This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

Turning off content to learn composition

If you can draw individual things, and would like to combine them together, you are interested in composition. Visual composition is the arrangement of various elements. Like great acting, people can recognize great composition, but also like great acting, not everyone can do it.
The first step to learn composition is to mentally "turn off" the content. Look at the image above. The dog, the plants, the rocks, the wall, etc. are the content. Someone who can create good composition learns to see them only as shapes and colors. If you can't do that, don't be discouraged, most people can't. And it takes a lot of practice. Try this - squint your eyes until you really can't make out anything but the shapes and the light and dark areas. You should see the composition split in the middle, dark on the right, light on the left. This is the beginning, what I describe as "turning off content".

When you are really not thinking about a dog, or a palm tree, or a rock, you can begin to see the composition. Look at the shadows cast by the palm tree fronds on the rock. In fact, look at the shadows. In this composition, darks and lights are the major elements. Good composition is everywhere. Every frame of a movie is a composition done by the director. Great composition can make the ordinary extraordinary.

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