Friday, August 24, 2012

Lesson in Composition - Harold Speed -13

This post is a continuation in my series through Harold Speed's drawing book. It covers chapter 12, "Rhythm: Unity of Line".

If you remember the last post, Speed talked about variety in line - how important variety is to a sense of life in a drawing. This time he focuses on line being a unifiying factor in artwork - in other words, this is about composition and the flow of lines through a piece.

He warns you with the first sentence, "Unity of line is a bigger quality than variety, and as it requires a larger mental grasp, is more rarely met with." He's not kidding - it's a tougher subject.

He doesn't deal with the entire topic of composition - that would be more than a chapter, but he does do an extended treatment of lines and flow and how they can work for or against you. I would recommend digesting this chapter over several reads, but some of the topics covered:

  • straight lines
  • circles
  • parallel lines
  • corners of your canvas (potential distractions)
  • difficulties of square compositions
  • curved lines
  • creating energy and tension
  • exercises to build your composition skills
  • movement of lines

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