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Urban Sketching Handbook: Architecture and Cityscapes by Gabriel Campanario

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F39_Job:05-41203 Title: RP-The Urban Sketching Handbook
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Architecture and Cityscapes
Think cubes.
Buildings in the real world may seem too big to
handle. Think of them as if they were little Lego
blocks. Master drawing a cube from different
angles, and next time you are drawing streetscapes
you’ll see cubes instead of buildings.
Ä This commercial building
in Seattle is shaped like a
shoebox.
Central District
11.8” x 5.8” | 30 x 15 cm; Ink
and watercolor on Canson Mixed
Media 11” x 14” | 28 x 35.6 cm;
sketchbook; 30 minutes.
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Key III: Depth
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Ä This commercial building
in Seattle is shaped like a
shoebox.
Central District
11.8” x 5.8” | 30 x 15 cm; Ink
and watercolor on Canson Mixed
Media 11” x 14” | 28 x 35.6 cm;
sketchbook; 30 minutes.
Toolbox
Here’s a handy way to measure angles:
While closing one eye in order to
flatten the image, hold your pen against
the subject at the angle you need to
represent on the page.
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Architecture and Cityscapes
Find the horizon line, or your eye level.
If you are relaxing on the beach looking out to the
ocean, the horizon line is easy to find. But it’s a
bit more challenging when you are in the middle
of the city, surrounded by buildings. Here’s my
recommendation: Forget the word horizon and just
identify your eye level—the line where your eyes rest
when you look perfectly straight ahead.
Ä In this case, the horizon
line falls halfway down the
road.
MICHAEL WEBBER
Autumn in Pioneer Square
5” x 14” | 12.7 x 35.6 cm;
Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph pen
using Rapidograph Black India
Ink and Winsor & Newton pocket
watercolor set on Hand Book
sketchbook; about 25 minutes.
 Objects the same size,
such as utility poles, look
smaller the farther away
they are.
Bitter Lake neighborhood
11” x 12.3” | 28 x 31 cm; Ink
and watercolor on A4 Moleskine
sketchbook; 1 hour.
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 Objects the same size,
such as utility poles, look
smaller the farther away they
are. This is known as the law
of diminishing sizes.
Bitter Lake neighborhood
11” x 12.3” | 28 x 31 cm; Ink
and watercolor on A4 Moleskine
sketchbook; 1 hour.
Key III: Depth
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41
Useful habits
To establish the horizon line, and this can’t be emphasized
enough, look straight ahead!
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Architecture and Cityscapes
Find vanishing points. They are
everywhere!
I lost a few battles with perspective in my early
sketching days because I thought vanishing
points always rest on that horizon line. What was
I thinking? The truth is, those pesky dots where
parallel lines seem to converge can be anywhere.
When the lines are parallel to the ground and the
ground is flat, they converge at our eye level. But
if they are at an angle with relation to the ground,
they can converge above or below the horizon
line. Once I knew that, finding them became easier,
almost like a game.
à The roof lines aren’t parallel
to the ground; therefore, the
vanishing point is way up in
the sky (see diagram at right).
Nelson House
12.7” x 8.6” | 32 x 22 cm; Ink
and watercolor on 11” x 14” |
28 x 35.6 cm; Canson Mixed
Media sketchbook; 2 hours.
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