Cityscape Artwork – We Built This City


Written by Sarah Said from @miss_said_said

Thanks to Sarah from @miss_said_said for providing us with this detailed lesson plan for creating her gorgeous cityscape artwork.

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Lesson Focus: We Built this City

The lesson focuses on reflection upon built environments. Students draw on color changes from one to the next to make the skyscape gradient in the background of their picture. Students understand that their environment can be natural as well as built.

Cityscape Artwork

Materials Needed:

For the gradient background:

  • A3 paper art paper
  • Red, yellow, blue, green, orange, pink, purple & white paint.
  • Paint brushes

For the cityscape

  • Black A4 paper
  • Lead pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Black pen or crayon for shadow


  1. Students begin with the A3 art paper page in a portrait position.
  2. Students start with warm colors from the color wheels (red, pink, etc) and paint horizontal thick stripes across the page.
  3. Next, students select the color next to their start color on the color wheel and blend the two colors together.
  4. Students continue mixing the colors to create a gradient from one color to the next transitioning slowing and smoothly to create flow.
  5. Students continue the process until their A3 page is painted from top (warm colors) to bottom (cool colors).
  6. Once students have painted their background, allow to fully dry.
  7. Using black paper, students draw buildings, towers, bridges etc. to create a cityscape. Students may choose to draw famous landmarks/buildings but do not have to. Students are encouraged to put windows in their towers to allow for the gradient background to show through.
  8. Glue the black paper cityscapes horizontally across the centre of the gradient background.
  9. Using a black pen or black crayon, draw the shadow of the building under the cityscape, as if reflecting on water.

Cityscape Artwork

Cityscape Artwork

Cityscape Artwork

Cityscape Artwork

Cityscape Artwork

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