How to draw a city street in one point perspective

Written by dan chruscinski
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The world is not a two dimensional space, and in capturing the world around you in a drawing, you must remember to add perspective into your artwork. Perspective can be achieved by creating a vanishing point, which all elements of your drawing flow toward. Think of looking down a long stretch of road where eventually the road narrows until it vanishes out of sight. You can create a city street drawing using single (or one) point perspective by using the vanishing point to replicate the point where your image disappears from the viewer's sight.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Ruler
  • Pen
  • Coloured pencils

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  1. 1

    Draw a small dot, centred horizontally on your paper. Position the dot near the top of the page to give you more room to draw different parts of the street. This is your vanishing point.

  2. 2

    Draw a horizontal line across the page that overlaps your vanishing point. This line is known as your horizon line.

  3. 3

    Place the edge of a ruler over the dot extending down the paper and towards the bottom, left corner. Draw a line along the edge of the ruler to the bottom of the page.

  4. 4

    Shift the ruler so that it angles towards the bottom right corner of the page. Draw a line down the ruler to the bottom of the page. You now have a triangle, with the diagonal lines representing two sides and the bottom edge of your paper making up the third side.

  5. 5

    Draw a square on the right side of the paper. The bottom left corner of the square should touch the right angled line you previously drew. This is the start of a building.

  6. 6

    Place your ruler on the top right corner of the square. Angle the ruler so that the corner of the square and your vanishing point are connected by the edge of the ruler. Draw a line connecting the two points.

  7. 7

    Place your ruler on each of the other three corners of the square. Draw a line connecting each corner with the vanishing point. You will create a three dimensional shape that extends to the vanishing point.

  8. 8

    Pick a point along the line you previously drew extending from the top right corner of the square towards the vanishing point. Draw a horizontal line from this point across to the line that extends from the top left corner of the square; this will connect your two line segments.

  9. 9

    Draw a line starting at the left end of the horizontal line you drew in the previous step and moving vertically downward. Stop when you reach the line of the street. You created your first building.

  10. 10

    Draw additional buildings by creating the same combination of one vertical and one horizontal line up along the segments that travel towards the vanishing point. When complete, you will have a row of buildings.

  11. 11

    Create buildings on the opposite side of the street using the same technique of drawing your lines towards the vanishing point.

  12. 12

    Place one side of the ruler on the vanishing point and angle the ruler so that the edge falls near one edge of the street, without following the diagonal line exactly. Draw a two inch line at any point along the ruler. This will begin the outline of a car.

  13. 13

    Shift the ruler towards the opposite side of the road. Draw a two inch line that features a beginning and end point directly across from the previous line.

  14. 14

    Connect your two line segments with two horizontal lines. Add details to your car such as round tires or another, slightly smaller rectangle for the top of the car.

  15. 15

    Add additional details into your street image by creating windows on buildings while following the rule of angling towards the vanishing point.

  16. 16

    Erase any lines that overlap and go over the picture with a pen or marker. Colour in your image to finish the one point perspective street.

Tips and warnings

  • Draw your vanishing point on different areas of the paper to shift perspective.

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