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.
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.
Growing up as a child from the south side of Chicago I would spend many years at the Art Institute of Chicago. In grammar school on weekends, my father sent me to art classes there. He owned the art supply company Favor Ruhl & Watson. At that time it was the largest art supply company in Chicago.
This Beau Arts building was erected as the World’s Congress Auxiliary Building for the World’s Columbian Exhibition of 1893. This was the only structure built for the exhibition outside of Jackson Park. The structure was intentionally designed to become the main building of the Art Institute after the closing of the exhibition.
My focus on the watercolor is Classical entrance of the building. The central block of the building was designed to have a dome over the center. However, since there were not enough funds available the dome was never completed.
As a former member of the Chicago Club I learned of an interesting chapter in the club’s history. When I joined the club I was given a book on the club’s history as a new member’s gift. The title of the book is “The history of the Chicago Club”, by Emmett Dedmon, 1960. On June 17, 1928 the entire interior of the Chicago Club (formerly the Art Institute of Chicago) collapsed leaving the building in ruins. No injuries were recorded.
It was on the Sunday afternoon of June 27th that the security guard suddenly heard loud and violent noises coming from within the clubhouse. In fear of the unknown the guard immediately left the building. He made an exit from the front entrance onto Michigan Avenue and then to Van Buren. Little did he realize that the sounds he had heard with the fracturing of the supporting beams!
Just a few minutes after leaving the building the entire interior of the structure collapsed. The Chicago Club at that time was closed on Sunday so fortunately no one was injured. The club has already built an annex build adjacent to the older building, designed by Daniel Burnham. The annex can be seen in the photo below immediately behind the main building. Since that time the club tore down the ruined building and completed the clubhouse in the same style as the annex building.
It should be noted that this was an architect’s error. The design of the building put the main beam of support on a hard surface thinking that it was bedrock. However, in truth there was a small cavern below that “bedrock”.
Had the building collapsed at a time when the structure was the Art Institute of Chicago the incident would have been a catastrophe. Not only would many people have been killed and injured, but the loss of priceless works of art would be gone forever.
Chicago skyline drawings at sunset by artist Stephen F. Condren. This pencil drawing of the Chicago skyline is at sunset and taken from Burnham Harbor. This is often called the entrance of front door to Chicago. Burnham Harbor was the focal point of Daniel Burnham’s “Plan Of Chicago”. Here we have the colored lined competed for the small space at the base if Willis Tower.
Chicago skyline drawings and prints by artist Stephen F. Condren. The drawing above is a color pencil drawing of the Chicago skyline. The drawing is more formal in character than the lead pencil drawing below. The reason for this in this case is due to the integration of color. If I were so be quick and bold as I am in the lead pencil sketch below I will lose coloration. To the left is the setting sun behind Willis Tower with the most intense use of line work. There is a bit of a compromise in detailing as the scrambling of lines that are competing for a voice in the crowed space.
Lead Pencil Drawings
The use of color pencils instead of watercolor and definitely oils has a very refined affect on skyline works of art. The quick study just above shows the poetry of lead on paper. The lead is quick, spontaneous, and precise. When I have the pencil in my hand I am at one with the paper and the image flows from me. The joy of drawing jumps out at you from the image just above. I move my hand quickly and freely to capture the image and there is not a moment to lose. The darkest tones are behind Willis Tower and the evening sky shout for joy with jubilant cross-hatched lines.
Chicago Skyline Drawings In Perspective
The case for perspective drawing come to fore when working with linear forms. The most common form of perspective that is used in architectural drawings is that of the 2-Point Perspective. This simply means that he drawing lines meet at the sift and right side of the horizon line in the picture plane. This is what you have here in both drawings that are shown.
The Chicago skyline pen & inks are an excellent way to remember this great city. No other medium better expresses the landscape of a city than pen & inks. The elements of a skyline are architectural and thus lend themselves to delineation. The clean clear lines show all the intricate details of the buildings. The get the proper tones of shade and shadow hatching and cross-hatching is employed. Pen & ink skyline drawing by artist Stephen F. Condren.
Hatching and Cross-Hatching For Chicago Skyline Pen & Inks
Since pen & inks do not make use of water to cast shadows the use of hatching is employed to provide this affect. Hatching is the process of carefully moving the pen & ink lines closely together all parallel to each other. This “screen” or “grid” is the matrix of the shade and shadowing process. The darker that you want the background to be the closer you make the lines. When you want to make things very dark such as in a sunset or night scene you make use of cross-hatching. This is where you drawing the pen & ink lines perpendicular to each other. This makes a screen like affect on the drawing and is very effective.
Architecture for Chicago Skyline Pen & Inks
The subject of skylines is architecture and the line is the backbone of this great topic. The pen & inks better than any other medium bring out the boldness of the cities great architecture. Pencils are excellent but they lack the boldness. Watercolors and oils are good as well but fall short when it come to delineation. It is the power and strength of the pen & inks that set the stage for outstanding architectural renderings and illustrations. When you have sections of a scene that require a lot of fine detail the pen & inks come to the rescue. With razor like accuracy the pen & inks zoom in on the details that you are seeking and produce them with clarity.
Chicago skyline watercolor John Hancock Center Stephen F. Condren. At the center of the watercolor stands the Palmolive Building and the Drake Hotel below it. However, the giant on the scene is the world famous John Hancock Center. Sadly however, the name has been dropped from the building and is up for sale. The current designation for the building is 875 N. Michigan Avenue.
The watercolor is a mix of brushed watercolor paint and color pencils. I have made a point of leaving the lines to show clearly. Like a pen & ink, the colored lines offering us color rather than black ink.
Chicago skyline watercolor of the near north side at sunset
The Chicago skyline watercolor of the near north side at sunset is taken from the south. The main focus of the watercolor is east Randolph Street. This amazing short road only goes east a few blocks from Michigan Avenue out into the lake. However, this short strip probably has the highest proportion of tall buildings per block than any other city including Manhattan Island.