I feel like a terrible person because I promised not only my only 13 blog followers that probably never check my blog but more importantly myself that I'd post two days ago about this subject and yet here I am two days later and here it is :p Stupid social lives ruin everything.
So... earlier this week my good buddy Sam Szymansky and I were discussing composition with each other. Sam takes composition classes online through The Art Department (TAD). He was suggesting to me that I should try some composition studies and block in shapes with only value to see how they react to each other and try and get a better sense of composition. So I started trying this, and in all honesty it was boring and I was apparently looking too deeply into the first study I was doing. Not only was I considering everything about the image instead of just the shapes and separation of value but I was also spending way too much time on the study. Instead of me focusing on shapes I focused more on the values, the directional composition being implied by various things in the image, and eyesight. Now that last part is really the part I wanted to get in to and was probably the biggest problem with Sam and I's discussion.
The study I was doing was meant to create a good composition with only values and simple shapes (i.e. circle, square, etc.). However the direction you have someone looking can be incredibly important in a composition. Of course it's important to include good separation of values to help create contrast and have a good readable silhouette and lines directing the eye to the focus aaaaaannnnd depth. But something that I've found helps images a lot not only with the composition, but also with the storytelling is faces and eyes. In James Gurney's book Imaginative Realism he discusses that almost every single person who ever looks at a painting scans it first for something that is relatable. And nothing is any more relatable to people then faces and eyes. The reason why this was so important is because the image Sam told me to study had fantastic use of the eyes and expressions. Unfortunately, I can not think of the artist otherwise I'd pull up an example. But anyway, all the eyes led the viewer exactly where the artist intended. If you looked at it your eyes almsot followed everyone elses gaze through the image and it was fantastic.
So, instead of focusing on simple shapes I moved on to other things that I don't do enough in my compositions. The main thing that came up that I noticed in two Frazetta pieces that I looked over was rhythm. Having the same shape repeatedly throughout the image to make it all sort of work together.
Since noticing it I've tried applying it to my Bloodsports piece. Another thing that I can't really add into it (it'd have to take some serious planning) is visual metaphors. For example: The image below is a piece also by Frank Frazetta showing Conan fighting off a large wave of enemies. Now if ou notice once everything is sort of simplified into the most apparent lines doesn't it almost resemble waves? With Conan's arm swinging back creating one about to crash? It's amazing, now I'm not sure this is what Frazetta was going for, but I love the idea of composing a composition like that and really want to try for one that also uses a visual metaphor. You could argue that it's simply a triangle composition, but cmon have a little more enthusiasm and vision :P
Anyway that's kind of what I've been thinking about lately. Another thing that's been bothering me lately has been value, but that discussion is for a different day. For now here's some stuff I've done :D