It’s a bit of a fiddle to get the feel for the right width of streets, alleyways and bridges to fit in lanes, sidewalks and tramlines. But attention to detail matters and it pays off to be pedantic here from the beginning.
I start with Friedrichstrasse train station as it is in a very central position of the image and anyway, I always love those superimposed multi level transport lines crisscrossing a city by bridges and viaducts. Also, I want to make sure the railway tracks will have smooth and elegant curves in the end and no unpleasant kinks. So I draw them as a whole, keeping an eye on the overall shape before I’ll add any buildings that will partially hide them.
At this stage my preferred tool is still the soft and thick marker pen. I feel like the painter with a brush deciding about the big outlines of a composition. It must be dynamic, bold and flowing smoothly. Too hard a pen would dry out the creative flow ;-)
I quickly blitz of the area in the foreground, between the river and the tracks with a first, rough draft of the existing structures and buildings. Checking on bing maps birds’ eye view mode gives me an idea what each individual block looks like and will help me making the decision which characteristic buildings to pick out besides the obvious landmarks.