Composition for Digital Illustrators: 10 Tips in Procreate | Iva Mikles | Skillshare

Composition for Digital Illustrators: 10 Tips in Procreate

Iva Mikles, Illustrator | Top Teacher | Art Side of Life

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15 Lessons (1h 50m) View My Notes
    • 1. Introduction

      2:24
    • 2. Class Overview

      3:34
    • 3. Focus

      5:22
    • 4. Rule of Thirds

      12:25
    • 5. Composition Schemes

      8:15
    • 6. Leading Lines

      9:21
    • 7. Negative Space

      10:21
    • 8. Visual Weight

      7:02
    • 9. Color Balance

      16:28
    • 10. Value Balance

      4:35
    • 11. Unity with Variety

      4:49
    • 12. Static and Active Compositions

      4:43
    • 13. Point of View

      5:39
    • 14. Composition Examples

      13:09
    • 15. Final Thoughts

      1:58
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About This Class

Improve your composition with these quick exercises in Procreate.

Feeling comfortable with drawing backgrounds for your artworks starts with a great composition. 

In this class, I would like to share with you what I learned about composition to help you become more confident when creating your own unique artworks.

We will use fun story moments from my travel sketchbook to go through 10 tips on how to quickly and easily improve your compositions step by step.

We will talk about:

  • What makes a strong and pleasing composition design,
  • How to arrange and balance elements in your artworks so they work well together
  • How you can engage the audience through your art
  • How to lead the eye of the viewer around the image, visual weight, composition schemes, static and active compositions, point of view and much more 

I included fun exercises to build your confidence in creating your own compositions, emphasizing what is important in your Illustration, resulting in overall pleasing artworks.

To practice in a quick and easy way, we will use sketchbook illustrations.

I will be using Procreate, but feel free to use any other digital drawing software or pen and pencil and other
traditional tools. 

Whether you are a beginner just starting to learn about compositions or you are a little bit more experienced illustrator looking into learning some new skills, this class is for you.

So let’s start creating awesome compositions. 

See you in the class!

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©️ Copyright Iva Mikles | All Rights Reserved | Class content & structure for educational purposes only

Transcripts

1. Introduction: Feeling comfortable with drawing backgrounds for your eye towards starts with great composition. Hi, my name is Eva Nicholas. I'm an illustrator and designer based in Europe. I love creating environments and small stories. That's why in this class, I would like to share with you what I learned about composition and help you become more confident when creating your own unique artworks. We will use different fonts, story moments, some are from my travel sketchbook to go through 10 tips on how to quickly and easily improve your compositions step by step. We'll talk about what makes strong and pleasing composition design and how to arrange imbalanced elements in your artworks so they will work well together, as well as how you can engage your audience through your eye. I included fun examples and exercises to build your confidence in creating your own compositions, emphasizing what is important in your illustrations, resulting in overall pleasing artworks. To practice in a quick and easy way, we will use sketchbook illustrations to talk about how to engage your audience, composition schemes, how to lead the eye of the viewer around the image, visual weight, static and active compositions, point of view and much more. During my career, I was lucky enough to work for a local and international companies like Lego, [inaudible] Procter & Gamble and their brands like Ariel and Wella. I worked on concept art, color script, character illustrations, animations, packaging, and other diverse concepts. Along the way, I learned a lot about compositions and illustrations, and I want to help you build your confidence when planning how to create bonds in your illustrations and bringing forward what is important in your artworks. I will be using Procreate, but feel free to use any other digital software and pen and pencil, or other traditional tools. Whether you are a beginner, just starting out to learn about compositions, or you are little bit more experienced illustrator looking into leveling up your skills, these class is for you. Let's start with creating awesome compositions. See you in the class. 2. Class Overview: There are no unbreakable rules when it comes to how you should compose your images. After all, who likes the rules? Well, maybe except for your old school principal. There are however, several guidelines and tips you can use to help improve your compositions and your illustrations. First of all, let's define what it actually means when we say composition. Composition refers to the way the various elements are arranged within the frame of your illustration or painting. As I already mentioned, there are no hard or fast rules, but there are other guidelines. That said, many of them have been used in art for thousands of years and they really do help achieve more pleasing designs and I usually have one or more of these guidelines in back of my mind when I blend my illustrations. First and foremost try to have fun sketching out your ideas and improve your compositions and focus of your images with different techniques along the way. As your project, you will be sketching simple composition, including an object or a character as a focus and then applying at least three tips in the rules of the compositions I will share with you during the class. Overall, the composition is quite a complex subject, so I boiled it down to the simple tips for you to practice and easily achieve pleasing compositions. By the end of this class, you should know how to improve your images with the placement of the elements and engage your audience. I split the class into two main parts. First part being placement and the flow of the artwork, including creating a visually pleasing image, the focus of your illustration as a story moment, rule of thirds, compositions schemes, leading lines, negative space, and mentioning also cropping and overlap. In the second part we will be talking about emphasis and emotions of the story, also the hierarchy of the image, what is visual way? How can we implement color balance? How can you create unity and simplification in your image, bonds and rhythms, symmetry. We will also talk about static and passive compositions and point of view. To help you practice as much as possible, we will approach this class as a sketchbook practice working with as many examples as possible. We'll be also focusing and using the outlines and simple shapes such as squares, circles, triangles, and so on to focus on overall composition rather than too many details in the artworks. Don't worry too much about polish super rendered finished illustrations. Try to work with simple shapes, quick sketches and experiment. Getting messy and not overly pretty and over rendered with your sketches and concept. For example, a wildcard in the jungle setting. The wild cat would be the main object of the story here. Or you can create a character on the meadow in the distance. Or it can be seal or a seagull on the seaside, or a cute little house in the mountains, the choice is yours. I also prepared some exercise sheets for you to practice the tips and examples we will talk about. Let's start sketching. 3. Focus: As one of the first things I would like to mention to you before diving into different tips on how to improve your compositions, is to think about your story and the focus of your image. In other words, think what do you want to express and what is your image about, or what do you want the image to be about. When you take this decision, you can start implementing different methods on how to emphasize your selected elements in your artwork with different tools and tips we will talk about during this class. What do I mean by selecting the focus of the image? Let's look at a simple example. I will create these two identical boxes, and in the first one, we will have few objects. Let's create circles. These objects will be distributed without any order. If I would ask you, which one is the most important? When you look at this image on the left, you wouldn't probably know. We might just say it can be a pattern, but not as a standalone image with a story. Now, let's look at the image on the right and change a small thing. What about now? Do you know where you should look at first or maybe what you notice first? Simple change like this can make you start thinking, what is this image about? Why is this one element different? Like this, you can start thinking about emphasizing different parts of the image and bringing the viewer of your artworks to the part you want them to look at first. Let's look at another example and this time little bit more exciting maybe or interesting. As I mentioned before, I would like you to simplify your shapes in order to quickly translate your ideas into balance composition sketches without stress of realism and worrying too much about the final details of the polished illustration. Here are a few examples of the shape I would frequently use when I'm sketching. You can imagine this first example shape translating into a tree, or the same shape into mountains or a rooftop of the house. Because we all usually like characters, let's create the character in the next sketch. You can practice building characters from simple shapes like here. Of course, it's a little bit trickier with some characters than others, but these simple shapes can work pretty nicely if you want to build a character, for example, like a seal. I can use one shape for his body and other smaller shapes for his fins or flippers and one more simple circle shape for his head. Now let's create the simple world for him. We can think about. They're usually around water. I will make this simple line, to suggest the ocean and then the circle to suggest sun to create this great landscape idea. Then I would place our sketch of the seal into an image, and I would add a rock for him to sit on something not to float in the air. To add little bit more detail in our sketch, I would add few lines suggesting sun reflecting in the water, from longer to shorter lines to show a little bit of perspective. As you can see from this example, you can quickly achieve a story moment with the focus, with these simple shapes. In the previous example, we created the focus with a different value where one of the elements was just darker. Characters are also one of the things we notice first in the images. You can imagine when the humans were living in the nature, they had to scan the environment for other living things. If there is some danger for them. As I mentioned, you notice the character first in the artworks or their eyes. We can also use characters in our artworks to bring the focus to the part where we want. Another bonus of using characters is that the viewer can empathize with the character and imagine how they might feel like. Images with the characters are usually more engaging. When you're happy with the overall shapes, you can always adjust and soften some of the angles of the character to bring a little bit more realism or if you don't like sharp angles. For example, you can soften the angles of the head of the character, you can add a little half circle as a snout of the seal, and we can also add little bit more details in the next stage to make him a little bit cuter. Think about telling a story with your objects and characters and how you can bring the focus in the image. How do you feel looking at this landscape? I would say we are portraying a relaxing, calm, simple space with this character sitting on the rock looking at the sun. I will mention even more about storytelling ideas in the later chapters. To summarize, what I would like you to take from this first lesson, as you saw from the headline, is to think about the focus of your image. What I mean is the story, and what is the image about? Why are you creating this visual? What do you want your audience to look at first? What do you want them to feel? It can be very simple. For example, calmness, relaxation, or a holiday feel. Now, let's move to the next video. 4. Rule of Thirds: In this video, I would like to talk about a rule of thirds, which you may have already heard of as it's probably the most well-known composition technique and there is a reason for it. Rule of thirds makes a good site for any composition. But before that let's make our sketch character a little bit cuter with few more details and softer shapes because who doesn't like cute seals? Well, maybe it's just me, but anyway, you can find a few real-life references to help you with this step and as you can see, a soft and the shape of his back to be a little bit more around therefore cuter. I also soften the shapes of the fins and the head, but overall, I was trying to keep the original triangle shapes. To create a little bit more personality and realism let's create an eye, nose, and few spots on the back of the seal. With the small adjustment to our sketch, let's talk about what is rule of thirds and how you can use it. It's actually pretty simple, these rural is cutting the frame into nine equal parts or equal rectangles, three across and three down as you can see here. In most of the time, you will be placing the elements of the importance in these three spots of intersection. I said most of the time because it's nice to have it near these intersections, but it doesn't have to be super rigid and placed exactly in those spots. This composition is heavily used in movies as well so you might have already noticed it there too. Now, we can practice with another composition for our seal story with the ocean, and this time it can be vertical frame and we can also add few elements to create little bit more story. As I just mentioned, and you can see here, I am trying to place the most important elements of the sketch illustration. Somewhere on the lines are created by the rule of thirds or the lines intersections. You can see I'm placing the baby seal on the rock on the left side of the image, on the first vertical line and between the two horizontal lines, the beach end, I mean where the water touches the beach and you can see usually the bubbles of the waves. This part seats on the bottom horizontal line and the sun is aligned on the top horizontal line. You can also see that the bigger part of the umbrella on top of the image and the tower on the bottom of the image they're also following the split of the rule of thirds and you might be wondering, okay, so what would happen if I wouldn't place these elements on the lines? For example, if I would place our cute seal with his rock in the middle of the image, it might feel strange and not balanced. In other words, it would lead to the less attractive composition. You can try this out and move these elements around and see what feels right to you. If your first instinct would be placing the elements in the middle, don't worry, we have a natural tendency to want to play the main subject of the sketches and illustration in the middle of the image, but placing our characters off-center using the rule of thirds will more often than not lead to the more attractive compensation. As I said, try to experiment and see what you like more. In regarding the story as I mentioned before, adding few elements can create different fields in different story lines so you can know this compared to the left example where we focus on the seal and just him watching the sunset. Now, on the example on the right, you can imagine that we are actually sitting on the tower watching the seal and the sunset under the umbrella in the shadow. There are a little bit different viewpoints in story lines. One is about the seal watching sunset, and another one is us watching the seal with the sunset. You can play around with different elements and see which story or what type of story you can create and because lot of us like a lot of examples, let's get more ideas how you can practice these simple shapes and rule of thirds. Maybe let's make another horizontal layout. Something which is very popular as opposed to their art in interior design in simple shapes which are mountains and sunset. Which might be because people really like to imagine holidays and it's quite inspirational to look at mountains probably. For these shapes, you can start with few waves and triangle shapes as before. To indicate the mountains, placing these shapes in a lower third of the image, as you can see and placing the sun on the left vertical line of the rule of thirds. When you sketch out these lines for the rule of thirds, you can see we can balance this sketch example even better. What would be the simple figs here? I would say to make the mounting on the left a little bit higher so the top of the mountain would be aligned with the left up intersection of the top horizontal line, a left the vertical line. Now, there is better balance, so it's easier for us to look at this composition. Mountains are usually great to practice simple shapes and the simple compositions. What is similar to these shapes? You can also imagine water in a storm creating big waves which would almost look like a mountain. You can create this shape on the left where you would put these big wave, which is breaking off, so you would put foam on top of these wave. This breaking point or the top of the wave on the left would be aligned again like the mountain before on the top horizontal line in the left vertical line intersection, and because this wave is much bigger and quite dominant in this sketch compared to the mountain in our previous sketch. Now, I can balance out this image by making the sun actually smaller and I'm keeping the sun on the intersection on the right vertical line and bottom horizontal line. The next example would be similar composition to our first images with the ocean where you can just draw one line, but this time it will be middle. I find it pretty awesome, but you can just draw one line and it already starts to look like something. Then I would like to add few flowers in the right bottom corner, filling the area of the right vertical and bottom horizontal line under the intersection with the simple round shapes. They would already indicate few flowers and because of the perspective, I would draw a few bigger round shapes closer to the edge of the drawing which means closer to us, and going forward closer to the horizon, the flowers would become smaller and smaller. As the next thing, I will add character, same as with the seal in the first image. This character will be placed on the left vertical line of the rule of thirds. This character, we'll have a dog because it's always fun to go in the middle with a dog because they are just happy about everything when you go on a walk with them. As I mentioned, this character is placed on the left vertical line between the two horizontal lines, and it's in the middle, so it's not on the intersection of these lines. It similar to our seal example. This is also because we have other elements in this sketch on the right side where you can see the mounting on the top, which is filling the space on the top right corner and also we have the flowers on the bottom right corner so all of these three main compositional elements are balancing each other out. If you would imagine that there are no flowers or maybe no mountains, and I would have only the character with a dog. I would probably place this character with a dog on the left bottom corner of the intersection of the horizontal and vertical line. The next sketch example is also with the mountains because why not and they are just so simple and great to draw. This time, let's make a little bit different composition, I will create the skis slope and I will add a skier or person skin. We are balancing of this composition with the shadow of the mountain. Maybe you can imagine these rocks are breaking and creating the spatial shadow, and I'm placing this in-between the two horizontal lines and on the right where decline. Our character is now on the intersection of these lines on the left bottom corner. To finish of this composition, it will be nicely framed by the mountain range. The top of the mountains are nicely aligned with the top horizontal line. In here I want to show you an example where you can practice with just two elements and the very simple composition. For example, you can place elements on the two intersections in the two corners so maybe one on top right corner and one on the left bottom corner, like here I'm placing a cat on the left intersection and the top-right intersection would have a simple window. This composition is very simplified, but it works and it's easy to follow and pleasant to look at. This was inspired by Santorini images, so if you are looking for compositions and inspiration from a real live, it's a nice place to look at. The last quick example is a sea, ocean sun and the boat following the same structure is the first image with a seal and the sun. To summarize this first step, how to improve your compositions I would say I use this rule of thirds the most from any rules and this will be a quick win. If you don't use anything else, consider these rule of thirds and you would see very quick improvement in balance compositions right away. Try to remember that the strong composition is one when the important elements seat as close to the intersection of the rule of thirds or the third lines as possible, because that's where the viewer's eye are naturally drawn. Now, when you go outdoors or look at the photographic references, tried to know this composition balance and if you need little bit of help, you can always check your camera or a camera phone. Of course, now many camera producers have actually included a display of this grid in a live view mode so don't forget to check your camera manual to see how to turn on this feature and take many reference pictures. One more thing I wanted to show you in this category, because it's also part of examples of geometry. We can mention the golden ratio. You might have probably seen it around as well, and it might have look complicated to you so you are thinking how you should even apply these, or do you actually need to apply this rule into your art? I would say you don't necessarily have to apply to every single image, but it's definitely good to know what it means and where it actually came from. Why do we talk about golden ratio at all? You will find they are around throughout nature like shells or flowers. They're actually quite few opinions about these rule and some of the products are designed just around this rule. It can definitely be your tool to create your compositions because it's also scientifically proven and lot of master artworks in the past use this rule. For example, Mona Lisa. You can try it out and see if you like to use it as your guidance for the compositions. Here you can see how I would apply the golden ratio rule to our already scheduled examples. If you're interested in this rule more there are countless designs online where people use it so you can explore this option and test it out yourself. As you already know, there is more to composition then the rule of thirds and golden ratio so let's move on to the next video. 5. Composition Schemes: Composition schemes may be also a great help for you when blending your illustrations. You might ask, what is a composition scheme? It's a geometric structure or a shape you can base your image on, to help you create the composition. These sounds very scientific. In simple terms, you can use, for example, triangle as a base for your composition, and then you will place all the elements of your illustration in this triangle. Triangle composition is actually one of my favorites to use. Let's look at some examples. Let me show you some ideas for these type of composition. You can imagine it better. What would come to my mind and probably yours too, are mountains. Because as I mentioned in simplifying shapes, mountains usually resemble triangle shapes. Let's get this triangle first and then we can start adding few more elements into this area. To make these idea cuter and add little bit of story, we can sketch fewer squares with triangles to indicate houses. Another detail you can add are oval shapes to indicate trees. By adding these few shapes for houses and for the trees, you can already create more stories in this layout. I chose these oval shapes for the trees, because I imagine tall round trees, which you can usually see in Tuscany. I can already imagine being on holiday in Italy, which is nice. You can already consider, like in the previous examples, these can create calmness and relaxation when your audience is looking at the picture, and you already have a small story with few simple strokes. With the same triangle composition in mind, let's create another example. This time I can create one big mountain in the background, may be small mountain in the foreground, and to soften these sharp shapes, I can fill in the triangle part of the composition with curvy road and soft shaped hill in the foreground. To fill in the space on the right, I can add few trees to create an idea of a forest. Here is another example for a triangle composition. It doesn't always have to be mounting or a hill. Here, as you can see, I sketch the boat on the ocean, and I use the sail of the boat and the clouds in the background to fill in the triangle shape composition. Well, there's another idea which you can consider as a low hanging fruit for this triangle composition, you might have guessed it. Another type of a mountain, but maybe this time it can be a desert, which is creating mountains with a big amount of sand. To add little story moment, I can add the moon to the sky. I believe this doesn't disturb the triangle composition, because the big shape of the image is still in the part of the triangle base shape. Similar to our top example, you can also create a mountain, but not with the hill in the foreground, but maybe you can add a lake with few palm leaves and a small boat there. Everything fits within the same composition. One more example where people usually like to use a triangle compositions, its characters. You can also notice it in many cartoon animations. Most of the characters, when they talk to each other, they are in the triangle composition. Triangle composition also works very nicely if you're creating one character in the scene. Here in my sketch example, you can imagine just two kids talking to each other. I saw similar composition like this in the animation called artist of cats. If you haven't seen it and you like cats, you might very much enjoy this movie. Now let's move our examples to the side, and I want to talk to you about more compositions schemes. The most nouns schemes of the visual composition, were first researched by the American artist Henri Rankin. He even published a book about visual compositions. He's mentioning seven basic composition patterns. In other words, shapes to base your composition on. He's mentioning triangles, scales, circles, crosses, race, S-shapes, L-shapes, and beam shapes. Nowadays, we have even more shapes to choose from. Let me sketch an overview for you of these shapes. As you can see, we have cross, circle triangle, diagonal line. Then we have L-shape, Z, V, this kind of swirly shape, U-shape, star looking shape, C, I, our glass shape, which you can use for the composition, then we have a star, then we have this diamond shape, S and other U-shape. These nine spots which you can also imaging as a rule of thirds composition, the shape with two dots where you would place more elements there. To me all of these shapes look little bit more like old Nordic sign. You can spot in the historical sides of carved into rock. They are also quite nice to look at. Now, I will move it to the side. Let's sketch examples using some of these shapes as a base composition. Of course, I suggest you to practice, and try out all of the shapes. Here I will start with the example with the V-shaped composition. For the V-shape, I would imagine a ravine. How will we created a ravine. Probably with two rocks or two mountains, and maybe I can add the river at the bottom of the ravine, or again, few cute houses. Like this, you already have a symbol story moment. To add little bit more realism, I'm already adding some tonal shapes. For example, one mountain can be lighter and mountain can be darker. You would already have little bit more different elements in the same scene. As a next example, I'm taking the C composition. Here you can imagine different elements. But for me, I imagine first something like a tree. Where you can imagine crown of the tree on the top of the image, filling in the C-shape composition, and the rest of the body, the trunk of the tree follows nicely, the C-shape and at the end I can add little bush to the right corner of the composition. These would be the most important part of the C-shape composition, and as a secondary focus, I can put a small house in the distance which will be not so visible, but still adding little bit of a story moment. Next, as an L-shaped composition, you can also take a tree as an example, which would work very nicely, but let's take another element for this visual. I would go for a house, filling in the left part of the image with the main shape of the house, and the lower part of the image, I would feel with a landscape which you can imagine as a meadow. Now the house and the meadow fills in mainly the bottom and the left side of the image, creating the L-shape. As a last example, I would like to show you as Z type of conversation, for the Z type. Also S type of the composition, you can use a river or a path. As you can see, I sketch the river. On the left side, I added few small characters there. May be a bush in the lower left corner, and on the top right corner, I added a small house. But the main focus of this image is the shape of the river or a path. You can actually have a lot of fun experimenting and constraining yourself to really fit into these different composition shapes. It can help you bevel a very interesting and new types of compositions in the story moments in your visuals. I will also prepare this exercise file sheet where you can practice all of these different composition schemes, so you can download this sheet and sketch and practice as much as you want. Now, let's move on to the next video. 6. Leading Lines: Now, let's talk about leading lines and why to use them. As the name suggests, leading lines help to lead the viewer through the image and focus the attention on the important elements. Anything from path or wall or patterns, can be used as a leading line. This is another example which I love to play with in the images. Almost every great artist is using leading lines because it's a great tool to lead the eye of your audience to places where you want them to focus. Some people call the leading lines also energy lines. As I mentioned, all of these will help you to plan to lead the viewer through the places of the image you want them to look at. One of the most useful things that uses leading lines, is the character gaze or where the character is looking at. Because we as humans tend to look in that direction, because we assume there is something interesting that we probably want to see, so you always want to check where the other humans or creatures are looking at. Character gaze is one example. I also mentioned path or other things because leading lines do not necessarily have to be straight. In fact, curved lines can be very attractive compositional features. Let's look at some examples how you can use your leading lines in the conversations. Taking the same story moment sketches as we worked with before, you can notice in the first image with a seal, as I mentioned, the seal is looking at the sun, so we are following the gaze of the character. He's looking at the sun. The sun has a round shape. We follow that shape back to the seal, and then we have also the reflection of the sun in the water, so our eyes are going up and down from the sun to the bottom of the image. This is keeping us engaged in the middle part, so very simple leading lines, but keeping us focused on what is important in the story moment. We have similar type of leading lines in the second image. But in addition to this, we also have the umbrella on the top right corner, and there we also use the part of the umbrella to lead the line directly back to the seal. I'm also using the tower placement on the beach to lead the eye back to the seal. Also the round shape of the rocks the seal is sitting on, is leading my eye back to the sunshine, and the sun back to the seal. In the example on top right corner where we have the skier, also the skier is conveniently placed just right under the peak of the mountain, which you will notice also as one of the first things because the peak of the mountain doesn't have anything very interesting behind it, and then your eye would slide back down to the skier. The ski slope can also work as a leading line, so you are focusing on that one. Then, I'm also using the shadow of the mountain to lead the eye back to the skier, and the bottom part of the shadow is quite straight, leading your eye back to the skier, and because the skier is going downhill, you would look the direction where he's going, and then you will circle back through the shadow of the mountain range, back to the skier. In the example of the big sea and the big storm waves breaking in the ocean, you can follow the curvy edge of this ocean to the top of the breaking wave, back to the sunshine. Then, there is a lot of negative space, so your eyes would go down back to the ocean, and again we are circling in the middle of the image, keeping us engaged. Then, we have the image with the character and the dog walking in the meadow. We notice that the characters are walking directions to the top right corner where we have the mounting, which is leading us back to the characters, and then we have few flowers going smaller and smaller, and these are peering into the direction of our characters, and this is also leading our gaze back to the characters. Then, we have the mountain range shape and we can follow again the outline of the mountain leading us back to the characters. Let's look at more examples because this is always fun to explore. This time, I will create a different character, and as many people like cat, let's create this holy day tropical field with a big cat. I will place the cat on the vertical line of the rule of thirds on the left side of the image, and I will use the gaze of the cat, where the cat is looking, as a leading line going to the right side of the image. You can already imagine a story moment where these big cat is maybe thinking about hunting, something or looking at something interesting. Then, I'm using this tropical leave to lead the viewer's eye back to the cat. As a subtle leading lines, I can place the cloud in the background of the cat. Also the curved tail of the cat is helping us to create this invisible line, leading our eye back to the cat's face. To emphasize this, I can add some grass leaning towards the cat face. One of the most obvious or mostly used shapes for leading lines, are rivers or paths. Let's get an example. I can have a simple village with few mountains in the background, some houses, and the river or a path would lead us directly to the middle of the village. Because we have these mounting shapes in the background, it will create this repeating shapes, which would also help us lead our eye back to the center of the village, and to make this composition even stronger and add more leading lines, you can again create few grass shapes in the corners of the bottom of the image. The next example, I would go to maybe Netherlands, and create a windmill. I'm sure there are other windmills somewhere else in the other parts of the world, but as are locations in Europe are closer to where I grew up, when I see a windmill, I ride away imaging Netherlands. This would be my Holland or Netherlands scene, and here I would place, again, the windmill in one third of the image, and the horizon is also following the rule of thirds. As a leading line would be the shape of a path created from flower field. We have again a character with a dog, and the character is looking at the windmill, and the sun is again conveniently placed just above the characters, and the arms of the windmill are pointing back to the character. As a next example, I would like to show you for example, hills with a vineyards or a lava in the fields, which are growing in a similar way as a vineyard. You can use the lines of the vineyard or the lava in the fields as the leading lines. Here, our main focus of the image will be the house. The hills in the image would lead our eye back to the house and the vineyard shape or lava in the field shapes, would lead our eye around the image. Plus we also have the road where we have the character again with the dog, okay maybe we have too many dogs now. But you can imagine where the character, and the dog is walking. Again, this type of composition is keeping us engaged in the middle of the image, and our eye is circling around. In the next example, I am using an ocean or a sea with the seaside, the same as with our seal examples, and we have few sand dunes or a hills, character walking with the dog again, and we can add Lama next time or some other creature where you can go for a walk with. You can see that the characters are walking towards the sunset, and the hills are creating nice leading lines back to the characters. As a last example, we have a scene with a lake or an ocean, mountains, and some hillside. This is very similar to the vineyards or lava in the fields, where the hills, the sunshine, the threes, and the mountains are helping you to create the leading lines in the image. I hope I showed you enough examples where you can imagine there are countless ways to use leading lines in your images, and is one of the very efficient ways how to leave your viewer around the image to help them look at what you want. Please, go ahead and exercise how you can use the leading lines in your sketches. Now, let's move on to the next video. 7. Negative Space: In this part, I would like to talk to you about negative space or the areas of calm. You can imagine the positive space is the subject of the image. In our example, that would be the cute seal on the rock and the sun, with the sun reflection on the water. The negative space is the area surrounding it. Using more negative space gives the image place to breathe whereas opposite to it. When there is not too much negative space, this can feel a little bit too claustrophobic and create a cramped feeling in your image. Let's take the two examples from the previous chapter, our seal on the rock. Here you can see the negative space is all the sky around the sun above the seal, and this is helping us balance out the image. Because all the negative space you have nothing to look at so that your eyes are naturally drawn from the top of the image down to the seal where we want the audience to look at. What would happen if I would move the whole composition with the character up? Now our main subject and the focus of the image would be way far up in the visual, and this would create a different composition. Now, all my negative space is at the bottom of the image and it would lead an eye of a viewer out of the image, and we don't want that. Right now, our eyes go from bottom to the top of the image, creating this pressing feeling where the seal and the sun is crammed too much to the top of the image. You can balance it out again with adding more elements to the foreground. Here we can add another seal on the rock in the front to balance out the composition storytelling. Now we have some negative space on the sky and negative space in the water, and we have our seals and the story moment on the left horizontal line of the rule of thirds composition, if you remember that as well. We have also a very nice balance of the negative space and the active space in this example as well. The placement of the elements in the middle, not too far up is making your eye to circle around the image, and we want to keep the viewer engaged. Let me bring some of the other sketch examples and look how much negative space and the active space we have in these compositions as well. As you see in the first example of the two characters with the flower meadow and the mountain in the background. The main negative space is used in the simplified flowers in the meadow, in the background, even though there are some elements, but they're blending together. This can be considered as a negative space, which is more like calm space with not too many details. Then we have also the sky with not much stuff happening there. When you look at the example with the cat and the window, most of the image is actually negative space, which is drawing our attention mostly to the cat and the window as a main element. The more negative space you have in the image, the stronger the focus is on the other elements in the composition. In the wildcat example, most of the negative space is in the sky and in the meadow behind him. It's a similar concept as the one on the left with a mountain flower field. In the wildcat composition, the main focus is the cat, and then we have few tropical leaves which are also part of the active space. The active space, the leaves and the cat, and a negative passive space is the field in the sky and the background. In the beach example at the bottom, there's a lot of negative space because I was using mostly simple shapes. The only active part is the character with a dog and some of the sun and the reflection. You know right away where to look at, and what is the focus of the image as well. The example in the bottom right, we have mountains and some rolling hills and the water, and here you can decide how much negative space and the active space you would use here, depending on the amount of details. The areas where you'll not put any details will be negative space. The more details you add to some areas like the trees or the details on the field will become your focus of the image, which is more the active space. On the example on the right, we have the windmill, and the character again in the flower meadow. The negative space can be the sky and the simplified shapes of the flower field again, blending together. Always think about how you can balance the negative space and the active space in your images. You might also ask, why do I need to balance it? Let's look at some examples where we try to fill in the whole space. Also the example, if we use a lot of negative space, may be you can consider too much negative space, and I will show you this again on the seal example. First, let's look at the example where we use a lot of negative space, and how it makes you feel. I will make the seal and the rock very tiny. In this example, you can start to feel there is a sense of emptiness or you can imagine a long road ahead. It's not a bad thing to use too much negative space or too much active space, but you just need to have in mind, what does it actually mean, or what mood does it create? A large amount of empty space in the combination with a tiny character will emphasize the feeling of loneliness. Or if someone abandoned the character in this part of the story. Or the character is thinking about a long road ahead. For example, as I mentioned with the half of the image of the empty space, you can express a long journey ahead or behind the character. You can also use the empty space as a positive emotion, and you can convey a sense of low pace of life opposite to crowded places. Now let's play around with the crowded example. I'll take the seals on the rocks and I'll try to create a colony of seals here. Because why not? I can already imagine being there. The crowded spaces as a contrast to the left example of the loneliness or empty space can also make us feel tense or stressed or too tight, and you can play around with the expressions of the characters. But in this case, you can imagine the colony of seals and they're happy to be together. It's crowded, it's loud, maybe it's fun for them. They're playing in the water. Think about the negative space and active space for your storytelling and the visuals, how you can use it for your images. Again, what feeling you want to create for your audience. Here when you are playing around, moving different elements in the composition, I want to point out one thing, what many people struggle with, and that's an overlap and cropping the lines. It's also called converging lines. That means you don't want your lines and edges of your shapes to overlap in the image. If they would overlap in those strange places, the image would become less readable. What would make this image hard to read? Or it will also feel not balanced, is if I would place the seal on the rock right next to the sun. In real life, you can have this angle looking at the seal, but as you're creating the composition and you want to have it better, you would place the seal more to the life so the edge of the nose of the seal and the edge of the sun are not touching or are not aligned in the same place because this doesn't work that well. In addition to the overlap of the objects to make the image more readable, you can enhance your images with the objects with variety in sizes, height, and shapes. As you can see, I created the rocks and the seals in different shapes and different placements in the previous example. A lot of people are having a problem with this, and I see a lot of starting artists making this mistake. If all the objects are just in one place next to each other, not creating any overlap in the illustration, the whole image can look very flat and boring and hard to read. You can create the depth and easy to read image just by moving the objects around and placing them in a nice balanced order. You can notice on this simple example that you can create much more interesting alignment by just moving the objects around. Already this simple adjustment, it's helping you to create the depth in your image and nice and readable alignment of the object. Now let's move on to the next lesson. 8. Visual Weight: What do people mean when they talk about visual weight? Think about that every element in the composition has the power to attract the eye of the viewer. The greater the strength, the more the eye is attracted to this element. The visual weight is also influenced by the leading lines which we have already talked about. Visual weight and visual direction are both important to achieve hierarchy, flow and the rhyme, and also balance in your composition. Let's start with an example we had looked at before. Do you remember this one? On the left side we have identical objects and on the right side we have one darker object compared to the others in the composition. The visual weight in this example is created by a value contrast. The darker elements usually have more visual weight than lighter elements. This way, notice this darker dot much faster than the other dots in the right example. You notice dark value elements even more when there is a lot of light elements around. There is may be only one dark part of the image. If you're not sure what is value. Value refers to the lightness or darkness of a color. To connect the color with our values here, you can just move the saturation slide there and you can imagine our color here from light purple, midtone purple and dark purple tone of color. But there is more to the visual weight than just value contrast. Let's talk about other features which you can use to your advantage when creating your composition and in this part, we'll practice four of these features. One is already mentioned value, then we have size, color, and objects of interests like faces or figures. I will take our meadow sketch drawing as an example. Talking about size. Large elements have more visual weight than small elements in the compositions, and how can you use size in this drawing example? By simply making some of the flowers larger. You as a viewer know there's them faster. That means they have a bigger visual wave. Talking about value in the next category, creating value contrast in the same image. If we make some of the flowers darker as you see, they will stand out from the field of flowers more and the same as the mountain in the left in the background, with a darker value stands out more than the lighter one now, when we change the value tones of these mountains. In the color category, here I can just add one color to one of the flowers to overall desaturated image and these flowers stands out right away. As the colors are quite complex subject, I will show you more examples in the next chapter, and in the last category, objects of interest, which can be faces or figures, we can consider that some things are just more interesting than others to us as the audience. I already mentioned that we usually notice characters first and it can be mostly because we can start imagining ourselves in the situation, which we can see in the images. Here. We can maybe imagine ourselves walking the dog in the field of flowers. We can maybe already imaging the smell of the flowers and the soft breeze in our phase. In this example we have the small figure with a dog, which you know this right away. If it was just a flower in this composition, you might not give it so much importance or the visual weight as a viewer or as audience. Also, the more complex or intricate the element, the more it would attract to the eye of the viewer. Your own interests can also play a role when you are noticing elements in the composition. If you are more interested in dogs than in cats, then an image of a dog will grab your attention more than the image of a cat. Moreover to this, your past experience can play a role what you notice first? If you maybe had a bad experience with dogs, you might notice them first to avoid the danger. Try to always consider the audience for your art. What might be their past experiences or what might be their interest. To practice more, let's get another example for all of these categories. This time, I will take two simple houses as a composition. In the first category or the first image, I am using the size is a visual weight. I am making the house in the bottom right corner much larger than the house in the background. Because it's bigger, it feels more important. It has bigger visual weight, than the small house in the background due to its size. In the next category, if I would make this small house in the background, in the darker value and create a contrast this way, you would notice it faster and consider its slightly more important now. In addition to this, if I would make the windows on the big house on the right corner darker, you would also notice them faster now and give them more importance. Considering the next category of color, if I would make the frame of the windows right or other more saturated color compared to the rest of the image, you would notice them even faster. Last and not least, testing out the last group in this lesson, adding two figures in our composition sketch. Now, after adding two characters which might be talking to each other, we have a different visual weight around the image composition. Because you notice them and you start wondering, what is the story there? What are they doing? And so on. Always try to consider the visual weight of your elements in the compositions, considering the size, value contrast, color, and objects of interest like faces or figures, making the eye of the viewer travel around the image, noticing different elements in your compositions. That's what we usually want to achieve in our images, keeping the audience engaged. Now let's move on to the next part. 9. Color Balance: In this video, I would like to show you more examples of color balance and how you can play with the visual wave in terms of color use and color values in your compositions. Let's go practice some color balance. Even though some people consider value tones boring to practice, it helps you to see the structure of your images easier. With the same example of the middle, you can practice creating different value structures on the same image. By using different values, you would create different visual weight and contrast. Here I'm using three value tones. In the first example, dark value for the mountain in the foreground flowers, midtone for the middle and the light value for the clouds and the sky. Here I'm emphasizing the flowers in the foreground and the mountain with these dark values so you would notice them faster. In the second example opposed to the first example, we have a dark sky against the mountain with a light value and your eyes are drawn there first. Then in a third sketch example, we have dark values for the middle and light value tones for the mountains, and the flowers in the foreground, leaving the sky for the midtone value and the lower visual weight. As you can see in these three examples of different values structures, you can play around which part you want to emphasize more and assign the bigger visual weight to. Now, if you ask how do I take these to color? You would just assign the light value to the light purple for example or light blue, midtone value to mid-purple or mid-blue, and dark values to dark colors like dark purple or dark blue. As I sketched here as an example color palette. In upcoming part, I will also show you how you can play with these more in Procreate. But before that, let us look at more examples of how you can play with the color balance. Here, I would like to mention warm and cool color tones and the color balance creating with these feature. Usually the warm color tones advance into the foreground, and then they weight more than the cool colors which resides into the background. Some people say that the red is considered the color with the heaviest visual weight. Think about what do you want to have in focus? As I mentioned, people are usually drawn first to the warm colors. Here I have three examples of sketches. In the first example, I'm making the yellow middle and a blue sky. Our eyes will be drawn first to this bright saturated color of the middle, and in this case it's bright orange flower field middle. If we would reverse this color combination and use the bright orange on the sky and the mountain, you would be drawn to the sky much more than to the flower field? What if most of our colors would be warm and bright? Then you would be drawn to the more saturated ones or the areas of the contrast. As I mentioned, red is considered one of the heaviest colors. You can make the flowers in the foreground more saturated red, and also you can make a blue sky against the orange mountain which would create the contrast of these warm and cool tones so you would have both very saturated red tones in the foreground, and also the contrast of the warm and cool tones. You would notice these two parts the most in this example. Because I believe more examples always help, let's bring our sketches, what we looked at before and play even more with the color balance with these images. Here I will continue with the middle example using more green tones now. If you haven't worked with green a lot, green can be tricky to use. If you want bright green, always try to go more yellowy with the tones or use more yellow not bright saturated greens, because that can make your images to silk looking or overly saturated. As you can see, I'm using this light yellowy green in the example, and when I'm happy with these green tone, I would add the beige sky, not to compete too much with the other colors. It's visual weight is very small as you can see, so you don't notice it too much because I don't want to emphasize the sky in this image. I also want the mountain to blend more in the background, not to stand out too much, because it's not important for the story I'm creating now. I'm using low saturation gray tones for the mountain. On the other hand, I want the flowers in the foreground to stand out the most, and I want the viewer to notice them first. Therefore, I'm using warm tones in this part of the image. They can be for example, bright orange, bright pink, bright red, or other saturated warm tones. The rest of the flowers in the midsection of the image would be light yellow. This light yellow is close to the value tone of the green field, because I don't want the flowers in the middle section to stand out more. I want them to blend with the flower field, because in this part I want the audience to notice the character more not the flowers. To add more to this balance of the color tones and value, I would add bright red color to our character so you can imagine the character would be wearing a red coat or you can add a red hair or a red color to the dog, or a red bandana. I'm sure you can think of something where to add bright red tones to the characters. Other thing is I can add shadows. Therefore, darker values under the flowers in the foreground to help them stand out even more. I also decided to emphasize the mountain in the background with a little bit darker values because I want the viewer to notice the mountain actually a little bit more because it helps the story and depth of the image. For the seal example, I will go for a more obvious color choices, and that is blue color tones for the water and the sky area. I will make the seal stand out by using white color. Light tones against mid-value tones is creating nice contrast so you would notice him easier against background. If I make the seal light gray, you wouldn't see him so easily. The rock he's sitting on is not so important for my story and the image, so I would color it gray, blending with the watercolor little bit. But it's okay in this case. To help the seals stand out even more, I add darker value. A shadow on the rock so there is more contrast in values in the area near the seal. The eyes of the audience are drawn to that area. Regarding the rest of the image, I will probably make the sun yellow later. But for now, I will keep it white because I like the simplicity of this color combination. The second example is similar, but now I'm shifting the focus away from the seal. I want the viewer to focus on the other elements in the image, not just the seal. I add warm bright color tones on the sand of the beach, sun, and the sun umbrella on the top of the image, so you would notice them first in this sketch. Because I'm emphasizing the beach experience. In the tropical wild cat idea, I will start with a subtle green tone for the background because I'm planning a warm orange zone for the cat to stand out against the green of the environment. I'm using two tones of the green, but they are close in value so they don't create too much contrast in the areas of the image I don't want. To bring the audience and more focused to the phase of the big cat, I would make the cloud behind the white so there is more contrast in that area. In addition to this, I am also creating a pattern on his fur. In spots and patterns also help to bring an attention of the viewer. Because using patterns also creates visual weight and visual interest in the parts of the image you want to emphasize in the composition. In the end, I would add bright pink flowers close to the face of the big cat, to help the audience and the viewer guide the eye towards this part of the image even more. In the next example, we have another flower field. Here I imagine tulip fields with a windmill, something like in Holland. In this drawing, I am predominantly using warm colored zones and not creating strong contrast for any part of the image in particular. I want the viewer to discover the character by himself a little bit later and not right away, obviously. Look here, here is a character, I want them to notice the flower field and then slowly discover parts of the image. As I mentioned, the focus is more on the overall bright color of the flower field. The yellow I am using in the sky is more desaturated yellow, in light value tones. Therefore, the pink flower field can stand out much better. If the sky would be too saturated, it would have stronger visual wave and therefore fight with the composition balance here. To help the windmill stand out from the background and emphasize it little bit more, I'm using slightly darker color tone than the background, but it's still in these yellowy beige tones, and then I'm also adding some greens to the trees near the windmill. They are contrasting nicely with the background and the flower field. But they are still quite close in the value tones, so they don't stand out too much. For the next example, I am using cool tones color scheme. Because I was imagining some snowy mountains, and maybe, how can I make this skier to stand out from the image? As you can see, almost everything in our image on the left is in desaturated colors, only the skier is in the red colored zone, so you wouldn't notice him right away. To bring more emphasis to the mountains, they just have slightly darker value tone compared to the rest of the image. The ski slope, clouds, and the sky are in the very light value tones. We have only these three simple colors, but the image works nicely and you know right away where to look first. To help the viewer to notice the skier even more, not only the color of his coat or the outfit, I'm using slightly darker value tones for the shadows in the mountain area. As you can see on the ride on those two third lines, on the horizontal line, when you are imaging the rule of thirds split. In the next example, we have this small cubes village against the mountains. I'm using the same yellow sky as we used in the flower field on top right corner, and I'm using subtle green tones. The yellows and the greens are in the similar tones because here I was trying to go for more subtle color variation. To bring the focus to the houses, I'm going for more reddish tones for the rooftops. To help the leading lines, I'm using darker tones for the grass in the foreground of the image. In this example, the road leading towards the village, it's quiet, strong, and leads the eye towards the middle of the image. I don't need to emphasize the houses in the village that much. Next, let's look at the example on the right bottom corner, where we have another house, some hills, and the character walking towards this house. I want you to try some different color combination in this sketch, so I'm going more for purple tones so we can imagine lavender fields, which can be beautiful to explore. Most of the colors in this sketch, are quiet, cool color tones. To emphasize the house, the character, and the dog, I am using more warm tones. The character has bright orange or bright yellow clothes. I use the same color for the rooftop of the house, and the rest of the image is more in the cool color tones. Also to create even more attention and bring the viewer to the character, I'm also using the darker value tones in the foreground, so you would notice the character there better. In the bottom example sketch, you can test out different maybe unusual color combinations as well. Here I imagine in some fields, or you can think about vineyards, and then we have mountains, some trees, and the sun. The more obvious color choice would be green, blue, and maybe yellow for the sun. Maybe you can try also pink for the mountains, or whatever color combination you can think of here. But then I decided I would just go for yellow for one of the mountains and the sun. I'm emphasizing the sun and one of the fields. The foreground would be green, so the yellow mountain would stand out better. In the next example, we have the character with the dog again, walking towards the sunset on the beach. Here I would go for more unexpected colored tones, I would emphasize the sand dunes and I would use pink color tones for these ones. But I don't want them to stand out too much from the image. All the elements in the foreground are in warm colored zones, and they are quite close in value. If you would make this image black and white, the pink and yellow would be quite similar. Then for the background, I'm using very desaturated color tones, also for the sea and the sky and the sunshine, keeping the attention of the viewer in the foreground. The last example here is ocean again. But here, as you can see, we have more like stormy sky and stormy waters. I can use different color combination than what we had in the first two examples with the seal. When you think of storm, usually we have darker skies because they are full of clouds and we are liking sunlight. I'm making the sky a little bit darker than the previous examples. I'm using similar value of the blue on the water as well, so I can keep the simplicity in the image. To emphasize the sun in the background, I'm using yellow because we have already quite strong composition element in the form of the wave on the left. I'm using wide color tones to stand out already against the background, so I can get away with the brighter yellow tone on the right side of the image. Everything is still quite balanced. 10. Value Balance: We already mentioned values in previous part, but I wanted to show you a little deep and process I usually do in procreate to see if my colors work well, also in gray scale and the values. This can be done also with adjustment layer in Photoshop, but in procreate it works little bit differently. Here, I would copy my layer with the colored sketch, then select saturation and reduce it to zero to see all the values. Here, I can notice right away that I can add more contrast to my images, and therefore, I decide to add more darker and also lighter value tones to all of the sketches. Even though color is more fun to play with and more attractive for most people when they're creating artworks, values are more important than the color to design and to end up with balanced and easy to decode art works. Even in the times of the black and white movies, you are able to understand the images without color. Also in the artworks, the audience will notice this part the most, and so the value of each color is important for your balance compositions. Here in procreate when I'm happy with my adjusted values, I will move my layer with previously colored sketches above the black and white layer, as you can see here, and set it to color. When you're happy and you are not planning more adjustments to your sketches, you can merge these layers together. When creating value composition, you're also creating depth in the images and landscapes. With that in mind, quick way to figure out the landscape and create sense of depth with using values is to make or build the image from background to foreground, starting with light stones in the background and going darker in every new layer. Is this class is not about illustration styles and finalizing the artworks, I'm not going to polish and finalize all the illustrations, you can watch some of my other classes to learn about my whole illustration process. For example, the travel poster illustration class, or you can follow the digital illustration and creative process brief clause. But just to show you quickly, I usually clean up the edges of the illustrations either with a brush like this one, or I also like to use selection tool and then add textures at the end. 11. Unity with Variety: As an artist, you probably want to create different images, sometimes with very challenging and complicated subject. It can be sophisticated architecture, busy foliage, nature, or a landscape filled with many characters. One of your skills should be the ability to effectively deal with the complexity. Finding a strong, clear design, and grouping the elements we will help you a lot. This way I want to show you unity and grouping the elements in the images. This is a quick tip or quick solution to simplification. You should decide first whether the most important areas in your scene, and start with blending these objects first. You can consider them as your biggest parts of your illustration. Then you can think about how you would feel the rest of your scene with smaller and less important simplified object and you would unify them together. Taking the example of the flower field and the windmill, I'm simplifying the flower field and flowers into similar round shapes in the same color, so they blend together into one big flower field, and this helps the windmill to stand out a little bit more. If I would want to emphasize some of the flowers, I can start working with different shapes of the flowers. So they would send out more from this composition. The more unique and special flowers you would create in this area, the more focus would be on this part of the image and the flower field would be less unified. In the other two examples, we have unity in shapes of the hills in the background of the village. On the first example, they are all the same, and they are part of the same group of elements creating the mentioned unity. To bring variety in this area, you can just change the shape of one of the mountains and the viewer would be drawn to this area right away. The mountain would stand out much more from the others. In the last example, we have more similar looking trees in the scenes creating simplified unity again. All of the trees look like something in Tuscany, in Italy. If you would make one of the trees different again, it will stand out more the same way as we did with the mountain. Another thing to consider here is that every landscape has its mod and special shapes. As I mentioned, some of the tree shapes which I connect with the Tuscany, in Italy. A tree isn't just a three, and it also comes in different sizes, shapes, and attitudes. Think about what do you want to say. Is it a young tree, old Stone, does it have falling leaves, or is it blossoming in the spring? In our case, the Tuscany, like trees or strange shapes can evoke different landscapes. When you create the strange shape of the tree, which can look like a lollipop, it can also indicate alien landscape. To summarize the unity and variety, think about which objects and areas of your image do you want to make spatial, and as a main focus of your artwork, and on the other hand, which areas should blend more together, you want to simplify them and they would create unity. To create this unity with variety, work with similar objects, with slight differences. Unity is all about separate parts of the artwork working together, like we did in the flower field. For the areas of your illustrations which you want to have in-focus, which are the most important, creates special shapes different from the other areas and the rest of the objects in your artwork. Like in our example with the magic alien tree, with the spatial shape. The other trees are similar and create unity in the artwork and they blend more together. None of them stand out too much. Now, let's move on to the next part. 12. Static and Active Compositions: In this part, I will show you how you can think about balance and the rhythm in terms of static, active, and off-balance compositions. Here, I will take as the static composition example, our lovely flower meadow and the village with round mountains in the background. These compositions usually evoke peace and calmness. Why is that? Well, the whole world around us tends to be static and constant. They are immobile objects, something we can rely on, something expected. Therefore, these landscapes evoke tranquility and serenity. Because of all of these conditions, stable static compositions usually makes us feel at harmony and with equilibrium. People also usually connect serenity with beauty. So static composition is also a way to express an aesthetic idea, and how you can easily achieve this equilibrium and peaceful static compositions, you can simply work with vertical lines and horizontal lines parallel to the picture frame as your main guideline. As you can see here, the horizon in both of my examples is aligned in parallel with the edges of the image. If you think about static compositions, symmetry is the easiest way to achieve balance in the composition. In visual arts, symmetry is achieved by such a placement of objects when one part of the composition is mirroring the other. On the other hand, if you want to create more active composition in your images, you can feel their horizons. So let's change that in our meadow illustration. For example, we can make the girl with the dog run down the hill, and create more action that way. By building the horizon, you can almost feel the wind in her hair running among the flowers down the hill. But don't forget to keep the clouds aligned with the edge of the picture instead of being aligned with the tilted meadow to create these realistic steep hill effect. If the clouds were aligned with the hill, the whole image would just look like it's turned to aside. Let's create another example. At this time more dramatic and off-balance. I will take the inspiration from the village and the mountains in the background, what we have here in the bottom left corner, and I will create another hill, but this time with a cliff. I placed the house at the edge of the cliff. You will start feeling very uneasy because you are not sure how well is this house placed on the hill and how balanced it is on the ground. To make it even more dramatic and off-balance, you could even fill the walls of the house. Here I will sketch few more simplified and abstract shapes so we can compare more static and active compositions. On the first abstract example on the left side, you can see few blocks placed on top of each other and they are calmly resting and you don't expect them to move. On the second example on the right side, you can almost imagine all the shapes moving because they are so different. From life experience, we know that these objects wouldn't stay still due to gravity if arranged this way. Then you can of course work with combination of active looking objects and static to achieve your desired storytelling. If you look at our fourth example, one part of the image is static like the hill, and one is more active looking like the tilted tree leaning towards the girl on top of the hill and we don't know how stable the tree is. So try to play with different angles in your images to create static and active versions of your compositions, either creating very static symmetrical compositions like this house reflected in the lake, or playing with a window view and creating subtle angles with stairs, which adds a little bit of active balance to the composition, but they still feel very static and safe to us. 13. Point of View: The point of view from which we see the characters and landscapes is also important for the mood and the story you want to tell with your images. Starting with our drawing of the seal, we have two points of view, focusing on the sunset and the seal, emphasizing the magnitude of the sunset on the first image, or in the second image, we focus on the calming moment on the beach, sitting on the towel under the red umbrella. If you're the one to wear, agree this and take this to the next step. You could make the objects, you don't want the audience to look first, blurry, and out of focus. Because I would always go first to the objects in focus, the sharp areas of the image. With this in mind, if I would want to still emphasize the seal on the rock in the second image, I could make the red umbrella and the yellow towel in the foreground blurry. The audience will focus on the seal and the sunset in the background. Try to consider, what do you want to the thick in your image? The next consideration regarding the point of view is the angle you can view the image from. Taking our example with the meadow full of flowers, I would create a bird's-eye view looking from the cliff on the meadow. I will place a character here. This can be a quick and efficient way to introduce a scene you would want story to happen. This is also called bird's-eye view. You probably have noticed it also in the movies, when they are showing the full location and they call it also establishing shots. Afterwards they would zoom in into the location and the story will start. Moreover to these, when we place a character on the higher location in our image. As in this example, the character is standing on the cliff looking down, we would create the sense of power for this character. Because he would have an overview of the edit characters in the location. So he would be more in the position of power and control. On the other hand, characters or objects show from the top often looks small and insignificant. Using this effect, you can also create a feeling of confusion and depression of the character we have in our example in the valley. Similar to this, looking at the landscape or a character from below, bottom up perspective, or worm's-eye view, brings the feeling of greatness and the power of the objects above us. Like in this example on the right, the little bug is looking up to the flowers, which now look very dominant compared to the views before when we look at them just from the top and they are quite small. You can also notice this angle in the movies when they show the hero characters and we look at them from the bottom. These characters would feel strong and confident to us. Let's look at two more examples. I sketched these landscapes during one of the hikes in the Alps, trying out different angles. These different points of view can bring a new and interesting moods to your artworks. When creating new locations, the angles don't have to be very different and very dramatic, like the worm's-eye view and the bug in the previous example from the flower field. You can consider smaller differences in the views like here. On the right, we have more static and coming from view of the image using a horizontal lines. We are looking at the train, bridge, and the mountains from the front of you, creating calmness and peace with the horizontal lines. Or in the example on the left, we are creating little bit different angle, from the top angled view, and we are showing a little bit more of the depth of the valley and also creating slightly more dynamic composition. This is all your choice. What feeling and mood you would like to create with your point of views. Also try to consider different angles when creating your artworks because this will influence the feeling and the mood in the art you would create. 14. Composition Examples: After going through quite a few of composition tips, I prepared more examples for you so we can practice and get better together. Try to guess which composition rules I am using in each example. Let's do this. Of course, this is not live, but you can scream the answers to your screen. I often do that, commenting on what I see when watching something. Plus these might be also fun to imagine as a travel sketchbook because most of these drawings are from drawing outside. In this first example, we have winter forest, inspired by Austrian landscape. It looks like night scene, but in the winter it gets dark at four. No, I was not sitting somewhere in the snow at night and drawing. What composition rules do you see in this example? If you said leading lines, looking at the river, you are right. You can see it right away leading your eye to the couple on the bridge. Next, yes if you said the rule of thirds, you are right. This feels like a game night show, but anyway, rule of thirds is also one of my favorite rules to apply. Anything else? I'm also using static composition creating with the big trees aligned with a picture frame, as well as color balance using the red on the character as opposed to the cool colors of the rest of the image. Now, in the second example here, the tree and the sunsets guy, what rules do you see? If you set again a rule of thirds? You're right. Another one? Yes. I'm using leading lines with the footsteps in the snow. What else do you see? In addition to the rule of thirds and leading lines, I'm also using L-shaped composition structure created from the tall tree on the left and the forests in the background. I'm also using a color balance to emphasize the sunset with a warm colors as the main image focus, as opposed to the rest of the picture with the cool colored zones. Have you notice anything else? There is also value contrast in very light color tone of the snow compared to the dark value color tone of the three base, and to conclude the ideas for the composition rules in this drawing, we also have unity with variety, created by similarity three shapes. They're all the same but slightly different. Some are a little bit taller with slightly different shapes and you also spot all the leading lines in this illustration, there are quite a few of them. In addition to the rule of thirds and leading lines, I am also using shape composition structure. Next example, reindeer with this slide. This is inspired by a travel vlog I saw on YouTube. Vlogs are actually great to break this quick sketches of scenery if you can't be there. This is a reindeer sliding near Santa village in Finland. Yes, you can actually do this, what do you see here? Which conversation rules? Yes, also value structure. If you thought about that, you probably notice very similar tree design and value structure as in previous example. You also probably notice again, you need the wheat variety. What else do you see? Also the rule of thirds. Again, if you thought about that. In addition to this color bonds, I used warm colors for a sunset and cool colors for the environment. Notice that I have also used purple instead of white for the snow to make the image more colorful. If you want more inspiration for the colors of the snow, you can watch Frozen movie. They have used so many different color palette. This movie is a great inspiration for the snow landscapes. I also used negative space among the trees, which helps to create these V-shape composition structure. Apart from the negative space and less busy space in the sky, you can see I used negative space in the snow area and underground because I want the audience to focus on the other elements in the image, which is the reindeer with a sled and design of the trees with the sunset. Now, let's move on to the warm climate. I made these sketches in Marlborough Sounds in New Zealand. I could spend more time observing the shapes of the landscapes because I was not freezing here when I was scheduling. Which composition rules do you notice in the top example? If you thought about leading lines, you're right. In the form of shoreline and the bushes on the left to lead the audience back to the boat, and because sometimes the real life sketches need improvement, how would you improve this composition knowing all the tips by now? If you said moving the boat and lining it more with the rule of thirds, you are right. If I would do the sketch over, I would move the boat more to the right, aligning it with the horizontal line of rule of thirds. Another thing what I am doing here is that I'm balancing the colors using warm tones for the areas I want to focus on. For example, the beach was too warm, so I didn't want the audience to look at it as a first thing. I used more cool tones, the viewer would notice the mountains first, because that was the element I want to emphasize in this sketch. Which rules do you see in the examples with the girl and the dog in front of the leg with a kayaks in the middle? Yeah. We have leading lines here again. The bumpy bush line on the left leads the eye to the lake surface, and then from the other side, the mountain range lead the eye back to the surface. We can also follow the gaze of the girl to the middle of the lake and then use the blue wave lines of the lake to lead us back to the girl. In addition to this, I am using warm color tones to emphasize the kayaks on the left and the girl on the right. How would you improve this sketch? For example, I could move the girl more to the left to be on the vertical line of the rule of thirds, and maybe we could make the colors of the lake in darker values, so she and the kayaks would send out more. What do you see in the bottom example with the two hikers? Again, one of the rules used here is a color balance. I used desaturated color tones for the environment. I mean in the background and warmer tones for the characters in the sketch. I'm also using the leading lines here in the form of the pound leaves, the lead the eye from the edges of the image to the characters. I made the sketch all about the mountains so we could improve the story by making the hikers more visible and dominant in the image, or we could make the background out of focus in sharpen the two characters if you want to bring more attention to them. Here, I sketch the rule of thirds grid on all images, so you can compare where we could move the elements to feed them on the intersection of the lines. Let's move on to the next example. These sketches are from Battery Point in Hobart, Tasmania. It's a beautiful harbor. With a lot of cute houses. I would love to go back sometime do sketch more of the architecture. What do you see here? Yeah, is another images. The rule of thirds is a next thing. Try to notice the focus of these images. What I'm trying to emphasize. In the first image is the boat, in the second image, the boat as well, and in the third, i have a lot of people with dogs on the beach because it was probably a dog beach. You can also notice the color and the value balance, emphasizing the characters in this sketch. On the first two images, I'm using white against blue tones to emphasize the boats, and on the bottom image, I'm using red on the characters against the green grass to emphasize this part of the image. Have you notice other rules on the sketches? Yes. I'm using leading lines again in the similar manner as in previous examples, mountains and the sea surface,. and the negative space and busy or active space with a lot of elements in it. Now, I will show you some of my more planned illustrations, not as a travel sketchbook. Here are my travel posters where I thought even more about the composition before I started illustrating.. What do you see here? Yeah, rule of thirds again. Have you also the triangle composition scheme with the quiet static feel to it because I wanted to feel it very balanced and relaxed, and you also spot all the leading lines in this illustration. There are quite a few of them. In addition to this, we have negative space to keep the empty area for the viewer to raise their eyes, and last but not least, warm colored tones against cool tones and less saturated tones in the background. I'm consistently using limited color palette for these illustrations as well. Fewer colors the better for me. It makes it more simple and you can align the limited color palette with your interior design color palette. Now let's travel over to Pari or Paris. By now you can probably see right away would rules I used here again, rule of thirds, leading lines, the negative space and the busy areas with the character in the focus. Have you also notice the repeating triangle shapes in this layout? I tried to implement these as well. Now let's move on to the south, to the Venice. Can you spot all the composition rules? Yeah. Rule of thirds again, leading lines. It's a static composition with most of the lines aligned with the edges of the image to evoke calmness again, there is a color balance, warm color tones for the areas of focus, and a cool color tones for the areas I didn't want the viewer to pay as much attention. I'm also using a negative space in more busy areas like the active areas. Can you spot the composition structure? Here I'm trying to use the T-shape composition scheme, and the last example, the girl watering the plants. When I was sketching these I imaging, maybe these to be me because I have a lot of plants at home. This can be very relaxing Sunday, again, in this illustration, I wanted to evoke Badlands calmness, therefore, very static composition, and what else do you see? Yes, rule of thirds again, and the gaze of the characters as leading lines help your eyes do go back and forth within the image. Because the girl is looking at the cat and the cat is looking back at the girl. Focus of this image is on the characters. Apart from the rule we talked about before that they noticed the characters usually first. I'm also helping to bring them to focus with a very dark value tones, black hair of the character, and black fur on the cat. I mentioned before that the dark values usually are noticed much faster in the illustration that the lighter values. In this example, I also thought about the star compositional game. You can also consider the nine spots distributed around the image as a composition scheme. Even though this image looks very busy with all the plans and details. As you know, these, I tried to keep some negative space as well. That's all for these examples, I hope you had fun practicing to spot the composition rules used in these images, and I can't wait to see your sketches and how you would implement all the composition rules and what stories you would create in your illustrations. 15. Final Thoughts: Congratulations, you finished the class. Thank you so much for being here. I hope you enjoy the class and learned a lot of new things. I would like you to practice these compositions in deeps as much as possible. A speaker once said, "Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist." When you feel more comfortable and confident with applying the rules, do your compositions, then break them and experiment. If you want to expand your knowledge you learned in this class, you can also check out my class about Perspective in Color and Light. So just visit the overview of my classes. As I mentioned before, as a class project I would like you to practice with the rules and combine some of them into one or more of your sketches. For example, you can create the meadow with the girl walking the dog or wild tropical cat, as I showed you in my examples. You can also download the exercise sheets and practice different tips we have talked about. Please share your project with other classmates in the project section. I can't wait to see all of your awesome art works, and if you would like me to also share your illustrations on Instagram, please tag me in your image and pose with the tag art side of life. Last but not least, if you like the class, please leave a review because I appreciate it a lot, and also it would help other people to discover this class. You might even contribute to their learning and artistic journey. If you know others who would want to improve compositions, please feel free to share this class with them as well. If you have any questions or suggestions as usual, please leave a comment in the discussion section and I would like to help out. Thank you again so much for being here and see you in the next class.