Hugh Ferriss was an architectural illustrator known for his dramatic renderings of early skyscraper designs. He sketched from observation, but he also worked from imagination when commissioned to visualize proposed structures.
How did he achieve such accurate perspective, but also such a sense of drama and atmosphere?
"The first stage is a rough layout of the streetscape and the foreground traffic." (According to Drafting Room Practice by Eugene Clute, 1928, quoted in the blog Beyond Illustration). Note that important details of the building at far left are still unresolved.
"The second image shows a general defining of the forms by establishing values throughout."
Ferriss made this drawing of an existing building, the magnificent Venetian-styled Madison Square Garden, before it was torn down in 1925. Note the unified dark tones of the foreground, and the counterchange from light-against-dark at the base of the tower to dark-against-light at the top.
Books on Ferriss: The Metropolis of Tomorrow (Reprint)