Composing Your Picture

Every picture must have a focal point where the artist places the most interesting shapes and elements to create the center of interest. To start the thinking process, we must first consider the composition. The dictionary says: "Composition is the art of combining parts or elements to form a whole."

Let's say you have found an area that you wish to develop into a picture. Start with visual thinking—putting your thoughts about what you see and feel down on paper. Decide on either a horizontal or vertical format. Make some rough sketches of what you want your picture to look like. This is visual thinking: You are developing your composition, creating a center of interest by balancing the elements, moving or eliminating objects, deciding your values, and trying various combinations of foreground, middle ground and background.

Your sketches can be only as suggestive as you wish. Their main purpose is to arrive at a good working composition. Besides, they are fun to do!

Nature Sketches

Horizontal Format

I was drawn to the horizontal format to depict this array of trees and bushes because of the way they were growing. I used my thumbnail sketches and viewfinder to help me make a selection.

Female Anatomy Line Drawings

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