Friday, April 13, 2012

A to Z, 2012-- L is for...

LOOKING. As in, looking at things like an artist.

This is a character from the TV show/anime "Sailor Moon." I drew this sometime in high school, using colored pencils as my medium. The pencils made it look choppy when scanned into the computer; the original was much more smooth and polished.

The first one is mine... and here's the original!
So many people over the years have said many lovely things about my artwork. So many people have said that they don't have an artistic bone in their body. That they could never do what I do, or do it nearly as well as I do.

I call puckey of the bull on *THAT*.

While there is a certain degree to which artistic talent will get you further, what a great deal of what people view as an innate gift is nothing more than the ability to look at things just a little differently. That's the true "trick" to any kind of art!

But what do I mean by this? How can you change your perspective?

First of all, there is a logical psychology to graphic design, which carries over to other areas of art. People's eyes are drawn in the way they read-- in the United States and Europe, that means left to right, up to down. Now that you know this, use it to your advantage. Putting objects in areas where they are less "expected"-- in other words, the upper right and lower left corners-- draws in your viewers because it is visually unexpected.

There is also the psychology of color and object placement. Since our eyes are drawn downward, putting dark colors or the primary illustration on the bottom half or an image makes it seem "heavy". To "lighten" it up, put those darker colors and the majority of your illustration on the top of your page. Having the lighter colors on the bottom, and having it more sparsely filled in, will create visual interest.

See what I mean? The placement of color DOES make a difference. And by having fewer items on the bottom, more items on the top, and arranging them in "unexpected" corners, it creates a more active dynamic and is more intriguing for your audience to observe.
Another crucial element of design is the concept of numbering-- don't forget that nature is either perfectly symmetrical or comes in odd numbers! Whether you're painting mountain ranges or trees, people will almost always paint either one or three. Butterflies wouldn't be the same without their symmetry, but they also are almost invariably drawn as an individual or an odd number. If you were to click on those links and decide which images are the most artistically beautiful, the odds are against you choosing an "even" image.

Regarding the process itself, rather than looking at your chosen subject as a whole, look at it through the lens of shapes. Look for shapes inside and around the object, and use these smaller shapes to help you "build" it up. A person, for example, is made up of circles and ovals and rectangles; a floor lamp could be divided into a long skinny rectangle and an oval and trapezoid.

Art is a personal expression of your own viewpoint, so don't worry too much about doing something wrong! Ultimately it is YOUR vision and YOUR subject and YOUR finished product... and even the psychology "rules" can be broken. There are very few mistakes in art that can't be fixed, one way or another-- and in many cases, it's the mistakes that help us learn the most about our craft.

So be fearless. Be creative. Be an ARTIST.

4 friends stopped by to chat:

Jaime said...

Interesting post. I love learning about these kind of things. You're right about embracing your own vision - this is so important to keep in mind.

Michelle said...

I have just read your A-Z and it's very interesting with some great truths. Can't wait to see more. Thanks for stopping by my little corner of blogland and for your nice encouraging words :)

Dozy said...

VERY interesting, Julia, and it leaves me with a couple of questions. I'll ask them in the group since I may not see your reply here. Well worth reading!

shelly said...

hey, julia! do you have facebook? there is a beading group that is very informative that i belong to. i will add you if you have fb. your blog is looking fabulous!!


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