How to Draw New York Step-by-Step

New York state is one of the most important states in the Union, with its third largest population and largest city, New York. Unlike some states such as Colorado or Wyoming, New York is more difficult to draw because its contours move around multiple Great Lakes, five states, Canada and the Atlantic Ocean on the bottom southeast corner. Even without a map, drawing New York can be simplified if one remembers three key things (even before drawing): New York tapers off towards the west, the state's length is greater than its height, and the state straightens out along the New England-state and Pennsylvania borders.

Things You'll Need

  • Pen or Pencil

  • Paper

  • Ruler

  • Map (if necessary)

Drawing the Outer Contour of New York State

Step 1

The border up from New York City up to the top of Canada/Lake Champlain is fairly straight. Draw a 4-inch line on the right side of a piece of paper.

Step 2

Continuing counter-clockwise, from the top, draw a straight line across the top 1.25 inches long. This is the top border between New York and Canada.

Step 3

Draw another 1.25-inch line heading west at a 150-degree angle from the top line. This is the rest of the Canadian border, heading toward Lake Ontario.

Step 4

Draw a line curving half an inch down, and an inch across, to form the first part of the New York border with Lake Ontario.

Step 5

Continue the line moving west now for an inch. Now you have the entire top contour of the state, going all the way from Lake Champlain to Niagara Falls.

Step 6

The western border of the state is more difficult. Draw a half-inch line going down, but moving slightly eastward, then draw a line 7/8 of an inch going west again at a 90-degree angle from the last line. Then draw a small line .25 inches long going straight down.

Step 7

The next step is easy. From the last point, draw a straight line 3.5 inches across. This is the border of New York and Pennsylvania.

Step 8

Draw a line moving due southeast at a 135-degree angle from the last line. Draw a small nub to connect this line to the first line that you drew, to create Manhattan and the Palisades.

Step 9

The only thing left to draw is Long Island. From the last point, draw a thin oval 2 inches long and only .25 inches wide, to make the island.

Labeling Important Cities and Rivers.

Step 1

New York City –– this lies at the bottom of the southeast tip of the state.

Step 2

Buffalo –– this lies in between the two lines which form the westernmost boundary of the state.

Step 3

Albany and the Hudson River –– the river moves parallel to the eastern border inset about 3/8 of an inch. The river moves slightly west and ends 3/4 of the way up the state. Albany lies halfway up the river.

Step 4

Rochester –– this lies about halfway along the Lake Ontario portion of the northern border.

Step 5

Syracuse –– if you draw a line between Rochester and Albany, Syracuse lies about halfway along this line, although slightly closer to Rochester.


These directions create an approximation of the map of New York state. For a more precise map drawing, it's probably best to consult a map itself to help draw the state.

Also, it is easier to draw the state with a ruler, and maybe even a protractor, although eyeballing it should be enough if one is only drawing an approximate representation of New York.


This should not be a dangerous activity.

References & Resources