Examples Focal Points Drawing

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Opposite: Further examples of ways in which the viewer's eye can be directed towards the centre of interest.

Single lines or obvious pathways are not the only means that we can use to lead the eye along a predetermined route within the picture area. A line of objects may be used, or even a number of items so placed that they direct the attention towards the focal point. The illustration at the bottom of this page is an example of this: the objects cluttered in the foreground all play a part in focusing attention on the two young women peeping through an aperture in the partition.

In fact, with a little imagination, almost anything can be utilized to direct the eye and mind of the viewer. Human beings are instinctively cooperative beasts (and this applies to almost everyone): no matter how perverse our individual nature might be, we will 'read' your picture in exactly the way you dictate. Our eyes will inevitably follow the path you lay out.

You can make use of the social nature of your fellow humans in other ways. Because we all have the natural tendency to involve ourselves in other people's business, if you draw someone in your picture looking towards the centre of interest you create invisible direction lines that urge our eyes to follow suit.

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Creating pictures which catch the imagination demands more than a grasp of the principles of picture composition allied to the ability to draw convincingly. The picture must be so organized that it offers a visual experience which is in some way new. This is not to say that we must constantly be in search of novelty but rather that, however familiar our subject, we must find ways of making [ our drawing of that subject unique.

Every shape in a drawing has two functions: as a flat shape on | the surface of the paper and as a representation of something. For example, the rhomboid at the top of this page is not just a I rhomboid: it is also a representation in depth of a square table-top. For a composition to be successful, both these ways of | looking at an image must be taken into account.

Shown at the left are two versions of the same illustration I showing a monk buying seeds at a market-stall. The second one is evidently more successful than the first, but why? It is because the shapes it makes on the page are more interesting. To show

this up clearly I have painted everything in the second picture black. The silhouette that results is quite intriguing, with interesting projections jutting out in all directions and several small, oddly-shaped holes.

But this total shape is not all there is to it. The seemingly haphazard stack of primitive garden tools makes another intriguing shape, as does the shadow area on the monk's habit, and the combined outline of the people and stalls in the background presents yet another. All over this picture, elements are juxtaposed and overlapped in such a way that interesting shapes and patterns result.

In all the other illustrations on these two pages the shapes of figures and objects are grouped, combined and overlapped to create interesting arrangements. These unfamiliar shape-combinations give us the means to make every drawing unique. Anyone who looks at it will be subconsciously aware of their effect, and thus attracted by the drawing. They are the means by which we stir the viewer's imagination. Without them, the drawing is dull.

Top: Illustration from In a Monastery Garden, written by E. and R. Peplow. [Copyright© David & Charles pic.] Above: Illustration from The Fox, written by Ron Tiner and M. Blanchett. [Copyright © Fleetway 1991.] Left: Illustration from Clancy's Casebook, written by B. Cassells and I. Lowden. [Copyright © Oliver & Boyd Ltd.] Below: Illustration from The Rat Pack [Copyright © Fleetway 1991.] Opposite, centre: Illustration from In a Monastery Garden. [Copyright © David & Charles pic.] Opposite, bottom: Illustration from Black Jack the Footpad, written by E. Cowan. [Copyright © D. C. Thompson.]

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