Creative cityscapes

Illustrating city scenes can be simple, but creating an idyllic place is often tricky. Ben the Illustrator, aka Ben O'Brien, uses Illustrator to create subtle effects and creative techniques that will bring a cityscape to life.

You've ambled around London's backstreets, sauntered through beautiful European capitals and stood awestruck at majestic American skylines. You've snapped your photos, but how do you take the atmosphere, architecture and soul of a city and put it into an illustration?

Whether it's a single memory of Tokyo's crazy metropolis or the same streets you see every day, city scenes can make some of the most inspiring and fascinating illustrations. Don't worry if your place is dull - grim even - that's all the better. You can get back to your desk and use Illustrator to create something really special, reinterpreting what you've seen as a stunning piece of art. The possibilities are endless: you can choose to go surreal, graphic or contemporary with your interpretation.

It's a great idea to focus on emulating a particular season or time of day in your illustration, which could be affected by where in the world your city scene is set - New York in the autumn dusk, Rio de Janeiro on a summer afternoon or Edinburgh on a fresh winter's morning. Starting with your city photographs, a few inspiring memories and a little imaginative thought, you can use Illustrator alongside a Wacom tablet to create breathtaking city scene illustrations for anything from commercial tourism projects to art pieces to hang in your home.

There are a multitude of ways to interpret a city scene, from sunny and vibrant to warm and comfy or dark and thrilling, all of which can be achieved using the right colour palettes and knowing where to be realistic and where to stray from the predictable. You just need to know how.

Click here to download the support files (531KB)

Click here to download the tutorial for free