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The Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

September 24, 2012 at 9:56 AM

Dissecting the skyline from Jack Block Park

jbskylinewsketchbook632.jpg
Sketched Sept. 16, 2012
Earlier this month I returned to one of the Port’s parks I discovered last year, Jack Block Park, for a meetup with the Seattle Urban Sketchers.
The park’s observation deck is ideal to draw a full panorama of downtown’s skyline. That’s a scene you can spend hours drawing, but if you are as impatient as I usually am, you can keep it simple and stick mostly to outlines. That was my approach and these are the steps I took to create my 25-minute sketch:
I started with the Space Needle, but I drew its top too big at first. Fortunately, I found a way to work through the mistake. I scribbled over those first marks, turning them into Queen Anne Hill and started over, drawing the Needle with proportions that would allow me to fit as much of the skyline as I wanted into the 11-inch-wide sketchbook spread. The Needle was key to developing the rest of the sketch, because I used it as a reference, measuring all the other buildings against it.
Next, I drew the cruise ship and the shoreline below the Needle and across the spread. The shoreline is also key in this drawing, because it anchors all the composition and serves as a measuring reference of the buildings heights. You can’t afford to get it crooked or too slanted. Then I continued drawing left to right from the base of the Needle, tracing the silhouette of the buildings up against the sky. I kept eyeballing distances in relation to the Space Needle and to the shoreline, taking a few liberties with spacing of buildings here and there so I could fit all the way to the Smith Tower.
Last, I labeled a handful of downtown landmarks, but not nearly as many as I would have liked to remember on the spot. Maybe you can help me identify some more! You can scroll across the sketch on the window below:

jbskyline500px-f.jpg

Comments | More in Parks, Sketching field notes | Topics: West Seattle

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