Friday, November 29, 2013

Composition part 13 - Quick Tips

Although hard-and-fast rules are not the sure path to good composition, there are basic rules that should be remembered. The following are rules that will keep an illustration from becoming static and flat. Practice them until they become second nature­---then proceed to break them.

One-point perspectives should never be allowed to become too symmetrical. Kick the vanishing point to one side so that you see more of one side wall and the horizontal lines are not parallel.

Do the same thing with two-point perspectives, making them somewhat asymmetrical.

Avoid one-point perspectives when making exterior renderings. Rotate a rectilinear building so that it is not being seen on a 45-degree angle.

Adjust the position of a building so that it neither is too centered in general nor has a corner (or distinctive feature) that is too centered.

Don’t crowd the subject building in a too-small frame or let it float untethered in a large frame.

Keep an eye out for perspective distortion at the edges of a proposed view. Remember that distortion is easy to hide in a rural view but will take considerable adjusting to eliminate in an urban project.

And if I haven’t been clear enough about this…
  Rules are suggestions from past experience.
  Rules are only the start of the process of learning.
  Rules can be broken.
  If it looks right, it is right.

And just to inspire a little rule breaking, here is Frank Lloyd Wright and Marion Mahony breaking the rules, brilliantly. Above, the Lexington Terrace Apartments filling the picture frame…

…and the T.P. Hardy House, tucking the house into the top of a long page. The dark horizontal is the crease in the scanned page, but is about where the lake shore is drawn.

A caveat for all posts on composition.
You don’t want to produce total chaos.
You don’t want to create banal order.
You do want to entice, hint, and suggest.
You want to create mystery, even if the subject appears to be obvious.

 - Composition Part 17 - Value Studies

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