Cityscape Art

As part of our art studies I like to teach the kids about the different kinds of pieces that artists  make – still life, portraits, landscapes – you get the idea. One that seems to be often overlooked is the cityscape.  We looked at several cityscape pictures and noticed that while more natural landscapes tend to have organic, irregular shapes, cityscapes tend to be with very simple, geometric ones.

We began with a horizon line, in this case, the street.  All the structures must be tied into the horizon line in a cityscape (unless you want the buildings to look like they’re floating in the air!)  We cut out a street from black construction paper and glued it to our blue construction paper background.  That created the horizon line.

Next, the kids used any colors they wanted to to cut out tall buildings using simple geometric shapes of different sizes.  The one I pictured was done by my 4 year-old with very little help from me.  That’s the beauty of cityscapes – their straight lines make things very simple!


Finally, we added details.  A black marker was used to add windows and doors to the buildings, yellow chalk, white out, or a metallic pen make perfect dashes on the street.  You can also create white clouds with white chalk if you’d like.

Older kids could add cut-outs of people, cars, fire hydrants, or anything else they’d like to.

Additional layers:

  • Discuss the idea of organic versus geometric shapes.
  • Imagine back to the time before your city (or a nearby city) was there.  If it were all just the natural land and you were creating a landscape picture, what colors would you use?  Now compare that with the colors you would use if you made a picture of the city as it looks today.
  • Make a replica of your cityscape art on another day or another time.  Create the same scene, except in the wintertime or make a picture of what it looks like at night.




    1. Have you ever read “Mrs. Tortino’s Return To The Sun? It’s about a little old lady who lives in a house in the middle of a city. The skyscrapers are blocking her sun and the noise is terrible, but she doesn’t want to let go of the house that’s been in her family for generations, so she won’t sell it to the developers who are always knocking on her door. Finally, a builder comes along who says he’ll build a building UNDER her house. He raises her house up floor by floor and she ends up happily on top of skyscraper with sunlight galore. It’s really cute. It would be fun to put a little house on top of one of the buildings that belongs to Mrs. Tortino! Thanks for stopping by!

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