Illustrated Cityscape Assignment

Over the course of this week, you will draw and digitize an architectural cityscape.

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assignment overview

Architectural illustration is a great place to start in Adobe Illustrator because you can rely on shape building. The illustration to the left inspired by architecture in New Orleans, is one I made using shapes, the pen tool, and the pathfinder palette. 

Your illustration can be based on an actual city or building, inspired by something from your favorite film or book, or completely made up from your own imagination. You can draw your house, Hogwarts, or some building you would like to visit—whatever you feel like exploring.

NOTE: While this assignment is labeled cityscape, I'm really just looking for architecture, so include as much as you can to create an interesting illustration, but don't worry about having to illustrate an entire city.


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Phase 1

Think about what you might want to draw. Is it your grandma's house, a city you'd like to visit, or maybe just something you have in your head? Start exploring architectural imagery and illustration online (Use Pinterest if your parents allow it). Observe the buildings around you on your drive home. 

Create a Pinterest board (or save images to your thumbdrive) that you can use as inspiration.

  • If you want to draw your grandmother's house, find some images of it (or take your own) that you can use as reference imagery. Be sure to capture different angles. 
  • If you're interested in drawing Hogwarts, gather castle imagery or even images from the movie for reference.
  • If you're interested in creating your own architecture, gather images that inspire you to use as reference.

When pulling together reference imagery, also consider color palettes. Your grandmother's house might be tan, but maybe you want to illustrate it in a less realistic way. Think about how you want the final to look and feel and explore colors that support that idea. 


Phase 2

Begin sketching various loose compositions and elements for your illustration. Try a couple of different angles and approaches. On the provided sketching pages, create a loose final sketch that is proportional to your final illustration. Your finalized sketched will be scanned, and you'll use the scan to trace over in Adobe Illustrator. The more refined your final, the easier it will be for you to trace.

When creating your final, consider additional elements that add interest: plants, window boxes, door and window details, cars, bikes, boats, trash bins, etc.

You might draw one building. You might draw a couple.

Phase 3

We will scan your final composition, place it in Illustrator and begin tracing the elements to create a final, digital illustration. We will work on this final process during the last three days of camp.