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City at sunset
Step-by-step plan

City at sunset

One of the most easily identifiable elements of a Japanese city is the presence of overhead power lines on every street. We tried to capture this iconic element of Japanese city life in this oil pastel drawing of a shopping street at sunset.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Sakura, our Japanese brand, in 2021, we would like to share this oil pastel drawing of a Japanese street at sunset with you. We used Sakura’s iconic Cray-Pas Expressionist oil pastels to create vibrant colour gradients and bold contrasts. Let’s get started!

Step 1

Roughly sketch out the shopping street using the mechanical pencil. The sketch will just act as a guide for your colour placement, so there is no need to add too many details, except for those iconic overhead power lines!

Step 1

Step 2

Use the white shade of the Cray-Pas Expressionist set to cover the sky in the background. The white acts as a base to be able to blend the following colours better. Avoid the buildings you drew in your sketch and focus on the background.

Step 2

Step 3

Use the grey shade of the Cray-Pas pastels at the top of the sky and blend it out using your finger. You can see the grey starts blending in with the white to create a softer, smoother colour transition.

Step 3

Step 4

To depict the sunset, add some nice orange, pink and red hues to the sky. Blend these colours out again with your finger to create a smooth colour gradient.

Step 4

Step 5

While the sky has a nice soft gradient, we want the shops to contrast that softness by colouring them in with harsh, dark shades.

Do not be afraid to use black! You can easily cover darker colours using lighter shades, since Cray-Pas layers exceptionally well.  

Step 5

Step 6

The setting sun is still reflecting off the buildings, so remember to add a few highlights to the fronts of the shops using pink and brown shades.

Step 6

Step 7

Add details to the streetlights using yellow shades (yellow ochre and bright yellow). Streetlights give off a harsher light, so it is okay if these colours are not blended to be a soft hue.

Step 7

Step 8

The fine lines of your drawing have become a little smudged when we created the background. Oil pastels are not the best to create fine lines with, so go back in with your mechanical pencil to accentuate power lines and the lamp posts. Because the paper has become greasy from the oil pastels, your mechanical pencil will easily glide across and draw clear lines.

Step 8

Step 9

This completes your shopping street! Feel free to leave some of the paper blank, doing so creates a mysterious effect.

If you try creating something like this, please share it with us using #RoyalTalens! We would love to see your interpretation!

Step 9

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