Autumn Rhapsody- Acrylic; 12" x 19"
Discussion in my class recently have revolved around composition and one of the things that came up was the importance of creating an eye path in your work. A composition should take the viewer on a visual journey through the piece. There should be logical points of emphasis and uncomfortable pauses, starts, stops and "eye traps" should be avoided. I frequently seem to fall back on my old favorite Creative Illustration by Andrew Loomis to explain these concepts.
From Creative illustration by Andrew Loomis- click to enlarge
This page in the book discusses the importance of a comfortable eye path, which if done correctly will effortlessly guide your viewer through the piece, prompting them to linger where you want and then continue on and enjoy secondary points of interest along the way.
I thought it would be interesting to do this same sort of analysis on one of my own pieces. Sort of a "reverse engineering" of my composition. In hind sight it was interesting to discover that in this piece from The Touch of the Master's Hand picture book I indeed followed the important guidelines laid out by Loomis. One such essential tool is to have elements that stop the eye from going out of the picture plane, or if something does lead you off, make sure there is another place where logical re-entry occurs. Of course there are other elements to creating a successful visual journey such as hierarchy of values among others, but understanding that as an artist you have complete control of the visual journey your viewer takes is a great first step toward powerful composition.
Creative Illustration PDF at Alex Hays' website