Illustration: Create a City Skyline

Beginner level Adobe Illustrator Adobe Illustrator

New Document and Set Up

Step 1

Press Control + N in order to create a new document. Adjust the Units to Pixels and set a canvas of 800x650 px. Then in Advanced options, select RGB, Screen (72 ppi)

Go to Keyboard Preferences (Control + K) and enter a value of 1 px in Keyboard Increment. Press OK.

You can activate the Info panel (Window → Info) in order to see a preview of the size and position of your shapes. Remember to set up the measure units to Pixels inside Edit → Preferences → Units. This will speed up your work.


How to Create the City Skyline

Let's start by drawing the background of the city.

Step 1

Draw a rectangle with a size of 800x650 px (#FFFFCA) on the canvas. Then grab the Pen Tool (P) and draw skyscrapers with the fill color #E8D58D.


Step 2

Start now by drawing the first building using the Rectangle Tool (M) (#726552). Then create a trapezoid displacing both top anchor points using the Direct Selection Tool (A).

Draw two stripes (#D3C499), one on top and the other at the bottom of the building, then apply Blend (Object → Blend → Make...) with 38 steps of spacing (Object → Blend → Blend Options). Last, make a copy of the shape of the building (Control + C → Control + F) and place the layer on top (Shift + Control + ] ) and apply a Clipping Mask (right click → Make Clipping Mask) with the stripes.


Step 3

Now draw some illuminated windows (#F9EBC6) using the Rectangle Tool (M). Then using the Pen Tool (P) draw the right side of the building and subtract its shape using the Shape Builder Tool (Shift + M).

After this, select the shape and change its blending mode to Multiply in the Appearance panel with a 50% Opacity.


Step 4

Finally draw the top of the building with two rectangles (#5B5142) and (#B09C7E). Group the whole building (Control + G).


Step 5

Let's make the second building drawing three rectangles (#9F8E4D) as steps. Blend them applying Unite from the Pathfinder panel. Then draw horizontal stripes (#D0CBBB) from the bottom to the top of the building, and subtract the shapes using the Shape Builder Tool (Shift + M).


Step 6

Add illuminated windows using rectangles (#FDFAF1) between the building's floors. Then draw the shadowed sides of the building with rectangles using the fill color (#9F8E4D) and switch their blending modes to Multiply and turn down Opacity to 50% in the Appearance panel.

Finally draw the building's roof using two rectangles (#FFFFFF) and (#CCCCCC)


Step 7

Let's go on to the third building. Draw a rectangle with the fill color #726552 and then some horizontal stripes (#B8A284) like in the previous buildings. Then draw the roof using two rectangles (#413B31) and (#2C2822).

Last draw the shadow of the other side of the building using a rectangle (#726552) and switch it to Multiply mode and set its Opacity to 75% from the Appearance panel.


Step 8

Let's proceed with the fifth building following similar steps to the previous ones. In this one, use a rectangle with fill color #7F5936 and color the stripes using #452F1A. Color the windows with #6C4825, and the roof using filling colors #7C6752 and #3F342B.

Finally set the shadow color to the same fill color as the building, its blending mode to Multiply and its Opacity to 50% from the panel Appearance.


Step 9

For the sixth building draw another rectangle (#BF9F59) taller than the previous building and set the stripes' fill color to #E1D7BF, the windows' color to #FFFFFF and the roof's color to #FFFFFF as well.

Set the shadow's blending mode to Multiply and its Opacity to 50% from the Appearance panel. Last, group the whole building (Ctrl + G) and place it behind the previous building (Ctrl + [ ).


Step 10

Now in the seventh building draw an intermediate rectangle (#AC8B43), its stripes using color #584B2F and its windows with fill color #F9EDD0. Draw the shadow like in the previous steps taking as fill color the building's color.

Last draw an antenna over the building using rectangles with fill colors #EBB285 and #FFFFFF.


Step 11

In the last building draw a rectangle smaller than the previous one (#60452A) and draw two groups of vertical stripes (#3F2E1E) leaving a space in the middle of them to separate the front and the side of the building. Then draw the windows using fill color  #AB8763.

Then draw the roof slightly overhanging the edge. Use fill colors #A78E75 and #88745F for both sides of the building. Last draw the shadow on the right side with fill color #60452A and switch its blending mode to Multiply and its Opacity to 50% from the Appearance panel.


Step 12

We've finished our skyscraper, now let's create a giant dusk sun behind the city. For this draw an ellipse and apply a linear gradient using the Gradient Tool (G).


Step 13

To top it all, draw some clouds out of ellipses using the Ellipse Tool (L) and fill color #FFFFFF. Find the shape with the help of the Shape Builder Tool (Shift + M). Make several copies (Ctrl + C → Ctrl + F) and spread them around the city's sky.



Done! This illustration is quite thorough since we've learned to do a bit of everything and I hope it really was that way and you made the most of it. I hope to see your results soon in the comment section.


What do you think of this tutorial?


In love with your city's landscape? Do you need a skyline to illustrate some project? Create an amazing landscape that will make everybody drop their jaws to the floor! What do you say? Are you in?

Tut Details

Beginner level 30m 2,939 views


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