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How to Draw Big Ben

How to Draw Big Ben

STEP 1.Hey there. Let's tackle this monster of a building. Big Ben is the clock tower on the Palace of Westminster in London, England. Well, technically it's the name of the bell inside the tower, but I wouldnt've have known that if I hadn't read it on Wikipedia. ANYWAY, let's begin, shall we? To start, draw a skewed rectangular shape for one side of the clock face. I guess that would be called a parallelogram.

STEP 2.Next we're going to draw the opposing side of the clock face with another downward parallelogram. The general shape here looks like an open greeting card.

STEP 3.Next we want to draw some vertical lines descending from the corners of the previous shapes. This will create the main shape of the tower. Note that on the outer lines, there's a small dip inward toward the top.

STEP 4.Here we're going to place a short box on top of the part that holds the clock. The width of this shape is smaller than that of the rest of the tower.

STEP 5.Next, let's draw a bell-like shape above one side of that box. This will form one side of a sloped roof.

STEP 6.Let's complete the shape on the opposing side of the tower and draw a line cutting across the bottom to indicate the underside of that roof, which overlaps the box underneath.

STEP 7.Slap a tiny box on top of that roof!

STEP 8.Leaving a small space inbetween, draw a triangular shape above the small box. Draw the bottom as a straight line, but have the sides slope inward to a point at the top.

STEP 9.Here, draw another sloping triangle shape to complete the "cone" shape, and draw connecting lines to the box below. Once again, this shows the underside of the overlapping roof.

STEP 10.Here we'll draw the roof of the actual palace that Big Ben is connected to. At the point the basic shape of the building is complete!

STEP 11.Draw a pair of parallelograms (that's a mouthful) for the borders of the actual clock face.

STEP 12.Draw a pair of verticle lines on each side of the tower below the clock section.

STEP 13.Next draw four horizontal bars along the front side of the tower, and continue those on the other side.

STEP 14.This is where we begin to add some detail. Since there is SO much detail on Big Ben, it's impossible to capture every bit of it. Thus, we're forced to simplify. The vertical "bars" on each edge of the tower are covered in grooves. Let's indicate those first by wrapping wavy, zig-zag lines around them. Match these up with the bars from Step 13.

STEP 15.Draw a row of 7 oval "pill" shapes above and below the clock section. Have the lower row be a bit bolder than the top. Just below, draw a series of 7 small arches as a guide for the next step.

STEP 16.Next draw a row of 7 vertical stripes on each square section of the tower below the clock. Use a large brush and keep the tops and bottoms rounded.

STEP 17.On the small box at the top, draw a row of 5 short stripes.

STEP 18.Using a much thinner line, mirror the previous two steps along the opposing side of the tower.

STEP 19.Moving away from the main tower for a bit, draw evenly-spaced towers along the side of the palace. If you're working on a computer, you can cheat a bit by using Copy>Paste. Make sure the tops of the towers line up with the perspective on the top of the roof.

STEP 20.Once again we're reducing the complex detail of this structure to a very, very simple form. Using simple curves, draw a peak between the small towers of the palace. Add the tops of a few towers from the opposite side of the building peering over the top of the roof.

STEP 21.Back to the main tower, draw a series of concentric circles (sharing the same center) within the square of the clock face.

STEP 22.Next draw 6 lines intersecting at the center of the circles on each clock face.

STEP 23.Erase the center of the lines from Step 22 and draw in the arms of the clock.

STEP 24.Here is where we really get into the finer details of the structure. As I mentioned before, it's nearly impossible to draw every single detail. For time's sake, we're doing to simplify and indicate some of the main details. On the triangular roof sections, note the small "window" shapes. These and the spires from the corners of the roofs are key details. Indicate the grooves of the tower's surface and small details surrounding the clock face.

STEP 25.Again keeping it very loose and simple, indicate the windows on the palace, along with some of the grooves and general details. Since Big Ben is the focus of this tutorial, I went very loose with these details.

STEP 26.Ok, this step is pretty hardcore. It's also optional. You'll notice the main lines of the tower are pretty bold and sterile. If you're on the computer, use the Eraser tool next. If you're doing this by hand, you might want to use a white gel pen or any other white paint/ink/gesso/gouache/whatever. Go in and start eating away at those bold lines with your brush. Leave the outer lines mostly intact and focus on the inner edge of those lines. Keep your marks ragged and feel free to tap around and be random. This step will transform your drawing from a collection of flat shapes to a detailed-looking, highly-rendered illustration. I could keep working on sections of this image for countless hours, but I'm going to step back, slap some color on it, and call it a day. Hope you all enjoyed!

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