How to Improve Your Artistic Composition


Every artist is unique and creating art is a highly personal experience. As an artist, you have the creative license to do what you want with your art, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t certain rules you should keep in mind when it comes to basic principles.

In order for your artwork to speak to your audience, you need to consider things such as composition. Keep reading to learn how to improve your artistic composition.

Simple Tips for Better Composition

Before you put pencil to paper or brush to canvas, you need to think about what you’re going to create. You don’t necessarily need to map out an exact plan in your mind, but you should take the time to think about your subject and how to best present it. The subject you choose will influence everything else about the piece, including the composition, so choose wisely.

Once you’ve selected your subject, you can start to think about composition and the rest of the piece – here are some tips to get started:

  • Think about size and scale. After you choose your subject, you need to decide whether you want to represent it realistically or if you want to make it larger or smaller than life. Increasing an object’s size can also increase its importance, just as decreasing the size can decrease importance. When in doubt, try to stick to the subject’s real size.
  • Consider the edges of your piece. Not only do you need to decide how big you want your subject to be, but you also need to decide whether you want to depict the entire object or zoom in on part of it. Think about how you can best portray the object and adjust the size and shape of your canvas accordingly.
  • Think about the placement. A canvas or a piece of paper is a 2-dimensional surface, so you are somewhat limited in terms of placement. Don’t just center your subject in the middle of the canvas, however – by letting some of your subject run outside the edges of the canvas you can draw the viewer’s eye and create some visual intrigue.
  • Control the lines. Not only do you need to think about the subject of your piece, but you must also consider the background and how it interacts with the subject. Depending how you arrange the piece, lines from the background can draw the viewer’s eye into the subject or away from it.
  • Create balance with positive and negative space. In order for a work of art to be effective, it needs to be balanced – don’t just fill the entire canvas with objects. By using negative space, you can make the subject of your piece stand out.
  • Add highlights and shadows. When it comes time to put paint to canvas, think not just about how you’re going to color the subject of your piece – you also need to think about the highlights and the shadows to draw your viewer’s eye.

There is no exact formula through which a work of art is created. While there may be certain rules that every artist should know, you should also know when to bend those rules. The tips above will help you improve your artistic composition, so you can create something truly unique and wonderful.

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