Today I gave my students a quick presentation on some of the basic considerations for composition, which I am now sharing with you! I’ve given them separate talks about color and tonal value/contrast, which are also super important compositional concerns. (I’ll be sharing those presentations too once I properly format them)

I personally love learning about different compositional techniques. It’s fun to think about the ways that the brain views & sorts images, and how we can trick it into feeling a certain way or looking at certain aspects of an image first! It’s easy to fall into compositional ruts (which I am also guilty of) because a lot of art gets by with mediocre, though serviceable, compositions. If you can generally understand what’s happening in an image then it’s generally fine. However, it’s the truly great compositions, where everything in the whole image has been considered and ‘clicks’ together, that bump up an illustration to a visual slam dunk. NC Wyeth is one of my favorite artists for this reason: his compositions are rock solid, varied based on the image’s intent, and always enhance the mood or action he is depicting.

For extra reading, some online compositional resources that I’ve found helpful or interesting include:
Creative Illustration by Andrew Loomis (download it for FREE. Such a great book all-around.)
Gurney Journey (check out the “Composition” tag, but really everything he posts is great)
The Schweitzer guide to spotting tangents
Cinemosaic (a blog by Lou Romano with some truly WONDERFUL compositions captured from various films)
Where to Put the Cow by Anita Griffin

Happy composition-ing!

We’ve all seen the rule of thirds, but these have additional tips that are extremely helpful.

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