Welcome back! I've really appreciated the comments you've been making this week. Thank you for letting me know that you're enjoying our exploration of design, even if the posts are a tad long. Today's post promises to be much shorter, but not any the less interesting. We'll be looking at composition today. The definition I found at About.com by Marion Boddy-Evans reads as follows:
Composition is the term used for the arrangements of the elements in or the subject matter of a painting. A successful composition draws in the viewer and pulls their eye across the whole painting so that everything is taken in and finally settles on the main subject of the painting.
In his Notes of a Painter, Henri Matisse defined composition this way: "Composition is the art of arranging in a decorative manner the diverse elements at the painter's command to express his feelings."
There are lots of rules (waiting patiently to be broken), but we're going to talk about three today, definitions again courtesy of Wikipedia.
THE RULE OF THIRDS states that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections.
This Rosie the Riveter poster is a great example of the Rule of Thirds. her face is in the top left third, her bent elbow in the lower right, the two things that really stand our in this design. If you follow the rules, good design can be timeless.
I try to use this rule as much as I can in my photography, but it can also be used in designing your scrapbook page. 3x3 grid designs are an easy way to use this rule. Looking through my designs, I find that I don't use grids very much, I vow to do it more! Here's the closest I could find, although each grid is not completely filled:
THE RULE OF ODDS states that by framing the object of interest in an artwork with an even number of surrounding objects, it becomes more comforting to the eye, thus creates a feeling of ease and pleasure. It is based on the assumption that humans tend to find visual images that reflect their own preferences/wishes in life more pleasing and attractive.
An image of a person surrounded/framed by two other persons, for instance, where the person in the center is the object of interest in that image/artwork, is more likely to be perceived as friendly and comforting by the viewer, than an image of a single person with no significant surroundings.
Here are a couple of examples for you, the first from Country Living magazine.
This second one cracks me up, it's called Walking Typewriters by graphic designer Kevin Lucius (you can buy his work on Etsy. Cool.). Note the Rule of Odds is employed a few different ways? The three typewriters and the five hands you see when you look across the page. Very clever.
And from my own personal collection of scrapbook pages...as many times as I use this rule, I find I break it just as quickly. Rules are meant to be broken, right? But here's an example of 5 speech bubbles to show I can do it. :)
THE RULE OF SPACE applies to artwork (photography, advertising, illustration) picturing object(s) to which the artist wants to apply the illusion of movement, or which is supposed to create a contextual bubble in the viewer's mind.
This can be achieved, for instance, by leaving white space in the direction the eyes of a portrayed person are looking, or, when picturing a runner, adding white space in front of him rather than behind him to indicate movement.
I use this rule in my photography a lot, then I'll use that space to do my journaling in or I'll put my titlework in the empty space.
Basically anytime you use white space, you're apply this rule to your composition. Pretty easy, huh? Here's a really fun article on white space, called My Problem With White Space by Matt Ward. I understand Matt's point of view, white space gets on my daughter's nerves when I share my work with her. She's starting to embrace it though, which makes this white-space-loving momma happy.
And just a P.S. (of sorts, since it's not really a the end of my post, it's really an M.S.--mid script, sorry. I digress.) in case you might be asking: white space doesn't have to be white, it can be brown (or red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, or anything in between.) as in this example from Alyssasezello.
Though not rules, here are a few other pointers that you can add to your arsenal of design information:
Other techniques (from Wikipedia)
- There should be a center of interest or focus in the work, to prevent it becoming a pattern in itself;
- The direction followed by the viewer's eye should lead the viewer's gaze around all elements in the work before leading out of the picture;
- The subject should not be facing out of the image;
- A moving subject should have space in front;
- Exact bisections of the picture space should be avoided;
- Small, high contrast, elements have as much impact as larger, duller elements;
- The prominent subject should be off-centre, unless a symmetrical or formal composition is desired, and can be balanced by smaller satellite elements
- the horizon line should not divide the art work in two equal parts but be positioned to emphasize either the sky or ground; showing more sky if painting is of clouds, sun rise/set, and more ground if a landscape.
Finally, in my searching for information on design, I ran into this delightful missive by Marvin Bartel, an artist and former professor from Goshen, Indiana. It's called Percy's Principles of Composition and I enjoyed reading through it so much, I thought you might too. It's Mr. Bartel's personal list of principles. He encourages you to make your own as well. So, let's think about that today, yes?
We've got a great giveaway for you tomorrow, please be sure to come back to check it out. Tell all your friends about it too! :)