Category Archives: Composition

JSSargentWaterCarriers

Elements and principles of design: 2

In the previous post I dealt with the elements of design, trying to define them and to show how they relate to each other. This post is an attempt to do the same with the principles of design.

Perhaps we should begin by asking what is meant exactly by principles of design? What do they do?

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kandinsky.comp-8

Elements and principles of design: 1

The elements and principles of design are a kind of compositional toolkit; they make it possible to analyse and construct pictorial arrangements in a systematic way. The elements are the physical manifestations of the painter’s art, the raw materials – things like colour and value and line; the principles are the tools and techniques which are used to manipulate and organize the elements.

Unfortunately, although there is a scholarly feel to many of the accounts of the elements and principles (and in fact many of the references I’ve used are academic in origin), there are variations in the terminology and definitions from one source to another which tend to add confusion to an already complicated subject.

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Guitarist 010Crop

Composition: contrasts of line

the Guitarist series

The Guitarist series of drawings started out as a distraction: an attempt to produce something resembling art on a regular basis as an antidote to work. The choice of guitarists as subject matter proved to be a challenge both in terms of drawing and composition. During the course of filling three sketchbooks with pencil studies, I began to understand a little about the compositional possibilities of line: how it can be used to move the viewer around the drawing and how to create focal areas by means of linear contrasts.

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