Using Structure and Design to Map your Art

Starting a journey, it is necessary to have a map to guide you if you lost, or don’t know where to go next. In Art your map is built with the Elements of Design.

How do you analyse a painting?

  1. You look at the Shapes that are used to compose it.
  2. at the Lines which create the rhythm in it.
  3. at the Colour that are comprised in it.
  4. at the Values that create the movement around it.
  5. at the Space in which it sits.
  6. at the Texture and Patterns that enrich it.

So these are the ELEMENTS OF DESIGN

  • Shape
  • Line
  • Colour
  • Value
  • Space
  • Texture/Pattern

Okay. This is fine when you analysing a work of art. But how about when you are creating your own work? You are putting all these together but how do you know where they go? This is where the PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN come into it.

  • Contrast
  • Balance
  • Emphasis
  • Movement
  • Proportion
  • Rhythm
  • Unity
  • Variety

So why do I highlight the first and last, and not the others? Because in my view these two CONTRAST AND VARIETY are the key to any successful composition – DESIGN.

Of the two images above which would you consider to have the best design?

In fact, the one on the left was created from the start on the right, slowly altered to improve the design. I will take you through it step by step.

Just by moving the colour areas around so as to provide greater and smaller intervals between them you composition has improved i.e. Variety of Spacing

Here I’ve altered the values of each individual colours. Lighting some, darken others, neutralised others. Is this I have created additional Colour Contrast

Finally I have Varied My Shapes so as to create Shape Contrast in the composition.

I could have created improved Design to this composition by following these steps in another order…

In the bottom one, I also added additional Space through adding white/empty areas and added interest with texture, lines and colour contrast.

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