- Lesson Details
We are pleased to share with you a 10-week long class brought to you by Art Mentors. In this class, renowned Disney Art Director and Instructor Bill Perkins will teach composition for artists. In this 9th lesson, Bill will discuss the various aspects of rhythm found within an image, and how those aspects differentiate from one another. He will also demonstrate the different qualities of rhythm found in selected images, by analyzing them as he sketches them out himself.
- Conté Charcoal Pencil
- Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencil – Burnt Sienna
In this class, renowned Disney art director and instructor Bill Perkins
will teach composition for artists.
Welcome to this week.
We’re going to be talking about rhythm this week and different aspects of rhythm.
As we can create more rhythm we can create more eye movement throughout your images.
There are different aspects to rhythm, and I want to go through those different aspects
of rhythm just so you can kind of get deeper into it and take advantage of portraying rhythm.
We’re going to be talking about rhythm this week and different aspects of rhythm.
As we create more rhythm we can create more eye movement throughout your images.
We can take a look at some artwork.
We’re going to copy some artwork.
We’ll see how some great artists have done it, and then hopefully you can do some more
on your own.
So, we’ll get started on this week.
This week we’re going to talk about rhythm, and we’re going to go deeper into rhythm
because normally when we first start drawing we start looking at rhythm in terms of just
general axis of forms.
That’s a good way to set up your figure drawing or whatever and create some balance
or start to find balance and get things moving in an illusionary space.
There is different aspects to rhythm, and I want to go through those different aspect
of rhythm just so that you can kind of get deeper into it and take advantage of different
ways of portraying rhythm.
Alright, here we go.
Rhythm within your composition can be achieved through providing elements, shapes, forms,
passages that move your eye in an around your picture space.
There are a few different ways that rhythm can work within an image.
It can be designed into 2D arrangement of shapes that divide your surface, or it can
be achieved of forms that move in and around your visuals, your spatial illusion.
It can also be created through the shapes that create directional forces that create
alignments and establish a type of a continuum of implied lines.
I know that sounds kind of like a mouthful, but I’ll do some demonstrations and kind
of show you the differences there.
When we’re learning to draw, we’re introduced to rhythm axis lines,
but too often we stop at that.
A good awareness of the rhythms created by the 2D division of space as well as the possibilities
of rhythmic dynamics created through acute adjustments in shapes can create directional
forces, and that’s crucial to developing greater depth of rhythmic harmonies.
If you want to harmonize through your image you kind of have to go deeper than just those axis.
Now, we’re going to go through a number of images, but some of them that I’ll demonstrate,
or we’ll go over are some by Dean Cornwall.
Dean Cornwall was an illustrator.
In a lot of his work, he actually adjusted all the little shapes, all the little nuances,
folds, lapels, buttons.
He turned everything he could into something that could align rhythmic patterns.
We’ll go over those and just see how deep he goes into those.
First off, we have our 2D surface.
That would be demonstrated by this image above.
This 2D arrangement or division of space, we tend to recognize that more on verticals.
If I have a division of space that has something like this, and I’m breaking this up in different
verticals, I have this pictorial space—it’s not really pictorial space.
It’s just this flat space that’s divided up by thick and thin areas.
This creates a certain type of rhythm, almost like musical notes, but it sits across the
We have this long expanse.
Maybe we have a few, you know, we could change that up by having a few tighter ones in here.
Maybe there is another tight one in here.
That changes the pattern.
What happens is this space or the division of this space, it has this kind of in and
out kind of flow to it.
The more contrast that you get between these narrow ones and these wider ones.
It’s almost like if you had a steady, consistent scan across here, it’s almost like—I wouldn’t
say it’s a barcode necessarily—but it’s like a beep, beep, beep-beep, beep, beep-beep-beep.
There is a different rhythm, and we pick this up.
We do get this visual sensation, and you get it more on your verticals than you do on your
I’ll put a horizontal up here, and you’ll see this is a little bit more subtle, where
in something like this maybe we have some breakup that might be
like this or something like that.
Now, we can see the breakup, but you can see how these are much stronger.
They register a little bit stronger this way than they do with your horizontal lines.
We tend to want to look at these as spatial depths and stuff a little bit more than these.
These just stand right in front of us.
I think they really reflect a little bit more of that 2D quality of that division of the space.
Whenever we have overlapping of shapes—let’s just look at kind of repeating rhythms here.
We might have like a circle, and we have these overlapping—I’ll do a big one here.
I’m creating these overlapping circles, but what I’m doing is just by the scale
of these, I’m getting kind of a connect the dots this way.
I can create a movement just by anything that overlaps.
I’m creating these rhythms or patterns that move throughout that area.
I can do it also with more angular shapes.
Maybe I have something that’s a little bit like this.
Again, these could sit as almost dimensional kind of forms now.
I’m going to create quite a bit more spatial depth in a situation like this because of
some of these overlaps.
Again, there is a pattern where I’ll get a little bit of congestion in here and a little
open area in here.
I’m also looking at—the shapes play a lot into the rhythm in a situation like this.
Here we don’t register the shapes.
We only register just the division of the surface.
But when we get into something like this and this we start looking at the shapes.
And so as these shapes go, they have a directional force that moves along these surfaces like that.
Remember, we have two ways of looking at this, and one is the edge, and then the surface.
And that’s how we pick these up.
This would be the surface along here.
This is the surface.
The edge can also be a strong directional force like this.
This creates an arrow out here because we have this pointing in this direction.
Now, if I get something in here that—let me use another color here.
If I create something, if I bring a line in, say like this, and then I bring in a near-alignment
in here like this, and then I bring another one in here, I’m creating this.
I’m starting to build a certain type of movement that’s going through here.
Something like this coming down in here, also coming in here.
I have this surface back in here.
I have this line.
I’m going to bring the viewer’s eye in here.
I’m going to bring it back around, reinforce it with this.
I’m going to move your eye back into here and up.
I’m creating this directional movement in here that’s even stronger.
I’m using the edge here.
And because this is more of an acute angle, this is where I’m going to get a little
more force out of this direction than I will in this.
This has an angle too, but this one has quite a bit more.
This one has more as well.
This one being right up on the edge—it brings a lot of attention to itself because it’s
tangent to the edge.
If I eliminate that tangent, it’ll be a little more dominant in there.
It’ll remain dominant, but it won’t flatten as much.
Anything that’s going to go real tangent to the edge or associate with the edge a little
bit more will flatten your image as well.
By that, I mean just this.
Here is my frame.
If I put something in that’s parallel to the edge here
or parallel to edge over here, this associates more with the edge of the frame.
It becomes whatever this is.
Let’s say it’s a tree.
This tree is going to more relative to the edge or the 2D frame in a figure-ground relationship
than it will be of a tree or object within my image.
On the other hand, if I have the ground here, and I have a tree over here, if I make this
tree be nonparallel to this, if I make it not parallel, this image or this tree has
more to do with the pictorial space.
Do you see that?
The effect of this?
This looks real graphic compared to the edge.
It looks very flat because it sits flat to the picture plane, where this, because it
relates less to this outside edge, I want to associate it with whatever is in my picture.
It has more to do with whatever is going on in here than this because this still remains
relative to this more than anything else in the picture.
These are just some things that you want to look out for.
Things that would start to relate too much to the edge and not as much
to your pictorial space.
This divides in a 2D manner.
This divides in a 2D manner.
You can see that these are parallel to the sides of the frame.
These are all parallel to the top and bottom of the frame.
This is parallel to the side of the frame, whereas if I cover that up, I feel like I
have a lot more pictorial space than I do if I have that.
Okay, so one question is, what happens in the case of architecture?
What happens in the case of architecture when you have a vertical line or horizontal line
that’s flat to the picture plane or more relative to the ground?
One thing that I would suggest in that is with any ideas, and I’m going to put this way.
I’m not a big advocate of rules.
I don’t think there is any way you can have rules of one-size-fits-all.
It’s really hard to say “don’t ever do anything, put a line like that.”
But, what I would say is notice the result.
Every mark you put down has a consequence.
This might be a consequence you’re looking for.
Maybe you do want to make something a bit more graphic, and so you’re going to put
It doesn’t mean don’t ever do it.
It means be aware of what you do.
I’d rather take the posture of be aware of everything that you do and the consequence
that those marks have.
That puts you in control of those marks because sometimes you may want to create visual tension
with a vertical line.
If that’s the case, then maybe that’s something that is desirable.
Let’s look at a vertical if I put a building in here.
If I have a building here, and I’m creating some space, I’m bringing it close to the
edge, and this—again, like edges and surface have a dynamic push as well.
In a case like this there are a couple things that are happening.
I’m getting this because this is the more acute angle than this one, but I’m also
getting surface, so I’m feeling a little bit of depth because I’m realizing this
Here is my vertical line.
If I have another vertical line, say I had a building in here more toward the center,
okay, or maybe a large structure up here.
I’m putting some of these verticals in here.
Maybe this is a large building back in here.
I’m going to notice that when it’s close to the edge it’s going to register more
like the edge than something back in here.
If I have—let’s just say there is a building here and this goes down here and gets something
These are some buildings in the distance, and we have maybe a street coming here, something
coming out here.
If I have something like this, and now I’ve got a little more pictorial space, I may have
things that break this up.
Maybe I’m going to put a tree in that’s a little more curved.
I’ve got something that’s relating this way.
Maybe I’m going to break up a little bit of an edge, so now I’m losing this one horizontal
to some degree—excuse me—vertical to some degree.
Maybe I want to play some of the perspective in here so I can utilize that.
If this is the horizon here than these are going to be a little steeper.
They’re not—I’m going to get spatial dimension out of this because of this surface.
I’ll get spatial dimension because they are all coming down and relative to this horizon
Maybe the same thing in here will do something like that.
Now I’ll give it kind of a spatial distance.
I might have something breaking up back here where there are mountains or something like that.
I can break some of these things up.
If I have a few other shapes in here—for instance, I have a road.
I have a mountain.
I have trees.
Each of these are individual items.
But the more that I put in here that have something in common with this, like a longer
straight in here and then a curve.
A little bit of a straight but not completely straight, a little bit of a bend.
The horizon might resonate as a straight.
Those things are going to start harmonizing with my straight lines.
I build a range of shapes from straight to curved to angled to really curved, however
I do that.
The question is, they still appear parallel to the edge over here.
But, what I did is I gave other lines and shapes in here to also relate to this.
I’m increasing it by proportion.
I’m adding things that increase the proportion of spatial depth.
The thing is, in a situation like this, this is the horizon, this is where the camera is,
and this is where we’re looking.
If your camera was tilted up like this, you would be looking at something like this, and
your buildings would actually taper in perspective.
They wouldn’t be parallel to the edge.
You’d get something like this.
If your camera was tilting up you would see up.
These would taper in more of a 3-point perspective.
When it’s really flat, that’s when you’ll see these more vertical and more parallel
to this side.
Okay, the tree up above, in this tree this goes really flat because it’s parallel to
This line is also parallel to the edge, but since I made it a plane and made it go deeper
into space, I’m relying on this surface to combat that flatness because this appears
It doesn’t have a lot of surface.
It is not enough surface to combat that relationship to the edge of the frame.
But if I give you the tree, it tends to associate with the frame more than this because we have
more, we register more surface here that goes into spatial depth.
It’s really combatting your 2D surface with your 3D illusion, and they weight against
We have surfaces and then we have these edges.
If you create an edge that has a 2D effect, being parallel to the side or parallel to
this, then you have to look at, okay, what’s going on in the surface.
Can you combat that with the surface?
Or is it still remaining flat?
Your always kind of weighing this competition.
What’s dominant and subordinate.
So your shapes can start out as being a little bit, if they start out as flat and you need
to create a little bit more depth, you need to arrange them in a way—either create relationships
that will actually allow them to move your eye in some different way, or you can change
them up and actually change them up in many different kinds of ways.
If I wanted to remove part of this line, one of the things that I might do is I could put
this in a shadow and kind of create a passage of sorts.
If this was in a shadow, and this building was casting a shadow on here, I’ve just
eliminated these verticals in here.
Now, if I have bushes or trees out here, you know, casting a shadow this way as well, or
maybe they go up even higher like this…right?
You see, I’ve eliminated all the vertical lines in there because I’ve made this whole
shape a different shape.
The question is, am I aware of some images that don’t have vertical lines parallel
to the edge?
Again, it just depends on the angle here.
Do I know of any?
Well, there is a number of them that do and a number that don’t.
But here is the more important thing.
The more important thing is that if you have, if you are looking up or looking down, you’re
tilting the camera, and you will remove the parallel lines.
I’m not saying don’t ever—I guess this is the point.
I’m not saying don’t ever do lines that are vertical and parallel to the sides.
What I’m saying is they do have a consequence, so you have to balance them.
You have to make them become subordinate to other shapes.
Here is where the dilemma comes in.
If you understand this idea of don’t make anything parallel to the edge of the frame
as a general rule, you’ll fall down on that rule.
It’s kind of the sword you lie on.
What’s going to happen is you just have to look at it in terms of making I subordinate.
If you put other things in your image and manipulate your image so you’re dealing
with surfaces and you’re creating different types of shapes that create rhythms that basically
diffuse that flatness.
That’s how people accommodate those vertical lines that are parallel.
The closer they get to the edge of the frame the more dangerous it is.
That’s why I put one here and put these more towards the middle.
The more towards the middle they are, they have less of that effect.
You can change things on the outside to actually obliterate the effect.
That’s really what we’re doing.
We’re looking at these edges and surfaces and these shapes that will basically make
this effect a little more subordinate.
Okay, a long time ago there was an idea that your subject is here.
You put everything in here and it’s all about the center.
Then they start looking at dividing that up and dividing it into thirds in order to get
a feeling of stability.
Now this creates the illusion of stability.
It doesn’t mean here is another, I’m going to contradict—or not contradict—but I’m
going to try to diffuse a general rule again.
Breaking something into thirds doesn’t necessarily mean even thirds.
A division into unequal parts is more interesting.
If you divide it into equal thirds—horizontally, vertically, whatever, you’re going to get,
the effect is going to be more stable.
A lot of times when people look at, okay, divide it into thirds, I know when I’m composing
images for film, if I did everything on thirds like this I’d have a really boring situation.
You’d go to sleep.
I wouldn’t be able to get much difference between sequences or create a feeling of what
the characters are feeling.
So, what I might do is I might still divide things into thirds, but maybe my thirds might
look a little bit more like this.
I might have a small, a medium, and a large.
I might have a medium and a small and a large.
I’m dividing them into the same three divisions, except this is far more dynamic than this.
You can see this has a little bit more dynamic range to it than this.
This clearly feels more stable than this one.
If I was to do something like this, where I divide up the space somewhere up here.
Let’s just say I do something like this.
As I mentioned once before, there is an idea that we have a tendency to move into a picture
in this direction, but that’s not always the case.
You can see this image feels a little flatter.
This feels a little deeper because you have this longer area to move to this.
Here, you’ve got a major intersection here.
I could put things along these intersections, and still, if I’m true to these then I’ll
find some stability even though these are more gothic types of arrangements.
Again, it’s dividing up the space.
These are different ways to divide up the 2D space.
Something is more stable.
Something that is more dynamic or gothic, is more classic.
Either one is okay.
Any of these can be fine.
I think one of the misunderstanding is that if you’re looking to harmonize something
a lot of times people will think of creating a harmony as making something stable, founded
and stable and more even and peaceful.
If that’s the case, you may end up going more like this.
You can still have something like this and create stability.
It doesn’t give me the same kind of stability in the same classic sense as this does.
These are from Andrew Loomis’ book, creative illustration.
I kind of got some pros and cons with this because there is kind of formulaic approach
in here, and I want to show you why this happens.
Just kind of replicate this one top one here.
What he has done is he is finding a focal point in writing here, but by creating lines
that basically all connect at that point.
Now, when you have a convergence of lines like this, this one goes over like this.
If you have a convergence of lines like this, what’s going to happen is this creates a
tangent and becomes very flat.
A tangent is going to call attention to itself.
It’s going to flatten and call attention to itself.
That’s the consequence of a tangent.
Do you want a tangent there or how do you want to work with that?
What he’s done is he has put a figure right on that tangent.
His feet, his head, his arms coming up like this.
Now, here are the positive things that are happening in here.
In this image we have a character here with his arms going up like this, and we have this
big thing here.
That’s what we’re really registering.
The rest down here creates a tangent which conflicts with this.
This goes flat and everything points to this point down here.
Now, if he has a tangent in here the one thing they could do is, let’s just say there is
a road—it makes a road here like this, and there is a truck on the road coming down the
road that basically blocks the tangent.
That means there are going to be lines like this going into an object like this.
Now, if I have this going into this, do you see how flat that becomes?
Where this becomes an overlap.
This becomes—and for this guy that’s standing here, his head is up here and his arms are
up here like this, the tangent is down in his feet.
What we register is we register tension at this feet, not all of this.
This is a biproduct.
The strength of this, this pretty much diffuses that.
When I say, okay, I’m going to bring a focal point if you make it in a situation where
these lines all converge to one spot and everything goes to there, and then you have something
coming up right from that spot.
What happens there is it freezes you in that area.
Freezing the viewer’s eye in one spot, that might be something you want to do if, for
instance, you said here is a person and they’re, you know, I’m going to make them a little
bit more close-up like this.
If I wanted more of an overlap to come down and do something like this, now what I’m
doing is I’m really enhancing this up here and maybe they’re on a hillside like this,
and depending on where I want to push, I can have, you know, if I want to push it this
way I could do that.
Take advantage of this pictorial space that way.
I’m moving the eye around in kind of a direction that I want, but I’m not freezing them on
one spot right there.
Another one that is provided is the one on the bottom.
This is another one where is a hillside in the back that comes down like this.
There is this hillside right here that comes up and out of the picture like this, and then
there is a man in a boat with this head real close to that connection there, rowing this boat.
Now, this is a near-tangent in here, and what’s going to happen is, again, this is going to
call attention to itself, but it’s going to freeze your eye.
This is going to start to become very flat looking.
So to compensate for that kind of flatness, one of things you can do is move your eye
around or create a situation where it moves your eye around the situation.
You’ve got a couple of different options, and if I start with a guy, and I really want
to feature this guy rowing this boat, okay, I’ll put the boat in here, something like
this, and I know I’m going to have them near the horizon, I can go ahead and make
my horizon in there if that’s going to be where it is.
But, maybe what I do is I can do one of two things.
I can bring this hillside over here, okay, and I can bring this mountainside over to here.
Now, I’m going to use this shape to be directional, but I brought this all the way over to this
side over here, and I’m not making it freeze in the middle.
What I can do is I can do a couple of different things.
One, I can make maybe the shadow of this also frame around them.
I’m playing with the surface and the shape here.
I’m using this to frame around him here.
I’m also using this to be kind of an arrow as an or directional edge.
This is behind.
This is a bit softer, maybe.
This is a little darker.
Then I can use the waves or whatever, going in like this.
I still have a strong focal point, but I’m not pinching or creating a tangent there.
I’ve given you something to move your eye in, and I’m trying to give you something
that’s going to frame.
Maybe I’m going to also make one of the oars coming out or coming out also to pinch
or to provide some directional movement there.
I can break up the shadow just a little bit.
It’s, again, bringing some direction in there.
There are number of little ways that I can do this without having this tangent running
across in here.
Another way to do that—and I mention a lot of these things because if you have a situation,
maybe you took a photograph and you want to do a painting from your photograph and it
has some of these tangents.
Then you know what to look for and you know how you can compensate for those things or
readjust those things.
Here is our horizon again.
Maybe this comes down and works as an arrow towards him here like this.
If you want to move that in that direction.
Now you’ve got a choice.
You could either bring this down over here.
I wouldn’t bring it equal.
You don’t want to make it equal.
Even if I bring it over here, you see, now I’ve got something going on, and I’m still
creating a focal point.
I’m framing that.
Or, maybe I’m doing this and coming down behind.
Either way, I’ll put it in front because then I’ll make this darker.
I can still make it—that will still become a focal point.
Again, I’m going to bring some things in, maybe something like this that’s going to
move my eye in this direction.
I might frame around it with some of the waves or water lapping up.
There is a number of things that I can do to help arrange or create some kind of a dynamic
movement around this figure to make sure that it stays in a bit of focus.
Maybe the wind or the water changes a little pattern back here.
Maybe we can even just give a little bit more difference in this.
Again, what I’m doing is I’m breaking up this, this, this, this.
I’m getting different widths in here between these, and that’s going to help my illusional
space here, or make it feel a little deeper because I get a little bit of breakup in here.
Does that make sense?
Okay, I’m going to look at Franklin Booth.
Franklin Booth, take a look at this.
This is kind of interesting from a rhythm standpoint.
I’ll draw this.
Why don’t you guys draw this with me.
You really get more out of it if you draw along.
Now, if we just kind of break this down, he’s given you a number of things that are parallel
to the frame, right?
Like the stairs are a great example of setting up these parallels.
He gives you stairs, and then he gives you these verticals of a column here.
There we go.
We have the stairs that are horizontal, parallel to the frame.
We have the vertical here parallel to the frame.
We have a vertical column here, and another equidistant column here,
so we get an evenness here.
And we have a semi-circle here or a semi-circle…so with these two the same he repeats the pattern
and then breaks the pattern.
That down, these down in here, and this down in here.
That creates this arc of these.
At this point, he’s got some larger bases on these.
There is a larger base.
I’m not going to draw it in the middle because we have characters.
We have these tall vertical columns with a curve at the top.
Again, we’re seeing the underside of these so we’re getting the inside of that.
What we’re going to look at it is just the simple number of shapes that he’s got.
He’s got straights, vertical and horizontals.
Horizontals are the stairs, these, and then the circle or a semi-circle.
So, he’s got this.
Now, we can take a look at this variation on a theme.
He’s got not a semi-circle like this.
He’s got a dome shape up here, which is a variation on this.
It’s a little taller, a little steeper.
Then he’s got this other dome shape that goes like this.
This is a variation on that same shape.
In here, another dome kind of like these and then another one here, a smaller one down here.
Then another one down in here.
Now, you see how he’s starting to build the rhythm.
He’s got something that’s very structural and flat to the picture plane, but now he’s
starting to build this rhythm.
There are similar shapes, but he’s spacing them in a way that is going to make a little
bit of difference.
This comes down straight.
These come down straight.
This comes down and it’s broken straight like this.
He has these straights coming down in here, across.
Little capitals in here.
Again, so we’re looking at these very vertical or curved shapes.
They’re all within this narrow range of shapes.
It creates an interest in there.
Curves in here.
Again, straights, they all kind of ride along the same kind of situation here.
Straights and these go across this way.
Then he’s got these birds.
A bird that goes up here.
If you look at the shapes they start to create a pattern.
They’re flying, but they’re placed so that they create this pattern.
Now we’re getting this secondary pattern that’s moving in this direction.
We can see.
Now we have this dynamic thing.
We have this point to this point to this point to this point, so we’re starting to get
a movement down here.
Now we get a movement around here.
Then we can take a look at our characters.
They’re coming in from the bottom, and look at how dynamic they are compared to all of
these stable shapes.
We have an area of the highest contrast or small contrasting marks.
And we also have this real dynamic rhythm.
Look how these work together.
They just make this great big S-curve all the way through.
These shapes are variations on these very stable other shapes.
They’re very different than those.
Something a little more subtle are some of the other shapes back in here, but these are
much more subtle, and they relate more.
In shape they relate more to these guys.
It’s the intermediary that harmonizes those shapes.
Again, this will get a little more dark.
And that top surface is light in there air, and these are darker in here.
Look at this pattern like this.
It’s a beautiful contrast between these elements that feel very stable, and these
very rhythmic things, starting with the birds, the placement of the domes, and then the strong
variation of these characters at the bottom in shape.
They’re strong rhythm access too, where his knee comes up.
His body is curved up this way.
It’s caught by her hip and brings her up this way.
He’s providing a contrast between things that are flat to the picture plane and things
that are very dynamic.
This is a sense of building a strong dynamic out of that stability.
At the same time the shadows work as a middle value in here
just so that we can see the other areas quite a bit and allow for this step here to be in
There is an observation that these verticals still remain dominant, and they do because
your subject, these little characters down here are small amidst this large architecture.
So the story is probably more about, you know, down below you have people carrying flags
and stuff like that, and they’re playing flutes and stuff.
I’m not sure what the illustration was for, but if I was to guess, it might be something
about the spirit of getting the people together or something amidst this large architecture,
the large structural thing.
You see a lot of the same kin do thing with some architecture in Italy and Germany in
the 40s and 30s where the state was dominant, and the architecture shows the dominance of
the state, and the people are very small compared to the dominant government.
But here, he gives you this strong stability in a similar way, with these being very strong,
and then he gives you this very dynamic movement in here in the character.
They are small, but they are in contrast the large architecture, so it’s playing one
off of the other.
Maybe that’s a story, that it’s amidst this big overwhelming architecture there.
They’re very rhythmic in there.
are the situations where I’m talking about these axis of depth.
As you can see within the raft—I’ll kind of point out some of those things—but this
handling of rhythm has quite a bit more to do with the axis of these figures.
Now there is the strong dynamic angles in here.
These would be some of the shapes.
These are some of the shapes that keep your eye focused in here, so these are building
rhythms going around this way, bringing your eye around here.
There is a figure over here that’s looking back this way, but his axis is going like this.
He’s got something in his hand that’s clearly coming back this way.
As these shapes come around, it connects with this and brings us back here.
Same thing—wraps around here and down, and then this shape comes around like this.
We’re looking at, again, the center axis down on the boat, but on the raft we
have some of these strong lines and stuff that will move us in.
Same thing here.
But the bodies, as we can see, are all about the axis of these forms.
They’re all kind of moving back.
Rib cage, the jaw.
Okay, so they are creating this.
This guy is creating this movement that actually comes through these forms.
This is really based on the axis of forms like this.
That’s basically what’s going on in this picture.
It’s all about this and finding these rhythms that occur through these forms.
If I say, okay, I want to shape this way, I’m going to have a head here.
I’m going to turn under the jaw here.
I’m going to have the shoulder coming here.
This is going to be around like this so I get this axis going here.
If I want to come over, cross-contour over the top of them here, I’m going to build
that a little bit this way.
As it goes out I’m going to have the underside of the nose.
I’m going to have the eye.
Everything is going to be curved out, out, out.
I’m going to keep pushing.
From here I’m going to have maybe this shape up here and another axis coming up here to
Again, always looking for pushing forms in and moving them based on the axis of whether
it’s a rib cage down to the hip, something in here to a leg coming out.
It’s always following these shapes and kind of moving around in all of these ways.
We get the fabric that flies out this way.
The artist is looking to find all of these.
A guy in here with his arm like this.
A woman like this.
Another one on the other side.
It’s just filled with all of these things.
They’re all pretty much outside of these.
They’re pretty much all based on this idea of axis.
These center lines.
If I have a line like this, then I’m going to have a rib cage that sits up like this.
A hip that sits high like this and a figure that’s going to be playing out this way.
It may be something where I want to keep moving that around.
I can go center to the center here, so I’m going to put this to the side over here.
I can move things all around based on the axis of these forms.
This is what I say when we first do figure drawing.
We’re kind of looking at these as rhythm.
This is how we find rhythm.
This isn’t the only kind.
Like I was showing before, when we have 2D rhythm, we have a breakup like this, across
the surface of the 2D surface.
Then we also have the surface and the edge that can give us directional forces, that
can move our eye and create other rhythms as well.
Then we have these form axis.
We also have another thing that we might have.
I’ll start with more of a form axis like this, and where you might have a shadow here
to reinforce that, maybe if I want to change the direction.
Let’s just say instead of having it just go this way, maybe I want to change the direction
to something like this.
Well, maybe what I’ll do is I’ll have something here like part of this form following
this form, and then maybe I’ll have a shadow cast across this.
Now I’m changing that direction on his axis.
I can turn it into something else.
You know, let’s just say this was a knee, part of a leg that came down here and a knee,
I throw this into shadow.
What I can do is I can have something else if I want to move this along here.
Maybe what I can do is just create a light on another leg, so now
maybe this whole area goes into a shadow.
I’m connecting this over here and over here.
If I bring it down in here, let’s say, maybe I make this go like this and this one more
frontal like this, now I have this shadow shape going over here that can give me a directional
movement over here.
I’m changing this up just a little bit and creating a movement that’s not just the
axis of the form.
This would be made by passages.
Okay, so the question is, do you see a lot of movement in this image, but where are they
There is not really one focal point in this image.
The intention here is to move your eye around the whole image, so there are a lot of these
different things going on.
There is a whole scenario going on.
There is a big story going on.
It doesn’t hinge on one particular person here.
This is a raft of a number of people dead and alive, and all of this is creating movement
all the way throughout.
And it’s mostly, the movement created here outside of the shape of these, is created
by these axis.
That’s what I wanted to show.
All the figures in here, these are all taking advantage of this form of creating a rhythm
The idea of shape and edge, that’s what this is doing for you, and that’s a little
different type of application to create an eye movement.
Okay, in an image like this you can see that there is a lot of rhythm, and it all kind
of circulates around these characters and stuff, and there are a couple of different
focal points in this one.
There are the mermaids, but then there is also the baby and the fish and the baby at
the bottom or the mer-baby, whatever you will.
You can create rhythm that brings you to a point or moves you around the whole image,
just depending on where your focal point is.
Here I kind of drew over the top of this, and you can see that the—again, then these
are really relative to the forms, and you see a strong rhythm here.
That’s really what it was really about.
In this image it’s quite a bit about form.
But when you have a little exception to the rule, it creates focus.
The question is now is the time to use these gesture lines.
What happens is the gesture lines within rhythm, that’s only one type of rhythm.
That’s what I want to clarify.
Most of us look at that as the only type.
But there are multiple types of creating rhythm in many ways.
So, when we get in and draw some more of these things I’ll show you.
Okay, with a situation like this, you’re going to see that there
is a focal point right up here.
You’ve got this focal point with this guy right here, and he’s looking over at the girl.
She is not just looking back at him, but her hair goes this way.
Her body goes this way.
This is axis of her body, but besides that, you get the strong eyeline.
When we’re creating rhythms and stuff, lines are really important, so most everything in
here you can see, you know, across him, his chest and then this guy here,
it all sweeps around.
All of this is all based on the form where you get some of the edge of the carpet up
here and around, you know, this guy down here, around, around, kind of moving your eye up
and around here.
Then on his neck, he’s chained on his neck, and we have these two guys pulling.
These two, of course, there is the axis on these arms, but if we look at the image, most
everything is about form except the eyelines and these lines.
Anytime we have an exception, that becomes an area of focus.
Anytime you have a high contrast, in this case, it’s a contrast to the handling of
You have this one guy, his leg is here.
The other one is down here.
He’s creating this strong rhythm up this way.
You have rhythms going in.
Rhythms going around.
They’re coming up in here.
So around and around and around, and even back in here it’s creating some things,
and we get an eyeline up here.
We get a little triangulation of this, a closure.
But when we have these different types of use of rhythm, you can do it, you can create
rhythm in one way, using these axis for 99% of the image, but then you rely on another
type of creating a directional line, that other is going to become your focus because
It’s just like having an overall.
It’s just like having an overall light image with a little dark.
That little dark is going to become very significant to the overall.
So, however you set the stage when you make an adjustment or make a change, that’s going
to become the real dominant element in there.
Here are more examples of building rhythm.
Here are more examples of following these axis of forms, and then the light patterns
on these forms that will make some of the forms a bit more dominant than others.
There is not really extreme tonal contrast in this.
There is strong directional movement.
Again, it’s in these axis.
Again, in this image, I’m showing you a lot of them that have this type of arrangement
first because I want to get into some other types.
This would create some closure from this.
You can see the rhythms set up by the vertical lines that are staged in the back by the pillars
in this kind of mine area.
Then the candles in the upper left.
We have this stability created by all of these verticals, although it’s a bit skewed.
This is more of a German Expressionist kind of a handling of this, but we do get these
strong, vertical, kind of skewed vertical lines and crosses.
That’s one aspect.
Then we have really, really strong closure with all of these eyelines focusing on the
man down below with his arms raised.
He is the only one with raised arms except one guy in the back to the left of the woman.
He has one arm raised, and he’s just kind of closing that area.
He’s just kind of closing that off.
But, if you look at the rhythm and the pattern of those.
We’ll draw this out here.
It’s a way of creating a rhythm with closure.
Okay, so the main story is here to here.
This is our main story.
He gives you her axis line like this.
Again, bring it up and around.
Her eyeline is accentuating that.
That’s the hard curve right there that turns you right down to here.
He’s like this.
His arms are like this.
You can see where he is getting you a near alignment right down here into this, a strong
There is a line here and a line coming out here.
Coming here, coming here, and then the guy’s arm closing this off.
This closes off to these candles.
Now, from this guy we give him a little bit of space in here because he’s
the main subject in here.
Then we have all of these eyelines, and they create closure.
They’re all in rows and rows and rows.
We see this, this, this.
All these guys create this closure, this wrapping around.
That’s how the rhythm is created in here, both by eyeline.
The rhythm of an axis line in here, and but then you’re getting all these eyelines and
then just rows of these eyelines.
Actually, our eyes will connect both—we’re looking where they’re looking, and they’re
all looking here.
We get this imaginary eyeline, and we also get the movement and the direction of them
as well, where we can see it.
There is strong directional movement in this.
The rhythm is created by some of these converging lines, eyelines, and closure with all of these
and the eyelines there.
There is another application.
Here is a Phil Hale image.
In this you can see he’s purposely created a lot of tension because he has them close
to the edge of the frame.
You know, his hands and fingers being close to the tangent with the right hand side of
the frame, his eyeline going extremely across the long length of the frame, and then he
has them pushed up in the upper left portion of the screen, or of his frame.
He’s using a lot of these.
He’s pushing the silhouette of the character around and using his eyeline in order to create
tension in the rhythm of this image.
The question is, does the chair feel like it’s in flat space?
And it is.
There is no real spatial dimension in there or longitudinal space.
It does read really flat.
Okay, there is a question about, I guess a question or a concern, just to illustrate
kind of the convention of a portrait being in the middle of or looking toward the center.
Here is—I think in a situation like this, we’ve got a…there we go.
In this image the figure is way up here.
He’s way up in the top.
Remember, I was saying before that if we want to make something more stable, we’re going
to divide it into equal thirds.
If we want to have it more interesting or dynamic or gothic, maybe we don’t divide
it into three equal parts.
They could be grouped completely different.
Maybe something like this.
Maybe something like this.
In this situation he is looking toward his—I haven’t heard anything about looking toward
the center of the canvas, but I do know if you’re going to create some kind of balance
with a character in terms of their gaze.
If they’re off on, let’s say in this case, on the left side up in here, if their gaze
is across length-wise, that creates the balance.
That’s what is the important, the important aspect here.
That’s what creates the balance.
His eyeline comes down this way.
The question comes in, is there is a convention about having things face inward toward your
If you have things facing outward from your composition, what happens is it implies more
space outside your frame.
It implies that there is a snapshot, another world, something else outside.
That’s the effect that you get.
For instance, I can just, I’ll finish this off with this guy.
There is a lot of tension coming in here because he creates these really strong shapes and
brings them around near-tangent to the end.
Even the way he holds his hands and stuff, it really implies a lot of internal tension
It really plays out a lot of the ideas of some of these stresses.
The idea that you’ve got this large space, the thing that tends to balance it out is
that his eye is going across here.
It does go across.
He is really challenging the viewer and creating a lot of tension in this situation.
This we can overlap like this.
Now, if we’re looking at—I’ll just do a little picture of say a head shot or something.
If you’re going to do something like that.
If you have a head here, you’ll want to have the eyes coming in here, and if that’s
considered a rule, the only rule that really applies is that you make sure that there is
greater distance from their eye gaze to the outside here than over on this side.
Or, you have things out here that are helping to reinforce that direction to keep them inside
If we have somebody’s head, let’s just say you have the over here, if their eye gaze
is out this way you have more negative space, and you create more tension here.
This creates a lot of tension, and your eye will go to where there is tension.
Basically, you’ll give up what’s going on in the rest of the image, even if I’ve
got someone sitting this way.
If they’re looking off the frame that way, you’re going to recognize this as really
dead air and kind of a negative space a lot more.
It’s going to appear more radically awkward.
It’s only because you’ve got their eyeline so close to the picture that the edge of the
If you have, again, I’ll draw it again.
If they’re off to this side you want to have a little bit more air over here.
That will help balance this out.
Your eyeline is a very, very fast line.
Your eye moves really rapidly along that.
Because of that you need a little more distance.
When you don’t have that it’s really quick to the edge.
Your eye kind of floats out here.
You dismiss this.
Whatever is going on here, you dismiss it.
Whatever is going on here you dismiss it because you’re not balancing this space.
You’re giving more dominance right at the edge of your composition.
This image, it has more tension and it’s more unnerving, and so it doesn’t feel like
it has the same kind of harmony that this lower image would.
If that’s your intention to show a balance and a harmony you might go toward this.
If you’re creating a certain amount of tension, you might want to go towards that.
The question is, why wouldn’t you always choose this?
Why would you ever choose this?
It really has to do with what you want to say.
It all comes down to every mark, every move you make has a consequence.
Every move you make has a consequence.
Be aware of the consequence, and then once you understand that everything you put down
has a consequence, then you realize they’re all tools.
There are no rules.
There are just tools.
These are all tools for you to use in order for you to tell your story better.
It comes down to just that.
It comes down to the story you want to tell, and all of these elements, all of these conditions
that you can create within your composition.
If you’re clear on the story you want to tell, then you use the tools that tell that best.
And if you create a harmony within those tools, you can create as much tension as you want.
That’s why I pulled up Phil Hale’s images.
They aren’t the most calming, satisfying, harmonious things.
They do have a harmony in their tension.
They have a certain type of balance.
It’s a little bit—it makes sense because it’s all thought out and it’s harmonized.
He’s telling the story, and he’s clear about the story, and he’s reinforcing that
story with all of the parts put together.
The question is what could he possibly be trying to convey with this pose and this gesture.
Now, whether this is—if this is a portrait of somebody in particular, it could be making
a personal statement with that person, about the person.
Maybe they have a little attitude and yet socially awkward.
That might be what I read out of this because his facial expression does leave a certain
He does deliver a particular air with that facial expression, and then when I see his
hands there is a real tension and awkwardness to his hands.
Then when I see his hands there is a real tension and awkwardness to his hands, you
know, almost like a Gustaf Klimt image.
There is a certain tension and rigidity to the way he handles himself.
It looks a lot like being influenced by a Gustaf Klimt, or, excuse me, an Egon Schiele,
Egon Schiele drawing.
To me that looks like that’s the influence; it’s Egon Schiele.
Okay, here is another image by Phil Hale.
You can see in this image as well, he is really playing the, there is a lot of form, and there
is a lot of these strong axis lines in this image as well.
Yet, when you look at his hands they’re kind of disappearing off into the darkness.
Getting really close to the edge.
He is building, and the guy on the right is right on the edge of the frame too.
What he’s doing is he’s creating a lot of tension between the form and the flatness.
It’s a real abstract piece.
There is a lot of real gestural dynamic, almost like a gestural dynamic stroke that’s rendered
out in these figures.
It’s almost like that abstract gesture is really almost the subject that the movement
in the figure becomes really the subject of the painting.
Now, here is an image that goes along with what we were just talking about, centering
an image in the frame.
These two, the girl kicking, she is crammed over at one side of the frame.
The other person is flying out the other side of the frame, which puts all of our detailing
along the outside edge, the two sides and the bottom.
The middle part, most of the middle part is just empty air except for her leg.
There is a strong diagonal up there, and a strong eyeline of hers.
The head goes completely into darkness on the other figure.
It’s a really interesting handling of space that, you know, it’s compelling because
there is a strong action, strong gestural abstract direction of
these shapes and their forces.
And yet, you see so much of this negative space in there.
You know, you just feel so much negative space in the image, and you’re searching for the,
is there another subject in there, and it’s really pushed outside the frame, so this is
kind of an image that kind of pushes outside the boundaries.
I put this in here so that we can draw this.
I think this would be good to do so you guys can jump in on this.
I had the models really kind of push the pose a little bit.
What I’m going to do is I’m going to put.
I’m going to keep him in here somewhere.
Actually, I’ll put him up a little bit higher here.
I have him in here.
Now what I’m going to do is I’m going to see that these general rhythms, if you
look at just the general axis, so I get something like this, this, and then out here like this.
Opposing that I have her back here, where she is going like this, and then a strong
curve like this.
Her arm comes out like this and then back up.
Look at that hand.
Look at that little curve back in the hand like that.
Playing off of those, I’m getting some of the material off the edge of this.
I can get this back here like that.
These are gestural rhythms that I might see in there, and if I’m going to reinforce
these, I’m going to look for anything I can that’s going to reinforce this kind
of a gesture.
Okay, so if I want to make his brow low like this, I’m going to have something that pulls
you back here like this.
I’m going to take advantage of this bun back there.
I’m going to take advantage of his hair pulled back like that.
I’m going to go around here.
As I put this, this is a positive shape right here.
As I put this down, I’m conscious of this shape over here.
I’m going to look for something like this.
Somewhere in here.
I’m going to use these folds in his boot to bring your eye around.
Then it ends with this like this.
Again, the sword up in here like that.
There is a little rhythm in here too with this.
I might just bring this up a little more like this to push that back around.
This kind of coming out, almost flying up.
I’ll take advantage of that to bring it over the back there.
Fold there that comes off of here like this.
And then his leg under here.
I’m going to get the axis, his axis, his rhythm here, but I’m going to use this bring
my eye around the back here.
That means if I do that I’m going to come back over here, and I need someone to pick
it up here.
I’ll move her here this way, and I’m going to bring the axis—instead of even I’m
going to bring it down a little, so down here a little.
That bending it down here a little bit is going to connect that.
I’ve changed that from she has, but I’ve brought it down on purpose a little bit down
here so that they can kind of connect with this
This force pushes down this one, this one pushes out this way.
If I have something like this, it pushes this way.
If I have something like this, it pushes this way.
What I did is I moved it down a little bit so it pushes you this way into her hand.
Does that make sense?
I can put a shape on the top of her head here.
I’m going to push it up just a little bit.
I’m going to make it a little bit broader out here just a little bit, and then her other
arm out here turning and coming up like that.
Following along there and then.
I’m building a rhythm back in here, so then this comes over and this comes up and then
this comes up.
I’m trying to find a little bit more rhythms in here.
I can find a little bit more that I can connect like this.
I’m looking for shapes all throughout here that I can help move my eye from one figure
to the next and keep things kind of moving around this scene.
If I want to open this up, I can make this material come all the way out to here possibly.
Maybe this is some kind of a desk that has, you know, it stands up like this, and maybe
this goes out here like this and back up.
That being the case, I can just enclose this whole shape like this.
That gives me some movement in here.
Again, closing this off.
If I want to continue along that track I can give something that is going to give some
directional movement towards her this way.
I can do a couple of different things.
I can frame something by doing this.
That will pull this top down.
I could just bring something hanging along this way or I can make it curve and come down.
Let’s just say it’s a drape, and I’ll make it come down like this, and then I’m
going to put a rope here because I want this arrow coming here, right.
I’m going to sag this down—why?
Same reason here.
I’m going to give a directional shape there.
Creating some rhythms like this.
Now I’ve got a shape that’s framing her or aiming at her action like that.
Maybe I want to bring this down lower so that this remains dominant.
I keep this clear.
Maybe I just make this go way back to here, maybe all the way over to here.
If I have something like maybe the bottom of a column behind the curtain here, it’s
going to help bring my eye up.
I go from here down to here, down to here.
Kind of like that.
As I add things or move things around, I’m always looking at what’s the consequence
or how can move things around or create an environment that actually adds to the directional
movement that’s already established.
Again, how do I enhance the story with the shapes that I’m drawing?
where you see the characters.
Most of them are lined up along the upper two-thirds.
Then you have the two characters sitting on the ground that are different than anybody else.
Their folds and their eyelines and the directions on them and how they’re sitting are really
in contrast to everybody else.
This is John Asaro’s image.
You can see in this image he’s taking the different planes and bending planes, creating
folds in the material so that he is going to move your eye in the direction that he
wants to move your eye and build these alignments in there.
These are some images by Dean Cornwall.
This is what I want you guys to do.
I want to do some of these in class, but you can look some of them up
and do some on your own.
Dean Cornwall was someone, he didn’t just use axis lines and edges, but he used everything
and created rhythms everywhere.
There is hardly anything in these images that doesn’t lead to something else.
I mean he is so thorough.
It comes down to depicting a character or a scene or a story.
You are depicting the objects in there or the people in there, or there is an abstract
You can favor one or the other.
He is able to really push the design quality, meaning he is pushing the shapes that will
move your eye in and throughout this image in a way.
He is bending those shapes to the degree to that they are not really real.
They are still believable.
The handling of their quality of light helps reinforce that.
The way he overlaps and builds these relationships, it helps sell the idea.
Clearly, these shapes are very much designed.
Okay, a question comes in when you’re confronted with wanting to make something realistic,
and yet the pressure to design it comes in as well.
Where do you go or what do you do?
Well, I think the thing is, if you’re going to paint something or draw something convincingly,
it’s more than just the rendering.
It’s drawing or painting the nature of what’s there.
If you focus on the nature of what’s going on, if you focus on what’s really happening
with those forms, with those lights, with those situations and put that a little bit,
rather than rely on the rendering of that photograph, you will end up capturing a little
bit more of the essence of what’s there.
If you do that, that’s a little bigger than life.
It feels a little bigger than life.
That’s the exciting thing about some of these images.
Let’s draw this one.
I’ll point out some of the things as we go through the image.
I’m trying to get proportionally the same here.
This is Dean Cornwall, yeah.
Okay, again, there is an eyeline that’s going on his eyeline and hers, and first what
I’m going to do is I’m going to look at the division of space across here.
I’m going to see that he has something that’s small, medium, and large.
I’m going to look for that kind of division of space first.
Then I’m going to look along my vertical line too, and I’m going to see that he’s
got this guy coming in here.
Below that, there is this line on the wall.
It kind of comes across here like this.
Then on this side he’s got this.
I’m just kind of mapping out the basic proportions of some of these things first.
Okay, so what I’m going through, what I’m looking at or focusing on in here is
Cornwall’s use of these directional, the way that he bends his shapes.
I’m just going to start going across the top.
There is no particular order for this, but I’m just going to point this out.
There is a coat hanging here.
If you take a look at the coat hanging there, it’s not just hanging there.
The inside is a negative shape.
It curves this way.
The outside comes out and then there is a shape that comes in like this.
That helps create a rhythm of movement coming in and in and in.
The outside from that point comes out and then down.
Again, this is the positive shape.
The coat is the positive shape there that still remains the negative shape.
He has another shape that starts to wrap around with another shape that comes off the top here.
This comes around like this and stops like that.
Below that is the edge.
He’s got this directional shape here, but look at this fold in here.
It comes around like this.
It leads your eye around.
There is a strap and a buckle that hang down below this.
This goes up at an angle here.
It goes up at an angle here.
He’s got this shape coming in here like this.
There is a strong.
This shape becomes an arrow, an arrow.
This frames, frames, frames.
Do you see?
So, anything that you have, if you have a subject anywhere, if your subject is here,
you’re going to have arrows pointing toward it, or you’re going to have things framing it.
And he uses this idea all throughout.
If I have her face in here, I’m going to make this go around and around.
I’m going to accentuate her eyes because I’m going to have these go this way and
then come this way and this way.
Then I’m going to frame it around the top this way.
I’m going to enclose all that in there.
From there I’m going to make this straighter, and I’m going to pull it in.
That’s kind of a contrived shape.
I’ve got this.
Her neck coming down here.
I have something coming this way.
What that does is that closes this off.
This comes down.
This comes around.
This closes it off.
And then her arm keeps you focused in there—this part of her arm.
The shadow, again, that’s going to help lead your eye in there.
You can see that he’s really giving her some strong shapes in here.
He’s contriving these very strong shapes in here.
There is a shape that comes down here like this.
There is a shape that comes like this and then up in here.
These differences and these shapes give variety.
They’re going to give variety but they’re going to strengthen this directional shape
Then we have this with subtle horizontal lines.
We get the subtle horizontal lines coming across here, they’re in there as well.
Look at the shadow in here.
It’s coming in here, and he wants to reinforce this, this shape here so he’s going to reinforce
it up there and then frame the whole thing like that.
Again, frame and point.
That’s the shadow of that shape coming down here.
This shape here—look at how strong that contrast is, and look what it does for you.
It’s another arrow.
It points up in here.
There is this that comes down, and then it goes back like this.
This shadow from this coming close to the outside edge.
He breaks the edge with this a little bit.
The legs on the table, they’ll bring us down in here.
He only has one over here, but he’s got all these over here.
This clears this up, simplifies this by making this all dark in there.
All this becomes dark, a dark silhouette.
Okay, and then the rifle works as a directional angle in here like this, pushing around again.
The form creates a shape like this.
This, this, all these are framing him now.
So, frame it with this.
Bring it down.
Frame with this because we see this stronger because this is more of a form shape in there.
This goes into a shadow.
This goes into light here, so we’re framing again through this shape, this shape.
It comes all the way down into there.
That frames the top over there like this.
Yeah, all of these shadows, you know, they’re all designed in here to lead your eye up there,
and it’s cut off here in this angle because if you look at this angle
his knee is this angle.
This goes in.
The linen on the bed goes in like that.
This holster or belt buckle comes around and turns.
It comes up like this to help turn your eye and flip your eye up, and make this more dynamic
as it comes around.
Another fold coming down in here that might break that.
This gets real dark in here.
We get into him and you’ve got a shape like this.
His cheek, his chin.
And it all rides his silhouette.
It leans out this way just a little bit more.
It becomes steeper in the front.
It goes at an angle because what’ll happen is that gives this a direction.
It pushes you back up towards hers.
His eyeline, we can’t see his eye, but we’re getting this shape that pushes you up here.
His back here, and a strong fold on the back of his coat.
Look at the folds on his arm, this one coming right down, aiming right up.
All of this helps.
Closing off the frame with this piece here, sweeping up like this all the way into here.
It comes down, over down.
And then like this.
So, all of these are all moving you into here.
He uses all the shapes to move around, either this way or move this way
or close your eye off.
The rifle, the little L that’s on the rifle going back into here, into here, and then
he’s got this back in here.
This is coming down like this.
Grouping this altogether, simplifying this as a mass.
I guess this is more—there is a little section that’s in light here that I didn’t get.
He’s got a little container, moving our eye back this way.
All these little things are purposeful in moving your eye around in some direction.
This is the thing that blows my mind.
All these things are just moving your eye right around here.
They’re all purposeful.
The question is, or one of the thoughts here is that there is a lot of tension created
or intensity might be a better word, intensity.
Because of his pose being so strong moving inward.
He’s almost aggressive in his posture.
So, yeah, there is a certain type of aggression in his posture.
I missed this fold here, but look at this.
Look at this shape that is created there.
Framing, framing, framing.
All of these things, every mark.
This is the thing that amazes me with Cornwall’s work.
Almost every mark he puts down, every shape he puts down is leading your eye from one
area to another.
There is a purpose for every shape he puts down.
You know, the deeper you look into it, you haven’t seen enough.
He just goes deeper and deeper into it.
Yeah, it would be interesting to know how much time that he invested in creating these
types of alignments and things like that.
You can do this, and I think the best way to do it is if you’re doing a, if you’re
figure drawing or if you’re costume drawing, then what you do is you look at the model
and you do a drawing, maybe you get the axis line, maybe arrange your axis line first.
Then you look for some of those things and you try to put them in.
Then put a piece of tissue paper over, reinforce it.
Another one, reinforce it.
Keep trying to find more as you go.
It’s really more a case of editing.
You put it in.
You take it out.
You work with what you have.
What’s the purpose of the design of that overall thing?
What are you going to do to help reinforce that?
Let’s do another one.
We’ll just take that approach to this.
What I’ll do is I’ll put that over here.
Let’s just take that approach like a basic figure drawing approach to this.
Let’s just say that we’ve got one guy here, and basically he’s holding onto this
other guy, this boy.
I’m just going to do kind of basic volumes first to get the feel of this situation, or
kind of get the axis of these.
Okay, let’s just say we start with a basic silhouette of the general figures,
and we look at, you know, even if you draw an axis line or their axis line.
Once he has that, he can look at moving now.
It’s a case of moving your eye into where you want them to look.
There are two situations here.
One, there is this guy.
We want to look here so we’re going to frame him here.
This becomes important.
This becomes important.
This becomes important.
Now, his lip is going around the other way.
It’s going up over the top and over the top on his chin.
This is coming around under and this coming around over, and then we have the shadow here
that’s really reinforced strong from his neck to his clavicle and then around his shoulder.
Again, very strong framing around there.
Look at the shadow in here.
Again, very big, very strong, and he’s got on his shoulder—look at the muscle—it’s
framing his face.
That’s what is going on with that shape.
It’s also leading you up to frame up his face and then down and then his elbow, down
his wrist and then his hand down here like this.
His shoulder is almost separated like that.
Below his clavicle we see across the top of his chest just a little bit of that shape,
but that shape is important because it’s reinforcing over and over.
We need something that’s framing him like this.
Outside of that, we have this.
We have this coming down.
This is an arrow.
This is aiming up.
Shadow comes down like this, and then aims in like that.
This closes off that space and brings you up into here.
Then we’re going to go to the inside or the back of his arm, and if you’ll look
at the fold, it reinforces his shoulder, but then there is a long one that comes down here
that leads you up.
It wraps around.
Now we start framing around the guy carrying him.
Around, around, around, around.
All the way up here.
All of this is really just there to frame him.
Then the shadow coming out of here, simplifying that area.
I’m going around and around.
I’m just following these shapes, really, that are set up in this design.
Down over here.
Shape coming in here like this.
Again, like this and then framing his head that way, casting his shadow there like that.
These shapes are all—this eyebrow is framing this around here.
There are all these little bits, but even the smallest shapes are all
adding to something else.
They’re coming around, coming around here.
It comes around the back of his head here.
This all makes a shape in here, coming across here.
Boom, comes out here like that, then back and then around.
It helps frame this whole area.
It comes down to his knees.
I guess his knees are out here.
Inside, then his tummy in here.
The fold here goes around here on this leg, and then this one goes this way.
There is a fold here and a fold here, and they’re all working as strong directional lines.
Here is his hand coming up.
His leg comes up here like this and then brings us back up into the frame by getting his toe
turned up like that.
Look what he’s delivered up here.
Let me finish this.
Look at this.
If this framing coming around here isn’t obvious enough in throwing this into shadow,
and over here he puts another shadow in here that comes down here right on the edge.
What does he do here?
Look at this shape.
Again, it connects this shape with this shape with this shape, and it creates this rhythm
that moves this all around.
Okay, more shapes in here.
You can look and see how you can build some of the shapes to keep moving your eye around.
He’s got a shape coming in like this, the back of a chair.
That shape is, its purpose is to move your eye up and around there.
This is leading your eye and creating and arrow going up again…leg in there.
In here, again, you’ve got the inside of his arm, and he’s got a lot of folds in
here that are doing different things, but they are in essence just giving you a different
curve, curve all the way up.
All this goes into a shadow back up in here, but you know this dark shape in here just curves.
All of these come out of this dark shape to kind of move your eye around.
Then there is a heavy section down in here or shadow shape in there.
It looks like a gun or a holster, a shape out here, and then coming down here.
On the bed it’s not just a fluffy pillow, it’s a design shape.
Again, keeping your eye in the frame is just amazing.
See how one feeds the other.
It’s this to this to this to this to this coming down here, and then coming up here
up to the hand.
Then in light.
The fold in the blanket.
Look at the fold in this.
Here it is in light.
Here is this shadow.
Okay, this shape, okay, it’s not just this shape.
It’s this shape.
It creates a force going in this direction, and look at the direction, boom, right up there.
He doesn’t just make a curve.
He doesn’t just paint a fold.
He actually moves that curve into the direction that he wants to turn it.
Anytime you change a fold, change an angle, you can create a directional force out of
That’s the one thing that he has done quite a bit.
Look at the shadow on the wall behind this guy.
That’s pretty wobbly stuff.
If you want your eye to look down here, what’s he going to do?
He’s going to hang the picture with a long wire.
This aims down.
Do you see that?
He’s using this framing device.
It’s not sitting on the wall like this.
It’s tilting forward.
He reinforces it up here with this little shelf going into shadow because the shelf
is built like this.
I would assume that he used models for these.
The question comes up if there is ever a case where rhythm is too much, when you put too
How much is enough and how much is too much?
That’s something that I wouldn’t know.
I think the thing is that it’s what suits your story.
I think that is kind of the benefit of a lot of this.
It’s really what suits your story.
The statement is there is a whole lot going on, but he’s still clear on where to look.
The thing is, all of those shapes that I’m pointing out, they are to get you to look
to where you’re supposed to look.
They are all supportive of the subject and where he wants you to look.
He’s either pointing at something or he’s framing around something, or he’s utilizing
the surface, tilting at an angle to work, to move your eye.
It’s all about moving your eye in and throughout these designs.
So yeah, he might start with the story and put the figures in a pose, but then he’s
going to look at the costuming.
He’s going to look at the lighting.
He’s going to look at every aspect of it to help create these shapes that will move
your eye in and around, to keep your eye focused, where he wants you to focus.
You know, if you’re doing a painting, let’s just say you’re doing a landscape painting,
and you’re doing a landscape painting, and you’re going to submit it in a show, and
it’s going to hang on a wall with 30 other paintings, and you want the viewers to come
and look at your piece.
Well, as long as you can maintain the viewer to be moving around in your piece, you’re
going to own the space.
You’re going to own the time and they’re going to be compelled to look at your work.
What you really want to do is you want to contain the expression and keep the viewer
to look inside, move them around your subject, but don’t lose sight of your focal points,
where your main story is.
You want to keep them entertained to your main focal point, then you want to build subordinate
elements around it.
That should dominate your action.
Then, around that, yeah, all the shapes and marks that you’re going to put down, you
want to create different rhythms that would help move your eye in a direction.
There might be near tangents or near alignments.
Directional things—I’ll point out a couple of things right here.
For instance, we’ve got This moving up here.
These framing around here.
All of this framing around.
Moving up here on here, moving up here like this on her.
Framing around in here.
All of these little bits, moving around, moving around.
This, moving around this way, and then a long thing down here.
All of this in here, moving you, creating the tension, moving up in there.
This long line moving in here.
All of these things, you know, to lay the rifle down and get it in the right position
that’s going to move your eye in a particular direction, that takes a little work.
Even with that, even on that there are little stickers on the drum here that are also going
to have a length attitude.
They’re going to move your eye area on this surface.
They’re going to also reinforce this movement.
Every little bit that he puts in here has a purpose.
He’s finding a purpose to move your eye, and you can’t help but be compelled by the
rhythm moving around in that image, or any of his images.
He’s got a lot of really strong images.
He would be a good person to look at.
I put some more images up of his work.
What I’d like you to do is draw more of these for next week.
Go over some of his drawings.
Try to find the rhythms.
Look for the little folds, the shapes, the shadows, everything that he puts in.
They’re all interlocked.
He does it better than almost anybody.
He doesn’t just use the access lines of the forms.
He uses shapes.
He uses shadow shapes.
He uses positive shapes.
He uses folds.
He uses every single little tool he possibly can to create all these rhythms and create
an eye movement.
So, look for those.
Do a few more of those.
If you want, if you get a chance to do some figure drawing, do some figure drawing, and
then like I said, put a piece of tissue over it and look for more, look for more, look
for more, and that’s how you’ll really get used to using it.
This is something that you can start building into your work.
You’ll find that it will—number one, it’s a lot of fun.
On the other hand, you will be, every mark you put down you’re going to realize the
consequence of adding to shapes that will actually plus your image.
So, I hope you’ve learned a little bit this time, and you can see the potential that you
can create more eye movement.
What I’d like you to do is copy some of the images that are placed on the site and
look for directional movement in both your shapes, your 2D breakup of the surface, of
the forms moving in and out of your illusionary space.
Try to find different areas that move your eye around and throughout your image and use
these different applications of rhythm.
If you’re doing some figure drawings, go ahead and do a drawing and then lay a piece
of a tissue over it and design more shapes.
Then put another piece of paper over it and design more shapes.
Try to find alignments.
Go ahead and bend the reality just a little bit just to get these shapes.
I want you to avoid only looking at this axis lines.
I want you to utilize the other aspects of rhythm.
Okay, so good luck with that.
Reference Files (1)
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1. Lesson Overview46sNow playing...
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2. Aspects of Rhythm49m 0s
3. Axes of Depth & Rhythmic Forms41m 44s
4. Directional Forces & Planes46m 16s