tag line

SKETCHBOOK: a creative tool and a way of life that celebrates design and drawing as vital ways to see and value culture, to discover ideas, and to envision a better world.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Step-by-step perspective: Winter Park, Florida Streetscape

Hi all,
This step-by-step demo for last weekend's workshop for Urban Sketchers Orlando blends my passion for drawing on location with techniques I cooked up while working in urban design charrettes around the U.S.  It's an easy way to analyze and set up a quick framework for a detailed perspective sketch of an urban scene. In this case, I've created a very simple line diagram which documents the outline or edge of the building wall, sidewalk, car lanes and median.  In architectural drawing terms, it's called a "section line."  With the section line in place, I can add a human figure to scale, which allows me to locate the "eye level line" (sometimes called "horizon line," but that term is misleading in my view).  Next, I locate a vanishing point on the eye level line in a spot that roughly correlates to the view I'm seeing.  My favorite viewpoint for this kind of sketch is standing on the curb between the sidewalk and the street lane, which allows me to describe both very well in the sketch.  I hope you enjoy the series!

Here, the finished sketch is used to show how I visualized the "section line" (in orange) on location, showing the building walls, sidewalks, curbs, and car travel lanes.

Here, only the "section line" is shown, to which I've added a few scale figures and an "eye level line".  In my sketchbook, this is what the beginning of the sketch looked like, sans the labels.

 Here I've added those elements in the scene that occur along the section line (no foreground or background)--more people, the street light/traffic arm and cars, along with wayfinding signs and pots in the median.
Now I can use the vanishing point to extend perspective guidelines through each of the curb points (the intersection points of the sidewalk and car lane, car lane and median, etc., shown here with small circles), as well as to nail the correct angle of the building and window edges, and SHAZAM!!--we've got an amazing perspective roughed out!

 Here I've roughed in the outlines for the trees, which are very important in conveying the scale and character of this South Florida street scene.

And finally I've added tones--darkest in the foreground using ink, lighter as they recede into the background, using pencil.

Hope you found this helpful and fun.  Leave a comment with your thoughts.