How to Draw a Bird's-Eye View of a City

By Mark Stansberry; Updated April 25, 2017
Building sides in a birds-eye view converge to a vanishing point.

Being able to draw a bird's-eye view of a city will produce drawings that can be used in video games, e-learning tools and maps. Bird's-eye views are used in advanced 3-D simulation games, such as those that let you fly a virtual aircraft. Drawing techniques for bird's-eye views can also be used to draw underwater cities. Drawing a bird's-eye view of a city is not difficult. Simple bird's-eye views can be drawn with just one vanishing point, the point on the paper where all the drawing lines converge.

Draw a diagonal from the upper left edge of your paper to the lower right edge of the paper. Draw another diagonal from the lower left edge to the upper right edge. Label the point where the two lines intersect as "CVP" for "central vanishing point."

Draw a rectangle that has a height of 1 inch and a width of 2 inches with its right lower vertex positioned on the lower edge of the paper and 2 inches to the right of point "CVP." Label the lower left vertex of the rectangle "A," the upper left vertex "B," the upper right vertex "C" and the lower right vertex "D."

Draw a line between point "B" and "CVP." Label this line as "BCVP." Draw a line between point "C" and point "CVP." Label this line as "CCVP."

Draw a horizontal line 1 inch above line "BC" on the rectangle that extends the length of the paper. Label this line as "SL" for "street level building line." Label the point where line "SL" intersects line "BCVP" as point "E." Label the point where line "SL" intersects line "CCVP" as point "F."

Draw a vertical line from point "F" on the rectangle to the lower edge of the paper. Draw a line from point "D" on the rectangle to the "CVP." Label the point where these two lines intersect as point "G."

Darken the lines of the building -- lines AB, BE, EF, FG, GD, AD, BC and CF -- to distinguish the building from the other lines, known as the construction lines.

Draw windows on the four-sided polygon "BEFC" in the same fashion as the polygon "BEFC" was drawn (two lines parallel to the lower edge of the paper and two lines that converge to the "CVP").

Repeat the above procedure using the street line and the lower edge of the paper to construct buildings to the left and right of the original building constructed. Begin each new building with a rectangle that is completely to the left or right of any other rectangles constructed. Ensure that each new rectangle has a height that stops short of the street line.

Tip

When constructing buildings to the left of the central vanishing point, the top side, the front side and the right side of the building are constructed. Because the left side of the building cannot be seen on a building that is to the left of the central vanishing point, the left side is not constructed. When constructing buildings to the right of the central vanishing point, the top side, the front side and the left side of the building are constructed. Because the right side of the building cannot be seen on a building to the right of the central vanishing point, the right side is not constructed.

About the Author

Mark Stansberry has been a technical and business writer over for 15 years. He has been published in leading technical and business publications such as "Red Herring," "EDN" and "BCC Research." His present writing focus is on computer applications programming, graphic design automation, 3D linear perspective and fractal technology. Stansberry has a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from San Jose State University.