Draw an Urban Street Scene Using Procreate's perspective Guide

In this post, I’ll be showing you how I utilized the Procreate perspective drawing guide feature to illustrate this urban street scene. 

Perspective depicts the visual effect in which objects get smaller as they get further away. It can produce an impression of depth in a drawing. Perspective helps represent flat objects as three-dimensional. Note: In this article, I am referring mainly to linear perspective. I touch on atmospheric perspective in my How to Draw Environments tutorial.

Perspective can be depicted as one-point, two-point, or three-point. Which one you use depends on the angle at which you are viewing your subject. In all of these cases, lines converge off into the distance into one, two, or three vanishing points. A vanishing point is a specific spot on the horizon line. 

Luckily, Procreate has a super handy perspective Drawing Guide feature that makes it easy to apply this structure to your work.

Use a reference photo

For my urban street illustration (one of the prompts for week 48 of MAE), I decided to work from a reference photo. I did a Google image search for “street scene” and came across the picture below. (source)

This is the image I found to use as a reference. Not super exciting, but I wanted to see if I could make something interesting out of it. Plus I liked all the trees.

Turn on Procreate's Perspective drawing guide

The drawing guide feature can be found under the Options menu. Turn on the switch for “Drawing Guide, then tap “Edit Drawing Guide.” There are several drawing guides, but we’ll use the “Perspective” one. (Tap anywhere on the canvas to set you vanishing point. You can set two or three-point perspective by making additional taps on the canvas.) Also, be sure to enable “Assisted Drawing.”

Use your sketch as a Procreate reference layer

You’ll now see that any lines you draw will snap to this one-point perspective. It’s easiest if you start your lines from the edges of the canvas inward. Look at your reference photos and draw in the lines that will help guide YOUR illustration. For me, this meant the edges of the streets and sidewalks, the tops of buildings and windows, planter boxes, etc. You don’t have to draw EVERYTHING. This part is just about giving yourself guides as you work on your sketch in the next step.

Draw the sketch freehand

I wanted my artwork to have a looser look, so for the actual sketch, I wanted to free-hand draw everything. Reduce the opacity of the layer containing the perspective lines, and create a new layer on top of it. Using the perspective lines to guide you, sketch out all the shapes and details. This is my final sketch.

Create a Color Plan

The next step is to create a color plan. On a separate layer below your sketch, block in the colors you plan on using in your final art. Remember, this can be rough! It’s just a guide to help you create your final art.

Begin Final Art

Now it’s time to make the final art. I decided to render this piece by making all of the main shapes in flat color with a bit of painterly texture. 

Then, on a layer above all the others, I used line art to draw in my details. As you can see, I left out some of the details, and changed some things from my sketch. Remember that pieces can evolve as you go, and it’s perfectly fine not to stick to your original plan!

The brushes I used from the piece are from an update of Gouache Paintbox I’m working on. This set is being made with Procreate 5 (set to be released later this year!) and utilizes many of the new brush capabilities in this significant software update. I cannot wait to share it with you all. I think you’re going to love it!

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