Composition in Art Explained

Composition in Art Explained



get ready for one of the most important videos you'll be watching as an artist in the next few minutes you'll learn everything you need to know about composition like focal points balance and contrast color shape value activity or focus using leading lines the rule of thirds symmetry the golden ratio and more let's get started right away so what's composition simply put composition is a term that is used to describe the way visual elements in an artwork are arranged this can be a painting drawing photo or other piece of artwork the famous painter Hari Matisse once said composition is the art of arranging in a decorative manner the diverse elements at the painters command to express his feelings so why is composition important when it comes to art as an artist there is a decent chance you want to tell a story or send a message through your art or perhaps you just want to relax the viewer or give the viewer a sense of excitement when telling a story it is important that your story is readable like a book it's hard to read a book in which the words are all scrambled or in which the chapters are all placed in random order so how do you make the story in your artwork readable that's where a composition comes into play a good composition is a pleasing arrangement of shapes colors and values it's something you can probably manage quite decently intuitively but if you want your artwork to stand out and be sure that the story in your artwork is readable then you can take it a step further and use the power of composition to your advantage let's compare a composition to a book again the book will have a main character and it will have a genre in a world of art we'll call these the focal points and the balance the focal point or main character of the story is to point towards which the eye of the viewer will automatically get from the artwork will also have an amount of balance or imbalance which will contribute to the mood in a painting imbalance will cause a sense of tension while a balance painting will feel more calm the balance and focal points always work together to tell the story in an artwork well let's dive into the subject of focal points first how can you direct the viewers eye towards your desired focal point you can do this by using contrast faces and guiding lines adding contrast to guide the eye to the focal point can be done in different ways using color and saturation for example by using a contrasting color for your focal point you can really make your subject stand out but you could also add contrast by giving the focal point a more saturated color than the surrounding elements take this image by Nathan Fox for instance you can see how you make use of cool and warm colors to guide the eye the warm colors of the building at the top of the hill and the warm colors behind puss-in-boots will attract the viewers eye because they are contrasting against the cool colors of the surroundings or what do you think of this painting the red clearly pops out it helps that red is the complementary color of green the dome is also standing out because of the shape the round shape of the dome contrasts against the more angular shape surrounding it using shape is another way to let your focal points stand out you just saw that a round shape in the middle of angular shapes will attract attention you can also clearly see that in this image by Ross trend your eye immediately gets drawn to the lady because of a round umbrella amongst all those angular shapes another way to let your focal point attract the attention of your viewer is by using values with values we mean how dark or light and element is by giving the focal points a different range of values you can make it stand out against the other elements your artwork in His image by Bobby Chiu you can see how he made use of contrast the eyes of the monster create a spotlight on the little boy making the focal area lighter than the surroundings the viewers eye will go to the boy and monster looking at him and will be guided towards the demon lady on the back of the monster next and do you see how the viewers eye gets guided back to the bed again or check this piece by Alex Flores notice how your eye gets drawn to the lightest place here it might sound a bit strange but you can also make a subject stand out through activity perhaps your subject is standing amongst a group of dancing subjects speed can also make a subject stand out someone running through a crowd for instance will definitely pull the attention of the viewer look at this painting by the guy you immediately notice the man standing still because of his relatively stiff post compared to the rehearsing ballerinas there is contrast in activity here you can naturally make a subject stand out by literally focusing on it make your focal point in focus and make the surroundings blurry to achieve a contrast between focus and blur photographers achieved its effect by playing with their aperture for instance see how artists bo chen plays with this by focusing on the lady on the rooftop and making her surroundings more blurry as a viewer you immediately understand what the main focus of this painting is you can see the same in this image by Alex Flores there isn't just a contrast in focus here but also in color and shapes the warmth of the light in the face but also the rounder shapes stand out against the surroundings so we've covered contrast as a way to guide the eye of your viewer there are many ways to use contrast in your paintings to make your subject stand out and you saw that artists use multiple ways to achieve this contrast besides contrasting subjects the viewers eye will also be naturally drawn to faces so of visible face in a crowd for instance will naturally draw to focus finally a way to guide your viewer towards the main character of your story is by using guiding lines the viewer will naturally follow the lines in an artwork you can use this to your advantage it will help steer your viewers eye towards your focal point see how in this painting all the guiding lines are pointing towards the stack it's not just the spirits that are pointing towards it but also the lines of sight of the characters in the painting and what do you think of this painting by beau chin everything is clearly pointing towards the main character in the middle now we've covered how to get the focus in your story towards your main character or even to some supporting characters but using contrast faces and guiding lines make sure you don't add too many focal points to your artwork though this will make the artwork lose impact and confuse the viewer imagine reading a book with twenty main characters it's hard to keep track and get to know all these characters right your story doesn't just have a main character or a couple of characters your story also has a genre or mood you can finally set the mood by creating a balance or imbalance in your artwork a good construction of your artwork can create balance or imbalance in your artwork a slight imbalance can give your artwork more appeal a sense of interest there are different rules of construction though you shouldn't see them as rules but as guides these rules or guides include the rule of thirds the golden ratio centered composition symmetry and golden triangles these can help you make an image that it's pleasing to the eye let's start with the rule of thirds I think you might already know it the rule of thirds divides the frame in nine parts like this placing your focal point in one of these four spots will help to make your artwork pleasing to the eye it creates a slight imbalance because the focal point is placed off-center you can see how the rule of thirds was used in this painting check out the umbrella is directly on one of the lines the golden ratio is another rule that is used by artists to make aesthetically pleasing artworks the golden ratio is found everywhere in nature and even in a human body artists like Hokusai made use of the golden ratio as you can see here in this painting of the Great Wave using symmetry and centered composition may seem a lot less complicated than the golden ratio but can also look very pleasing to the eye it creates a sense of calm and balance to your artwork lastly let's look at the golden triangles which are closely related to the golden ratio using the golden triangles as a guide can help make your artwork look naturally pleasing to the eye finally a way to add more drama to your story and make it more dynamic is by shifting the horizon look at this painting and how to shift it to rise and adds to the drama let's compare it to a straight horizon looks a lot less dramatic right that's composition in art in a nutshell enjoyed this video don't forget to give it a thumbs up and leave your thoughts in the comment section I'd really appreciate that now go on and write that book make that artwork and tell that story looking forward to reading it

20 thoughts on “Composition in Art Explained

  • July 20, 2019 at 12:15 pm
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    Great video💖💖💖💖

    Reply
  • July 20, 2019 at 12:15 pm
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    Thank you ,this vid helped me a lot

    Reply
  • July 20, 2019 at 12:15 pm
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    Excellent video. Thanks!

    Reply
  • July 20, 2019 at 12:15 pm
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    just found out your channel and i'm in love with it already. thank you for putting so much effort on sharing your knowledge, i learned a lot 😉

    Reply
  • July 20, 2019 at 12:15 pm
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    Very interesting for a complete beginner /blank Canvas so to speak. Thank you.

    Reply
  • July 20, 2019 at 12:15 pm
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    Your video is so long dumb dumb you are such knob head.

    Reply
  • July 20, 2019 at 12:15 pm
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    Really good teacher!!!

    Reply
  • July 20, 2019 at 12:15 pm
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    Very informative in an engaging way…creativity at its best.

    Reply
  • July 20, 2019 at 12:15 pm
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    flo!!! thank you so much for the crash course

    Reply
  • July 20, 2019 at 12:15 pm
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    it's 3 am and im learning about art

    im so proud of myself

    Reply
  • July 20, 2019 at 12:15 pm
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    Thank you for the further clarity of composition

    Reply
  • July 20, 2019 at 12:15 pm
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    Thank you so much for the aesthetically pleasing, helpful presentation! 😀

    Reply
  • July 20, 2019 at 12:15 pm
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    Amazing video!! Really enjoyed it :>

    Reply
  • July 20, 2019 at 12:15 pm
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    Thank you! ❤️

    Reply
  • July 20, 2019 at 12:15 pm
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    Thank you Flo, this is a great help ❤️❤️❤️

    Reply
  • July 20, 2019 at 12:15 pm
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    Wow amazing video
    Great tips and info thanks

    Reply
  • July 20, 2019 at 12:15 pm
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    You’re such a smol cinnamon bean 😀

    Reply

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