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Why your art doesn’t make sense

There is a trick the blogs and youtube channels don’t tell you when it comes to creating a well balanced piece of artwork. They either say, focus on the layout OR focus on the colour wheel. But it’s actually a combination of both. Read on to find out more. Colour Schemes: When I think of an overall colour scheme, I think about the mood I would like to set. Do I want the viewer to feel calm or chaotic? Sad or Sexy?


Here, I have a sketch of a baby I did last year. You can see in the colour scheme, I have chosen to use a soft pink to highlight the baby’s top, a soft blue for the knee and the log behind her is darker. I have chosen a soft palette because babies are soft and cute and playful! Especially in this picture, you can see the baby’s facial expression shows she is amused by something in the distance.



Her eyes are looking to the log. The baby is done in a grey scale. I have directed the baby’s attention to the left of the picture, just beyond the log. The colours are situated in an ‘L’ shape around the baby’s face and come from the direction she is looking towards. So this all flows from left to right. The majority of the baby’s head is on the top left, but colour is omitted and replaced with detailed sketching. The bottom left and whole left side is dedicated to soft colours, but detail is muted.

I have used the rule of thirds for this picture. The eyes sit on not only the upper third line, but also a junction point of those lines. The top of the ear sites on another line. The point at which the baby’s monochrome face meets colour also runs along a composition line. So now, we have a well balanced picture. Read on to find out more about balancing your picture with composition lines. Creating a base drawing of composition lines leads the viewers eyes around the picture. Other motion lines can take a different format, they, as I called it ‘direct the traffic’ in the picture. They are a set of lines that guide where you will place important features of your art work also called ‘the primary interest’. Geometry: Using the initial sketch, draw a line from the top right corner to the lower left corner. Then, from the top left corner draw a line at right angles to  the first line. The Golden Rule: Sometimes, dynamic symmetry doesn’t feel right for a piece and this is where The Golden Ratio is most useful. This Greek mathematical equation expresses itself as a spiral. Many of the most famous pieces of art use this ratio to decide on the placement of elements and as a natural way to lead the eye across an image. It’s so embedded in our natural world and our humanity that we often use the ratio without realising it.


Greek mathematicians, after repeatedly seeing similar proportions in nature and geometry, developed a mathematical formula for what they considered an ideal rectangle: a rectangle whose sides are at a 1:1.62 ratio. The Rule of Thirds: The rule of thirds requires the artist to dissect the page in the three sections, vertically and horizontally. The artist then places the focal points of the art either along the lines or at the junction points.




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