Action Is An Element Of Composition

Composition that shows action can be a real challenge. The focal point must be carefully and sensitively placed so all of the elements in the picture area work together. We want to drawing a clear, sharp and simple foreground and background with the subjects in the middle ground.

Coming up with a composition that is subtle is the goal. Drawing lovers in the park sitting at a picnic table. Now the elements of composition come into play.

Elements of Composition In Action

The over-all shape of the main characters to include the two people and the picnic table. How do you utilize the picture area with a form containing the main subjects? Can you have the two people stand out in the form?  The answer is yes but the placement is critical because the line they form will be subtle.

Creating a two-dimensional pattern as your drawing is important because the challenge is to create depth inside the form. You can create a strong feeling of depth and make the figures and the action stand out by setting them at the far end of the picnic table. The perspective of dark table will carry your eyes back in the space to the figures creating an action.

Now you must think about how the line effects the picture the area. The contrast between the invisible circular lines, the straight lines of the table and the landscape will draw your attention to the center of interest. Pay attention to the relationship of the figures because they create the top of the form.

Creating the action within the composition

The subjects heads are facing each other and they are holding hands creating the circular line. This invisible circular line stands out against the straight lines. The vertical lines converge to the vanishing point just beyond the figures heads. The horizon runs three quarters of the picture area just about eye level of the two figures. All hard lines lead to the center of interest.

The foundation is in place and now the value of the key is what sets the tone or mood of this action. The contrast between dark and light, between the background and the figures heads will draw your eye to their faces. All the other dark and light areas are not in strong contrast blending in value with the foreground and background. The composition is strong because all elements come together to sends you to the center of interest. The subtle choices to use a middle key directly affect where your eye travels in the picture area.

Action in the picture area is to guide your viewer eye through the art. Creating a rhythm with all elements coming together.


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