Today is apparently Skyscraper Day, which is meant to pay homage to those wildly tall man-made structures that have the audacity to burst through the clouds at over 40 stories tall. Since I typically sketch close-up things, this one was a bit of a challenge. I chose Shanghai simply because I think it’s a cool skyline and then quickly doodled and washed it in a far looser style than usual hoping enough bits would come through to create a recognizable cityscape. I also chose this particular view because, as an adult, I’m actually rather terrified of heights. I go a bit weak in the knees and get a little woozy when standing at the top of a skyscraper. Though I’ve always had dreams of flying, since I don’t have wings, the whole experience of being that high in the air becomes a bit daunting. Philippe has no fear of tall buildings, so when we visited New York a few years ago there are photos of us where we’re standing atop one and he’s smiling perfectly and my smile is visibly strained. Though I like to believe this is something only I can notice and everyone else thinks I’m perfectly composed. But one does have to marvel at man’s ability to create buildings taller than some mountains.
Despite man’s marvels, nature does still win out as Mount Everest is 8,848 meters high while the world’s current tallest skyscraper, Burj Khalifa in Dubai, is a mere 828 meters high. Yep, you could stack 10 Burj Khalifas and Everest would still come out on top. But, I’m still impressed and love city skylines. Our own skyline here in Kansas City isn’t very famous, but it always manages to make my heart smile each time I see it when heading back from the airport. It’s the first thing I see in the distance to let me know that soon, I’ll be happily back at home again. Our tallest building is a mere 624 meters and is only one of two in the city that would qualify as an actual skyscraper. The other, with a few more floors, but lower ceilings, is a hotel. And yet, our tallest building is still the tallest in the state, even beating out St. Louis, so that, I guess, is something to engender a bit of pride. As our little city continues to grow and thrive, more buildings are being built along the way. It will be interesting to see what everything looks like a decade from now.
I’m actually quite happy to live in a city where skyscrapers aren’t abundant. While amazing and cool, it’s also a sign of far too many people inhabiting the same space. My own city is a good size that feels energetic and exciting without that added bit of claustrophobia. When Philippe and I visited New York it was also to see if something like that would be more appealing to someone coming from Paris. It wasn’t. He didn’t like it at all and thought it was far too congested and cramped for him. I was so relieved as I didn’t really want to move to New York, but would have done so if that were a requirement. One never thinks that after spending their life in Paris they might end up in the middle of the United States instead. I’m sure there are many days that Philippe still marvels at that turn of events. Yet today, we’re quite happy with our little location. And if we head up to our rooftop deck we can even get a view of our little city’s tallest building and take a brief moment to celebrate the wonders of fate and enjoy Skyscraper Day.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Quinacridone Red, Cobalt Turquoise, and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!