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The Secret to Composition by Lulie The Secret to Composition by Lulie
This should be applicable to both painters and photographers — and all other visual artists — with occasional tips for one or the other in particular.

Always love questions, comments and criticism!


UPDATE: I was always skeptical of the rule of thirds/golden ratio, but in this post James Gurney explains a bit about why, and how the eye actually moves. The main thing I neglected to mention in this tutorial is that the eye is scanning for information. All of these compositional things are ways to make the right information more obvious to find at the right times.

UPDATE 2: Wow, thanks so much for the DD! I didn't realise what a big difference it can make. You guys are what inspire me to make tutorials, so if there's anything else you found a little mysterious about art, don't hesitate to suggest it!

LINKS

Feng Zhu's FZDSchool tutorials on YouTube

"In this place..." ConceptArt thread

Bill Tiller's How to Draw Monkeys the Lucas Arts Way

Feng Zhu videos
- Make subject bigger
- Atmospheric perspective

Great tutorials on composition:
- Matt Laskowski's Perspective & Composition
- Johannes Vloothuis's Landscape Composition Rules


--
I'm taking tutorial suggestions here: lulie.deviantart.com/journal/p…

Follow me on Twitter, where I post tips, useful links and cool art-related things I stumble across:
LulieArt
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Daily Deviation

Given 2012-10-02
The suggester states "This is a very detailed tutorial on the aspects of good composition. The images are helpful and prove the points the artist is trying to make. It explains everything very well and is a great resource." The Secret to Composition by =lulie ( Suggested by reynagroff and Featured by Elandria )

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:icongorgoroth6766:
Gorgoroth6766 Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2018  Student Traditional Artist
Moving out of frame: how is that bad? Not enough to hold attention (nothings happening here, it’s just a plane): I’ve seen lots of simpler things and never noticed any negative effects on my attention. Don’t know what to look at: I’d have thought whatever is in the photo, painting, drawing etc. Looks at the wrong part (eye is drawn to the statue): why is the statue a wrong part? Or the woman? If Hitler was in there as well doing cartwheels and blocking the view of the lovely statue and lady I would still fail to see how that was entirely bad. How are any of these bad? I’m not trying to undermine you. Genuinely just curious. 
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:iconrssslll:
rssslll Featured By Owner Edited Jul 13, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Really, it's a mystery.

Our eyes are hardwired to prefer a single focal point, with one or two duller points for context. They process art the same way your brain might process a joke.

1) "Moving out of frame" is like a "knock-knock" setup with no punchline. Where's the car going?
2) "Not enough to hold attention" is the opposite, a punchline with no "knock-knock."
3) "Don't know what to look at" is "knock-knock," then a comment on the weather, then a long story about my childhood, then the punchline. 
4) "Looks at the wrong part" is "knock-knock," then news that you have an incurable illness, then the punchline. 

In each example, you either feel unsatisfied, get distracted, or focus on something that was unintentional -- and artists usually don't want viewers feeling that way.
Reply
:iconthacemun:
ThaceMun Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2018  Student General Artist
This tutorial is amazing and informative. Will definitely reference from this and put this into practice. Thank you very much for sharing this with us! Top notch tut!
Reply
:iconstormtrooper3326:
stormtrooper3326 Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2017  Hobbyist
this is so awesome! thanks!!
Reply
:iconofficialmaria:
officialmaria Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
the golden spiral looks like fibonacci numbers: blog.tradesmartonline.in/wp-co…
Reply
:iconkingk10:
kingk10 Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2017
Greatest composition guide ever. It's really going to help me create my comics.Love Love Love :happybounce: Heart 
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:icondubaibunniesuae:
DubaiBunniesUAE Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2017
Good job
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:iconsuryabp:
SURYAbp Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2017  Student Digital Artist
this is great thanks
Reply
:iconf0w3n:
F0w3n Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2017  Student Digital Artist
Very useful, thanks alot!
Reply
:iconbenji-blondie:
Benji-Blondie Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2016
This is the best tutorial I have ever seen for composition. Thank you so much!
Reply
:iconmines-dahka:
Mines-Dahka Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2016
It's REALLY hard to find a good source to learn composition, this is very helpful and simplified. THANK YOU!!
Reply
:iconmmchaves:
mmchaves Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Very helpful. thanks.
Reply
:iconroxalew:
Roxalew Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Awesomely helpful! Thank you for posting! :heart:
Reply
:iconhunnypuzzle:
Hunnypuzzle Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
super helpful thanks for making this!
Reply
:iconphilotherianlife:
PhilotherianLife Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2016  Student Filmographer
Thank you for sharing your artistic knowledge with us Lulie.
Reply
:iconartstruggles:
artstruggles Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2015  Hobbyist
This is amazing, thank you so much!!!!
Reply
:iconjed-stuart:
Jed-Stuart Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2015  Student General Artist
Extra points for referencing Mokey Island and automatically awesome :)
Reply
:iconsreejithnambranath:
Sreejithnambranath Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2015  Student General Artist
this is great!!!  thank you very much
Reply
:iconwatjong:
watjong Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2015
Great overview of all the elements that make up the symphony called "composition" 
Reply
:iconnffn2:
NFFN2 Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2015
Thanks a lot for your tutorial!
Reply
:iconvaire-t-h:
vaire-t-h Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much !
Reply
:iconamandioka:
amandioka Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2015
Thank you so much! This is the best tutorial I've found so far. Very very helpful!
Reply
:iconsgtrock117:
SGTROCK117 Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Nice tut easy to understand(often harder to implement in practice lol)
Thanks for sharing:)
Reply
:iconmaniakuk:
Maniakuk Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well explained tutorial :) 
Reply
:icontheblue-light:
TheBlue-Light Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The way to show it is great good
Reply
:iconrsh26oct88:
RSH26oct88 Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2015  Professional General Artist
This tutorials are great
Reply
:iconartzmakerz:
Artzmakerz Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2015
So much great information here, thank you for taking the time to do this! :D
Reply
:iconcommanderhomo:
CommanderHomo Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
this looks lovely and nice!
thanks for it ~ <333 !!
Reply
:icontempestofazure:
tempestofazure Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
It's always nice to have a reminder or lesson on the fundamentals, thanks
Reply
:iconultimatechimerablood:
UltimateChimeraBlood Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Man, I feel like crying right now. Everything you said is so helpful and easy to follow, it would almost be a sin not to listen. Big props on this!
Reply
:iconthebbsrx:
thebbsrx Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
thank you so much now mistsubishi drawing will finished well
Reply
:icontextures-and-more:
Textures-and-More Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks for doing this. Ive also been leary of the rule of thirds. Great work
 
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:iconro-kat:
Ro-Kat Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
this is great! thank you <3
Reply
:iconleon-z:
Leon-Z Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2014
D8!!!! thanks a lot!!!!
Reply
:iconhecc95:
hecc95 Featured By Owner May 31, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This gives great examples of the different concepts in composition, something few tutorials really do. This will help me wonders, thank you!
Reply
:iconuntoldpromises:
UntoldPromises Featured By Owner May 31, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Super helpful! Thank you so so so so much! :)
Reply
:iconthnoman:
Thnoman Featured By Owner May 8, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ridiculously helpful and very easy to understand. exactly what I was looking for! thank you so much :)
Reply
:iconmalin-markk:
malin-markk Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Great tutorial. I took a lot of useful notes from this and it's surely going to improve my painting/drawing a bit :)
Thank you very much for sharing it!
Reply
:iconmiriye:
Miriye Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This is so useful! Thank you soo much!
Reply
:iconthredd:
thredd Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2014  Student General Artist
thanks a lot!
Reply
:iconhiddenworlds:
HiddenWorlds Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This looks great, thank you very much it helped me try a new background and see what was wrong with my previous ones more. =)
Reply
:iconroquehernandez:
roquehernandez Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2014  Professional General Artist
Wow, this is an amazing guide. Most -if not all- important things about composition sumarized in one little tutorial. I like it very much. You are a true master.
Reply
:icontokiratokia:
tokiratokia Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2014  Student General Artist
FANTASTIC INCREDIBLE TO EVERY EXTENT
Reply
:iconbeckyscake:
beckyscake Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2013
Really helpful breakdown.
Reply
:iconbankaiblade:
BankaiBlade Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2013
Wonderful explanation!!Dance! 
Reply
:iconizzi3bootz:
izzi3bootz Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Great tutorial, thank you!
Reply
:iconcrystalwoods:
CrystalWoods Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow,this is wonderful! It definitely helps me understand composition better now! I was having trouble with this! Thanks so much!:)~:heart:
Reply
:iconhonesty-art-fashion:
Honesty-Art-Fashion Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Very comprehensive. Would love a print of this hanging in my studio.
Reply
:iconrisingson16:
risingson16 Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2013
AWESOME Tutorial. Thanks. :)

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