biggie Sketch pad around for this purpose. The paper has a great surface for multiple mediums and is acid free but still economical.

I still consider this drawing intermediate, so if there are any corrections to make, this is the final stage to do it. I will often make revisions in colored pencil to color code my decision-making. Doing so keeps me a little more organized.

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Step Three: Transfer Time
Using Saral Transfer paper to duplicate my image down to the final paper is a simple way to ensure I copy the lines I want, and only the lines I want. It's similar to carbon paper but better: not greasy, easily erasable and bleed proof. Lightly taping my intermediate drawing and the transfer paper to my final sheet of paper with artist tape ensures that I won't pull off the surface of my final paper. Once everything is taped down I carefully trace over the lines I want transferred. Pushing lightly, I use a different color pencil at this point, so I can see what lines I've already traced. I don't transfer everything, usually just the main shapes I put the shading and the textural information in later.


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Step Four: Finishing The Drawing
For my final drawings, I use 140lb. Bright White Fabriano hot pressed watercolor paper. It is great for more than just watercolor; it has a fantastic surface that is conducive to drawing, painting and multi-media works. The texture of the hot pressed paper is similar to vellum finish Bristol board but takes washes better and is far more archival. With my lines transferred down, I ink my piece with black Pitt pens. They come in a variety of different sizes. I employ the fine point for small details, the medium size for most of the line work and the large pen for blocking in areas of black. With archival pigment ink, the pens work well for hatch, crosshatch and stipple techniques. By varying the size of the lines, I can tell the viewer what portions of the image to look at first.

Once everything is inked, wait about a half-hour before erasing the transfer lines pigment inks tend to take slightly longer to dry. Gently working with a Mars plastic eraser I remove all the transfer lines and my drawing is finished.

Patrick Williams

Patrick Williams began his professional career after graduating from Art Center College of Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration Design, as the youngest member in his class with honors.

Patrick's work is a combination of cartoons and realism, using two stylistic approaches, fundamentally opposed, allows for a deeper conversation between the viewer and the artist. There is a cast of characters that perform in these paintings. Being iconic yet completely general. Through subtle manipulations, the characters become distorted to mirror internal conflict, landscapes change from one painting to the next yet they all manage to stay firmly rooted within the same world, the same characters, just a different chapter in the mythology of suburbia.

Starting in L.A. and O.C. then branching out into the rest of the United States, Patrick has shown his paintings and found an overwhelmingly positive response from those that live within the suburbanite culture and those who identify with the themes and ideas represented in his work. Patrick's audience is appreciative of the fact that the modern suburban landscape is that of a warped nature, and the resulting social structures are equally warped.

Patrick's paintings don't need to reflect a specific explanation or a title but have items that relate to many storylines and possibilities within a wide range of people.

Materials List

Faber Castell Pitt Brush Pens
Biggie Sketch Pad - 18" x 24"
Colored Pencils
Saral Transfer Paper
Artist Tape
Fabriano White, 140lb. Hot Pressed Watercolor Paper
Mars Eraser