Before starting work on a building, such as the Empire State Building, you must first poses an understanding of perspective. Let's start at the very beginning (if you already have a good grasp of how to use perspective to draw buildings, you can skip ahead to step 10 to start drawing the Empire State Building). Let's start with using one point perspective to create cubes. Using a ruler and a 2H or harder pencils, very lightly draw the horizon line (blue line) and the vanishing point (red X).
Next, draw a few squares floating in various places on the page, but not too close the vanishing point.
Draw lines from the vanishing point to the closest corners of each square (red lines). Then close off your cubes by drawing the back line of the cubes (green line), but be sure to stay within the red lines leading to the vanishing point.
Erase your unneeded guidelines leading back to the vanishing point and darken the lines of the cubes. You now have a cube created in one point perspective.
Now let's work on two point perspective. After drawing your horizon line, place two different vanishing points on opposite sides of the horizon line. This time, instead of drawing squares, just draw a few vertical lines floating on the page in various places. These lines will become the front edge of our cubes.
From the tops and bottoms of each line (cube edges), draw lines leading to both vanishing points on the page. It's ok if some of your lines run through each other because they can be erased later.
Now close off the sides of your cube in the same manner as step 3 above. But we are not done, since we still need to draw one more side of each cube.
This is where it gets a tad tricky. To finish off the cubes, we have to draw the third side on all necessary cubes. For any cube floating above the horizon line, we will draw the bottom side of the cube by drawing a lines from the bottom tips of the side edges of the cube leading to the opposite vanishing point. Similarly, for any cube floating beneath the horizon line, we will draw the top side of the cube by drawing a lines from the top tips of the side edges of the cube leading to the opposite vanishing point. Note that any cube who's front edge runs through the horizon line will not require a third edge, as it is hidden from our perspective.
Erase unneeded lines and darken up your cubes if you wish. You now know how to utilize two point perspective. These are the principle methods needed to draw buildings.
Let's get to work on the Empire State Building. Working on a wide surface, draw your horizon line and place two vanishing points on either end.
Next, create cube shape that is wider than it is tall. This will become the base of the building and act as our foundation for the rest of the structure. This section of the building is the lowest 4 levels of the 102 story tall skyscraper.
Before drawing any more of the building, we should first determine the center of the building and the center of the front of the lower levels so that we can later draw the entrance in the proper location. To find the center point of the front of the base, draw an X from corner to corner of the front, left side of the cube. Then draw a vertical line through the intersection. This marks the center of the face of the building. To find the dead center of the building as a whole (so that we can later draw the antenna in the proper spot), draw an X from corner to corner on the top of the cube. Then draw a long line protruding from the intersection. This is the very center of the entire structure.
Let's go back to the base and draw in the entrance and the decorative columns that separate the window panes. Notice how the columns do not go all the way to the ground, as the lowest level features stores and businesses. Also notice how the entryway has a slight arch to its peak, meaning you'll need to do a little erasing to make proper room for it.
Now we can draw the basic structure of the building. Using the methods we learned in steps 5-8 about two point perspective, create a very tall, rectangular shaped cube. This is the bulk of the building. On top of it are 3 smaller cubes stacked one on top of the other, which gradually get smaller as we get higher up. Be sure to utilize the proper vanishing points as you do this.
The center of the face of the building has a notch cut out of it that we need to draw in. Notice how it starts about a third of the way up the largest section of the building and cuts through the cube resting on top of the large section.
Near the base of the building, there are additional sections that protrude outward. They wrap around the base of the large section of the building, but they, too, are cut down the center by the notch.
Add in the final sections of the structure on either side of the building. One cube on the right side, and one on the furthest.
One of the most distinguishable traits of the building it's it massive antenna. Using the center guide line we created in step 12 as a reference, draw the complex antenna, which has a base of its own. The antenna is very thick near its base and gradually gets thinner as it reaches the tip.
Next, we can begin working on the windows. The Empire State Building is 102 stories high, so this task can be arduous and requires patience. You do not need to draw every single level unless you want the image to be 100% true to life. Instead, you can simply draw a very large number of windows to suggest there are many levels. Or you can draw numerous scattered windows that suggest the same thing. You will see an example of the columns of windows in this step. Each section has 4 panes of glass, and each section is separated by concrete. Let's first draw the many vertical lines that separate the panes of glass. The panes are slightly large on the sections near the base of the building.
Now draw the horizontal lines that close off the window panes, which make them square shaped. Be sure to watch your vanishing points. Again, this process can be rather tedious, so, depending on the usage of the illustration, you do not necessarily have to draw every single window.
There are a few windows near the upper and lower levels that have arches above them. Also take this time to draw the crisscross window pattern in the entrance of the building, as well as the American flag, which is above the entrance.
Going back to the windows, we must now erase many of the horizontal lines that cut through the vertical concrete columns which separate the sections of windows. If you feel confident enough to ink the windows prior to erasing these lines, feel free to do so in the next step.
Finally, carefully ink the image using a ruler and Micron marker or Copic Multiliner. Be certain to ink every needed line, but not any of the unneeded guide lines. After you are finished inking, erase your pencil marks with a kneaded eraser. And that's that! You now know how to draw the infamous Empire State Building!
DragoArt members upload artwork and drawing tutorials! They are also allowed to leave comments on tutorials, profiles, etc. Many more features, as well; it's way better than just being a boring guest!