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Chicago Skyline Pen & Ink Drawing At Sunset #752A

Chicago skyline pen & ink at sunset with clouds by Condren.

The original and prints of Chicago Skyline #752A are here.

Key elements of Chicago Skyline #752A

  • Light
  • Cross-hatching
  • Delineation

This pen & ink drawing of Chicago is done at early sunset. The view or perspective it taking from the northwest near Western Avenue.

The three tallest points in the skyline are those of the near north side, east Randolph Street, and the Chicago Loop.

At the near north side you have 875 N. Michigan Avenue (former John Hancock Center). In the center cluster you have the skyscrapers of the Aon Center and Trump Tower. The last cluster is on the right which shows Willis Tower.

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Chicago Skyline Pen & Ink Drawing Of Near North Side At Sunset #751A

Chicago skyline pen & ink drawing at sunset by Condren.

The original and prints of Chicago Skyline #751A are here.

Key elements of Chicago Skyline #751A

  • Light
  • Cross-hatching
  • Delineation

This pen & ink drawing of Chicago skyline #751 is of the near north side of Chicago at early sunset. In the center of the rendering is 875 N. Michigan Avenue (former John Hancock Center). To the immediate right is a cluster of buildings that comprise the near north side. The exception is the nub immediately to the right of 875, which is the Aon Center.

My original intent for the drawing was to make it much darker and with a mood of impending storms. However, while I was drawing I had my mind on the Scientific Theory of Luminiferous Aether. Thus, with light in my mind I let the glory of the sun take command of the drawing. Thus as I moved my pen along the paper it gently came to a halt as the drawing with finished!


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Chicago Skyline Pen & Ink Drawing From Lincoln Park #750A

Chicago skyline pen & ink drawing overlooking Lincoln Park.

The original and prints of Chicago Skyline #750A are here.

This pen & ink drawing of the Chicago skyline #750A is by skyline artist Stephen F. Condren, BFA-SAIC.

Key elements of Chicago Skyline #749A

  • Landscape
  • Cross-hatching
  • Sky

This drawing is of the Chicago skyline looking south over Lincoln Park. Closest to the park is the immediate skyline of the near north side with show 875 (former John Hancock Center).

The linework in the drawing if very clean and clear. The use of hatching and cross-hatching is at a minimum so as to keep the forms of the park distinct from the skyscrapers. Effort has been taken to be as clear as possible without sacrificing quality draftsmanship.

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Chicago Skyline Pen & Ink Drawing At Sunset #749A

Chicago skyline pen & ink drawing at sunset by Condren.

The original and prints of Chicago Skyline #749 are here.

This pen & ink drawing of the Chicago skyline #749A is by skyline artist Stephen F. Condren, BFA-SAIC.

Key elements of Chicago Skyline #749A

  • Sunset
  • Cross-hatching
  • Water

This Chicago skyline drawing is done at sunset. The setting sun is on the left side of the drawing is from the east (behind Willis Tower) where it holds command. From this point the power of the sun’s rays are cast to the skyline and out onto Lake Michigan.

Making the pen & ink work effectively in creating spectrum in a work of art is difficult. For it takes great skill and care to use just enough line work to convey the gradual transition of tones. It is ever so common to cast stroke of in in random formations leaving poor results. Every single stroke has to be calculated. 

As I draw the lines with my pen I eye every element on the paper and keep moving my pen tip on a path that correctly satisfies the needed tone. It is with difficulty that I explain this process but it exactly what I do. As I move the pen and process strokes at the same time I look at the space and move the pen to fill in the need tone.

Also, as I move the pen I am very aware of the length of each stroke. If the space permits I make the strokes later and if not, then smaller. This is a quandary for I only know how to make the strokes as I move the pen. I cannot calculate the movements of the pen before hand. 

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Chicago Skyline Pen & Ink Drawing At Night #748A

Chicago skyline pen & ink of near north side at night.

The original and prints of Chicago Skyline #748A are here.

This pen & ink drawing of the Chicago skyline #748A is by skyline artist Stephen F. Condren, BFA-SAIC.8Key elements Chicago skyline #747A

Key elements of Chicago Skyline #748A

  • Delineation
  • Time of day
  • Light

The innumerable hatching and cross-hatching lines are the hall mark of the rendering. The darkest region of the drawing is in the waters of Lake Michigan. After the water, the sky has the deepest tones of black. The most luminous area is around the banks of the lake and along the roadside of North Lake Shore Drive.

The light of the streets shows nicely from the base of the buildings. However, I was careful not to hat too much as the building got taller so as not to diminish their stature.

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Chicago Downtown Skyline Pen & Ink Sketch #747A

Chicago skyline pen & ink sketch of North Lake Shore Drive.

Prints of Chicago Skyline #747A are available here.

This pen & ink sketch of the Chicago skyline #747A is by skyline artist Stephen F. Condren, BFA-SAIC.

Key elements Chicago skyline #747A

  • Delineation
  • Time of day
  • Light

The delineation of this sketch is short and simple. It is all preparing for the intense amount of hatching and cross-hatching that is to follow. The scene will be at night so most of the images will not be recognizable.

My interest in Chicago skyline #747A is more compositional thank formal presentation rendering. In fact this is not any form of architectural rendering for display. This is a free-hand sketch that is exploring the forms along Lake Shore Drive. You have a mixture of skyscrapers, trees, concrete, and of course water from Lake Michigan.

The light is this image is standard afternoon light that show all the froms. However, in the drawing that comes over this it will be in the dead of night. The lighting at the present will do to give us an image of the scene. However, there is nothing theatrical or dramatic in the light of day. The rendering that is to follow will offer a very theatrical vision of North Lake Shore Drive. Chicago skyline #747A is the preamble to #478.

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Chicago Downtown Skyline Pen & Ink Drawing At Night #746A

Chicago downtown skyline pen & ink at night by Condren.

The original and prints of Chicago Skyline #746A are here.

This pen & ink of the Chicago skyline #746A is by skyline artist Stephen F. Condren, BFA-SAIC.

Key elements to this drawing:

  • Delineation
  • Time of day
  • Light

Clearly this rendering is done at night by the mere title and dark drawing. However, the night time brings out an interesting quality to skyline. The darkness gives you freedom to work different forms with the images of the buildings and landscape. You are now more free to work the shadows and architectural images into a more cohesive composition. You are not locked into copying all of the buildings in their proper place and proportion. Rather, you can work with their forms and create an even strong cityscape.

For example, the bottom of the drawing is the darkest. I have done this so that it will visually support the images above. The intense use of cross-hatching frees me up to look for light reflected in the image from the sky. I do not have to worry about capturing the seascape or waves. The composition is more important than the details.

The center ground of the drawing is Daniel H. Burnham Harbor. Mr. Burnham is a famed Chicago architect and we both share the same birthday! In the middle and just above the harbor is the world famous “Chicago Loop”. This area has the greatest concentration of skyscrapers in Chicago. Notable buildings are Willis Tower, Trump Tower, and Aon Center.

I have made the sky with intense cross-hatching to let light emit from the sunset.

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Chicago Skyline Pen & Ink Drawing Overlooking Lincoln Park At Noon #745A

Chicago skyline pen & ink drawing over Lincoln Park.

The original and prints of Chicago Skyline #745A are here.

Lincoln Park At Noon

Chicago skyline #745A. This pen & ink drawing is looking south over the lawns of the zoo and Lincoln Park in Chicago.

Chicago Skyline #745A

It is my goal in the rendering to offer the viewer a personal note about the subject. Being a native to Chicago I am partial to art about Chicago. Further, having graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago it further underscores my love for this great city.

I am from the south side of Chicago. I grew up in the Jackson Park Highlands with is in Hyde Park Township and just south of the great Jackson Park. Being from the south side we did not venture north as often as my mother would have liked. My mother grew up in Lakeview along the north shore lake. Mom always talked about here time growing up along the lake and how wonderful it was.

So in honor of my dear mother whom I will cherish all of my life I dedicate this pen & ink drawing.

I have made use of a fine line pen for this drawing. My intent was to use the foreground as a visual support for the skyline in the rear of the rendering. There are both cumulus clouds (on the left), and stratus nimbus clouds at the center and to the right. The contrasting line movement from these shape enhance the contour of the drawing.

The skyscrapers in the background are many and most difficult to define. If you look carefully you can see the major super structures. Like any good drawing, it is best practice to use as few lines to convey the most meaning and that is what I have attained in this splendid rendering.

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Chicago Skyline Pen & Ink Drawing At Night #744A

Chicago skyline pen & ink drawing at night.

The original and prints of Chicago Skyline #744A are here.

This drawing has given me great pleasure in that gave me many unexpected twists and turns on the road but I never fell into the ditch! The drawing takes place at night and the sun is setting from behind the John Hancock Center (west). Thus, I have the surround sky gradually darken as it moves away from the sun.

In reality the buildings are very dark as well as most of the shoreline. However, to darken everything would give no meaning to the drawing. So I took the liberty to keep the building light so as to radiate light. I did keep the landscape dark to support the skyscrapers above.

The waters of Lake Michigan are not really dark as water carries illumination very well. The cross-hatching of the sky reminds me very much of a Rembrandt. He did an etching of the Holy Family but it is even darker!

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Chicago Skyline Pen & Ink #743A

Chicago skyline pen & ink drawing with sail boats.

The original and prints of Chicago Skyline Pen & Ink #743 are available here.


This pen & ink is by artist Stephen F. Condren, BFA-SAIC. The scene is from Lake Michigan looking at a glorious windjammer sailing by the Chicago Harbor Lighthouse. In the background Chicago Navy Pier can be seen under the towering figures of the Chicago skyline just behind. The setting of the pen & ink drawing is on the shores of Lake Michigan.

To the right of the windjammer is the Chicago Harbor Lighthouse. Behind the lighthouse you can see Chicago Navy Pier. The backdrop of the rendering is the world famous Chicago skyline. The focal point of the skyline is the 100 story John Hancock Center which is in a cluster of other very tall buildings.

To the far left the image of Lake Point Tower can be seen as a sort of book stop that holds up the left side of the drawing. The glory of the drawing is the wonderful windjammer moving across the waters of Lake Michigan.