1. Compositional Theories of Art Composition: An orderlyarrangement of elements using the principles of design. 2. Rule of Thirds Imagine a grid that splits the frame into thirds both vertically and horizontally. Place the subject along those gridlines. The intersections of the lines are especially compelling places to position your subject.The Biglen Brothers Racing (1873) Thomas Eakins 3. Rule of Thirds Imagine a grid that splits the frame into thirds both vertically and horizontally. Place the subject along those gridlines. The intersections of the lines are especially compelling places to position your subject.The Biglen Brothers Racing (1873) Thomas Eakins 4. The GoldenRectangleBased on theGolden Ratio,aka the
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The frame helps draw the viewer’s eye to the main subject. Framing can also be used to create a sense of depth, or to provide a context for the artwork.Noli Me Tangere (1440-1441) Fra Angelico 12. Simplify Try to eliminate unnecessary items from your composition – they will only distract the viewer.Colour Beginning (1819) Joseph Mallord William Turner 13. Fill the Frame It is not always necessary for the entire subject to be included in the composition. Sometimes it is more effective, and interesting, to crop the edges of your main subject.Pineapple Bud (1939) Georgia O’Keeffe 14. Active Space It is important when you are depicting action, that you leave space between the side of the frame and the subject. If you do not do this, the artwork will feel unbalanced.The Walk to Work (1851) Jean-Francois Millet
In the first two sections of this primer, we covered the basic elements of design, and the basic principles of design. In this section, we’ll cover the basic principles of composition.
There are a variety of different composition theories you should familiarize yourself with. Since this is just a primer, there’s a brief overview of the most common and important theories. You’ll want to study each in more depth before putting them to use, so we’ve included some additional resources for each.
The single visual method of composition is where a single, generally