Composition Part 2

Staring at a blank canvas or page can be quite intimidating for most people. There are a few tricks that artists use to alleviate that initial fear.

Some artists throw an undercoat of paint onto the surface. Knowing this layer will be covered can calm the nerves and loosen up your brushstroke movements.

Another tactic is to break up the surface using compositional rules eluded to in my blog post Composition Part 1.

The more you create, you start seeing that these compositional rules are in various visual mediums such as photography, film, painting, sculpting, architecture, graphic design and the fibre arts.

Follow these simple steps to utilize the compositional design principles.

1. BREAK THE SURFACE INTO SECTIONS

a) FRAME

Keep the frame whole and intact yet contained within the surface. See how in the below photo, the leaves create a frame around the mountain view?

b) SYMMETRY

Use symmetry to break the frame in halves. It can either be split down the center vertical or horizontal. Mirror or repeat in both sections. Or you can also use negative space of emptiness to balance the filled-in section.

c) THE GOLDEN MEAN

Break the surface into thirds or using the Rule of Thirds based on the fibonnaci sequence also referred to as the Golden Ratio or the Golden Mean and is found in nature. This can be done either vertically, horizontally or both to create a grid.

2. ADD SIMPLE SHAPED SECTIONS

But make sure not to over complicate the design. Keep it super simple for clarity and effectiveness.

a) CIRCLE

Use a circle section to create a bulls-eye effect. Place the circle any where on the surface but it must relate with the above grids in some way for better success.

b) DIAGONAL

Use directional diagonals, triangles, pyramid, or diamonds sections. Reinforce the sections with actual lines in the image or use implied perspective lines.

c) SPIRAL

A spiral composition creates movement on a surface.

d) ARCHES

Arches create direction just like diagonals.

Now that you have broken your white space down into sections, it makes it much easier to visualize what goes into each section. Continue on building your composition with these next steps in Composition Part 3.