Thursday, March 06, 2008

Drawing Tip #1: Composition

While my koala is being finished, I thought I'd take some time to start a series of entries I've been thinking about. I hope to have a bunch of these drawing tips over time.

Any good drawing starts with good composition. Unless you are doing a portrait, the arrangement of your subject(s) will greatly change the outcome of the final drawing. There are a few simple rules to follow:
  • Use the 1/3 rule: that is, don't place your subject in the middle. Place interesting parts 1/3 of the way from any side, or even better, 1/3 from two consecutive sides.
  • Get in close. You don't have to include a whole face or whole body to make a good picture. Body parts can hang off the edge of the paper.
  • Never intersect a corner. If you have, say, tree branches, don't let them go off the paper at a corner. Go just above or below instead.
  • Use contrast to your advantage. This is especially important for black and white work. Include bright whites and dark blacks to make your drawing pop. I've seen a lot of technically good drawings that were just a lot of one shade of gray. It made them uninteresting. Use light and shadow to help with this.
Also, use your instinct. What do you think will look interesting? Consider the pose of your subject, the interaction of it with its surroundings, and the background. Make it pop.

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