For the next few weeks, we’ll be talking about composition. And to help, I’ve brought along a couple assistants: Hobgoblin and Nobody.

When thinking about composition, there are three aspects to consider:

  1. The Emphasis, or Subject
  2. The Structure, or Environment
  3. The Balance, or…uh…Balance.

Today, we’ll be focusing on the first, and most important, of the three aspects of composition–

The Emphasis.

When talking about the Emphasis, I often think of it as the Subject of the piece, as it should be the object or area within a piece to which the viewer’s eye is immediately drawn.

Take this for example. Where is your eye immediately drawn? What is the subject of the piece?

Why, yes Nob. Within a sea of darkness, the viewer’s eye should be drawn to you, because that is the area of the composition with the most contrast. As a general rule of thumb, the eye is drawn to the brightest spot in a dark composition. In this case, you are also the brightest spot in the composition.

Ah, hehehe…why yes, Hob! In fact, why don’t you look behind you!

In “Robins of Spring,” instead of directing the eye from the darkest to lightest spot, I did the opposite, and used the darkness of the robins hoods to pull the viewer in from the overall brightness of the composition.

There are a few other tactics I used to emphasize the subject in “Robins,” but we’ll get to those later.

Contrast is just one way an artist can emphasize a subject. Other methods include:

Thank you Nob!

Anyways, other methods of emphasis include Saturation:

Camera Focus:


And Faces or Figures:

NO NO NO! Not that one!

Perfect! Thank you Nob!

I think that will conclude our lesson on Composition for today. Next week, we’ll talk about structure within a composition and…

Um…I guess I’ll have some shadowy figures presiding over the next lesson. Greaaaaat…