How To Paint City Skyline With Space Needle
This is a tutorial of how to to paint the City Skyline “Blue & Space Needle Version”.
You may recognize this design because it is exactly like my other City Skyline painting tutorial that I did for New Years 2018! I updated this tutorial as a sort of fourth of July/ year round painting.
I just LOVE how the glowing blues look in this painting behind the buildings!
Basically, I changed the colors from all purples to blues and added The Space Needle. Also, I did all red, white and blue fireworks.
You can see the full tutorial original version here with more specific details on how to do this painting. Keep reading below to find out what colors I used and design alterations I did for the Blue Space Needle Version.
Enjoy and happy painting!!
- 12 x 16 canvas
- Acrylic Paint
- White Chalk
- Water Jar
- Easel Optional
- Cadmium Red Medium
- Mars Black
- Titanium White
- Phthalo Blue
- Light Blue Violet
- Primary Yellow
- 3/4" Flat
- #12 Bright
- #4 Round
- 10/0 Round Can be optional
- #4 Bright Can be optional
- Scroll down for more details and pictures.
- Draw the horizon line with a pencil and a ruler 1/3 up the canvas
- Paint the sky starting at the top with mars black.
- Gradually blend in phthalo blue as you work your way to about half way down the sky.
- Gradually blend in Light Blue Violet as you work your way closer to the horizon line
- Blend Titanium white above the horizon line
- Draw the skyline with chalk
- Paint the skyline with mars black
- Paint the windows with a small brush and titanium white + primary yellow
- Paint the water the same colors as the sky but start with light blue violet under the horizon line and end with mars black on the bottom.
- Paint the reflections.
- Paint the fireworks.
The video for this is the original version. Substitute deep violet for phthalo blue & quinacridone magenta for light blue violet. Do the mars black and titanium white the same.
Step By Step Directions
See more details on my original tutorial here. Or scroll down for a brief summary of each of the steps.
Draw your horizon line 1/3 up the canvas. Since I’m doing this on a 12″ x 16″ canvas, I drew my line 4″ up. Use a ruler to make the line as horizontal as possible.
Start at the top with you 3/4″ flat brush and mars black. Paint left and right strokes starting horizontal but as you work your way down a bit, go in a curved motion across the sky. Then blend in Phthalo blue with the black and go a few more inches down. Rinse off your brush and add light blue violet. Continue your way down to almost the horizon line.
As you approach the horizon line, add titanium white to your brush without rinsing it. Blend the titanium white in with the light blue violet. You should have a gradation of black to phthalo blue to light blue violet to a white/light blue violet. The bottom area above the horizon line should be bright and the top of the sky should be nice and dark.
Make sure your sky is dry. Use a piece of white chalk to draw your horizon line. It’s helpful to look at images of skylines for this step and observe the shapes. I drew the space needle with the chalk as well. If you need to erase chalk, just use a clean wet paint brush and/or a soft damp cloth.
To paint the skyline in, use mars black and a small brush that you feel most comfortable with because the buildings are a small area to paint in. I used a combo of my #4 bright and my #4 round. I also used a 10/0 liner (which is a tiny brush) to fill in even smaller areas like the point on the space needle. Note, I went outside & inside the lines a lot with the chalk drawing. This can be fixed later by erasing the chalk with a wet brush once the paint is dry.
Paint the water below the buildings. This time go in the opposite as the sky. Use your 3/4″ flat brush. Start with light blue violet. Then blend in Phthalo blue gradually and work your way to the bottom of the canvas.
Go in a sort of opposite curve direction that you did with the sky. On the very bottom of the painting, blend in mars black.
Use a #4 round brush and double load it in titanium white and primary yellow (or mix the two together on your palette). This is necessary to get the yellow to show up nice and bright against the black. Paint the windows using little dots of brush marks here and there in columns on all the buildings. To do the space needle, I added little dots of lines in rows at the top and some lines outlining the vertical columns that form its shape.
To do the reflection, use your #12 bright brush and mars black. Paint little horizontal strokes under each building. Estimate how long each reflection would be under the building but keep it simple. Then wait for that black to dry a bit. Use your #4 round brush to do the light reflections. Paint a very vertical wavy line of the same yellow/white mix you used for the windows. I also added a few dots here and there along the horizon line where the yellow reflections are.
To paint the fireworks, I used phthalo blue and titanium white for the blue fireworks, cadmium red medium and titanium white for the red fireworks and just titanium white for the white fireworks. You can use either a round brush or the tip of one of your flat brushes for this. I actually alternated between the #12 bright and the #4 round. Basically you double load the brush in the color and titanium white. You start in the middle and drag the stroke out so that it fades and dries out to a point. Do a few layers to make the firework look “fuller”. I go into a little more detail about fireworks here.
Erase your chalk lines if they still show through. And you are finished!!
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