Drawing tip #2: Play with Composition

To help kick off the second of my drawing tips lets look at Wikipedia, which tells us “composition is the placement or arrangement of visual elements or ingredients in a work of art, as distinct from the subject of a work.”


So, what does this mean for the beginner?  Really, it is all about your choice of what part(s) of your subjects you include in your drawing and how you put those parts together.  The goal is to make your overall piece of art more interesting and engaging than just the subject by itself.  Focusing on this will ultimately make your drawing look more like a work of art vs. a “study.”


To illustrate this idea, I’ll keep running with the example of trees I used in Drawing tip #1.  If you look at this drawing, it comes off as a nice study of a tree --- but not necessarily an interesting drawing you might want to frame and hang in your house.  So what can you do to make it unique?

An example of a "study"

An example of a "study"


Try to zero in on just part of your subject and blow it up.  Emphasize an interesting shape or detail that catches your eye. Now think about where you place your subject on the paper.  Play with the idea of starting with your focus to the right or left of the center line. 


Next, think about the space around your subject.  Creating an interesting composition can be about what you choose to include or not include.  If there is a car parked behind the tree that takes away from what you want in your drawing – leave it out!  If the variation in the textures of bark is what pulls your interest – work on getting excellent detail in the bark – and maybe loosen the specifics of the background.  Then focus on different bark textures of multiple overlapping trees – and place them in an interesting composition to make the final piece more compelling.

An example of playing with multiple subjects to create an interesting composition


Once you start drawing what you see and focusing on interesting compositions – you are well on your way to making art you will want to show everyone you know!


Happy drawing,