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compositional study and finished painting

The primary function of this sketch by Keith Thompson is a study of composition and the gestures of the characters. The sketch captures many of the key elements that make up a finished piece of art—the sense of depth, the placing of focal points, and how the eye is led through the picture. If you are working on a particularly high-contrast piece, you might want to include some quick tonal work in the sketch as well, as it will affect the composition.

1. Ail art should have a focal point. In this piece there is a hierarchy of descending foci. The point at which the weapons clash and the negative space around it framed by their faces makes a very dominant focus.

2. The artist has to take care not to allow the initial sketch to limit the final art. Improvements should usually be worked in as work proceeds. These additions should always hinge on and serve the original composition. In this example, note how the clouds frame and work with the characters in the final piece.

3. Secondary focal points lead the eye through the painting.

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