Drawing a Detailed Urban Scene: Blocking in Tones

In this series we will be creating a detailed pencil sketch from an urban subject. In this session we will be laying in general tones to start arranging the values across the drawing.

You can download the reference image here: http://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/IMG-0536-scaled.jpg


  • Pencils
  • Paper
  • Eraser


  • Begin with a few very general passes based on the general fall of light across the scene.
  • In this case the light is coming from the top left so the buildings get generally darker towards the bottom right portion of the scene.
  • After laying these general tones you can start to differentiate other larger tonal differences (such as the doors, windows and the fire escape).
  • Try to do it gradually as this approach will afford more control.
  • Keep going with this approach until all the major parts of the scene are roughed in.