- Lesson details
In this video lessons world-renowned artist Steve Huston continues his landscape series by focusing on the elements of design for landscape drawings and paintings. Steve will show you how to break your composition into quadrants to help analyze the compositional and three-dimensional elements including perspective. Steve will cover how to establish the right frame for your work, how to compose the landscape itself and work with symmetry and asymmetry in relation to compositional balance. You will also learn techniques to show variety in your work as well as creating distance or space.
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by focusing on the elements of design for landscape drawings and paintings. Steve will
show you how to break your composition into quadrants to help analyze the compositional
and 3-dimensional elements including perspective.
Steve will cover how to establish the right frame for your work, how to compose the landscape
itself, and work with symmetry and asymmetry in relation to compositional balance.
You will also learn techniques to show variety in your work as well as creating distance or space.
a composition because that’s a bigger topic. Composition formally, and I like to be fairly
precise with this term especially because there is confusion. Composition is design
plus concept. So when you have a concept, you have a vision of what you’re painting,
why the world is going to be painted in that style, have that kind of sense to it. What’s
the idea behind the painting? It’s life is a sunset, man’s inhumanity to man, whatever
it is. Probably not such a hit-you-over-the-head kind of theme as those, but there is going
to be some idea behind it, something you’re trying to get at. We’ll talk about that
in other lectures. It’s a big, big subject.
For now we’re going to talk about basic design. How can I organize the stuff in my
painting in my drawing from the reference I’m using to make a certain amount of sense
to be pleasing, to draw the eye to manipulate or entice the viewer to feel or see or catch
certain kinds of things. So there are several strategies. It’s a big subject, as I said.
We’re going to talk about some basic ones.
In landscape painting—and these tend to apply to whatever you’re doing, but we’re
going to apply them, of course, to landscape painting because that’s what we’re doing.
In landscape painting oftentimes what we’ll see is the artist organizing the space in
quadrants, in fours. Then they treat each one as its own little design problem.
You might have a cloud up here, maybe some to the cloud comes over here. There might be a couple
little birdies here. There might be “number 2” floating in the sky.
There might be a pasture here with a series of bushes or rocks.
I guess those look like rocks. [Laughs] A series of rocks.
Over here we’ve got a big tree...
...with a bush system on that. It's in shadow.
We have the pasture land behind it with, of course, a stick cow there, whatever
the heck it is. So notice now, and let’s give the sky a little bit of information.
Notice how I’m using sharpies here by the way. The only one that doesn’t have a label on it.
There you go, Sharpie. You can use—there are all sorts of colors. You can use black
or brown is probably better. You can use a real bright color on these kinds of things.
You see the rich color and you kind of miss the value, the color takes over. The intensity
of the color takes over the value and can kind of throw you. So something that is a
non-color is the way to go. That would be true if you’re using charcoal. I like these
ballpoint pen Sharpies. I use them a lot. Here’s a more dried out sharpie so you can
see I can actually tint a gray. You can use markers, of course. There we go.
Any tool is really fine. The thing about pen or a Sharpie is you can’t erase it. So if
I screwed this up I’ll do it again. Those rocks are way too big. This V-shape and that
V-shape—there are a lot of V-shapes. I don’t like that, whatever it is. You can change
it. But you don’t fuss with this. You just try something. It works or it doesn’t work.
You move on.
Quadrants. Each area is different and distinct. Oftentimes one area will be kind of a restful
area. There won’t be near as much going on. Notice there is not any dark value in
this area. There is not even any completed shapes, the cloud formation breaks apart,
the little terrain here, whatever the heck that is. The birds are not rendered at all.
There are just little slashes of line. Everything else has strong form in it. This has a little
less form. These have the anchor form, the deepest amount of value and such. But we have
an area of rest, so in the quadrant system we have four quadrants. Each one has its own
personality. One usually rests. One or sometimes two will be the main story, so maybe the traveler
and his family or the Lord of the Rings Fellowship,
or the Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath traveling to California. We have that down below.
It creates interest. So what we’re really doing when we design is we’re balancing the sameness against
dissimilar, the same against dissimilar, or the affinity against the contrast.
What's different? What is the same? Playing the games between those two things. We have a lot of
little characters that are lined. We have areas that are the biggest strongest shapes
or dark, that kind of thing. We create a certain balance between the things that group together
and the things that separate out.
Now, notice what we could do then. We could play games with that quadrant system. Do this.
Each quadrant, maybe the quietest area is here.
It’s a plane or Superman—I don’t know what it is
—coming in for a landing, and here’s the tower. Here’s the landing
strip. Whatever the heck is going on here, I don’t know. The blob monster is after him.
But we make the most interesting area the smallest or whatever it is. Endless variations of that.
The other way you can go with a quadrant is rather than across, an “X.”
This is traditional Renaissance.
If you’ve got a gate you have to put on your garden fence to keep the bunny
rabbits out, you’re going to make probably four pieces of wood nailed together. But,
if you just use those pieces of wood it’s going to go on you. So you do cross members
to give it strength and support to hold it together, to the tie the opposing corners
together structurally. We’re doing the same thing visually. We’re tying the opposing
corners in visually. Notice that when we do that, and also with the other quadrant system,
the center becomes very important. Something important happens at the center.
Or everything is happening away from the center.
Or in this case, fleeing the center.
If we throw it off axis, notice how the center does not become near as important. So that grid system can
work in all sorts of interesting ways. Look at Renaissance art. When we do a bigger talk
on composition we’ll look at that Renaissance art. You’ll see the center is crucial. So
if something is happening at or around or about to happen at or around the center quite,
quite often. So those are our choices in terms of quadrants.
Now, in no particular order, we can also deal with the depth of space. We can say that in
our world we have a foreground...
...and we have a background, but
what is most important, let’s see here, is what happens
maybe in the middle ground. The birds are swooping in to the people.
For whatever reason birds swoop into people. It doesn’t matter.
The other strategy we can use is what I’ll call the still life strategy.
The traditional still life artists did this.
We’ll make a big deal about the shadows.
They'll be very strong in value. If you refer to the laws of light of light lecture I’ve done,
I’ll talk about the good and bad of making these shadows strong, but they could be not
strong in value. They might be strong in color, like in a Sorolla on the beach kind of a thing.
But the shadows anchor the form. So if we have a big ball boulder here.
Notice those cast shadows and those downward facing form shadows, the shadows that are on the form,
and the shadows that are off the form. That’s what the form and cast shadow means.
Maybe there is an off-camera shadow here. Notice how when we do that it gives great weight
to the forms. They sit solidly on the ground, don’t they?
If we don’t do that—let’s do it like this.
Again, in my lecture on laws of light for landscaping,
I talked about aerial perspective, how keeping things lighter gives it a sense of space and depth so that you
feel that potentially miles of space in a landscape as opposed to still life that is
right in your face. But if it is all really, really light it feels ghostly and it starts to float.
Let’s do a portrait of a fellow in a hat. Notice if all the dark values are at the top
it starts to lift and float gain. But, maybe it’s a dark storm coming kind of idea.
Every single science fiction film you ever see the storm is coming. Darkness, bad things are
happening. So maybe it’s that kind of thing. That’s fine. If you put your darker values
at the top, if you don’t have any darker values at all you’re not going to feel the
weight, the gravitas of it. Notice if we do a gradation here how that helps even more,
and the more dramatic gradation, the weightier it is. It feels heavy, strong, grounded on that.
So where you put those shadows, the grounding of the shadows, the still life strategy
of the shadows. You put the shadow under the peach, under the vase, and then let that cast
across the table. Under gives weight and pulls it down with gravity, the cast shadow ties
it in to the surrounding form. We have that difference of the piece of fruit and the similarity
of how that fruit ties into the rest of the world with the cast shadow. We have a visual
metaphor for the separate thing composing, designing, fitting back into the environment.
So those shadows do a lot of good work for it.
Of course, you can combine these. Mix and match values. So, placement of the forms in
relationship to a grid, and that should say implies the border. The border becomes important.
If we’re pushing things away from the center, if we're pushing them more towards the edge
and possibly potentially the corner of the structure, that’s going to make a big difference.
The other strategy we have is using an S-curve or a zigzag.
Now, notice when I do this I’m going to use some perspective, Western perspective.
Each curve is going to get tighter or shorter in length, tighter in curve or shorter in
length as it goes back. We could do this too. Start to go like the seismograph back and
forth as it goes wider, and notice if I bring this out even farther, now we’re getting
that old railroad track perspective idea. That creates that sense of movement. It draws
you back in space. You’ll see oftentimes landscapes will have tree, ridge, this could
be a mountainside coming down through, something that zigzags you or winds you back, so S-curves
or zigzag. Notice that the S-curve or zigzag—or let’s just talk about zigzag. The zigzag
can be straight or have a curve or a wobble in it. It wouldn’t have to be a zigzag like
this and probably shouldn’t be if it’s a river meandering back into the countryside.
Of course, you can make this fatter as the river is closer to us, as it goes off camera
like this, let’s say, and tighter as it goes taking back.
Using those tree lines, fence posts, river, chasm in the ground, whatever it is to yank
you back in space, a visual way to go. It’s the same idea as linear perspective where
you’ve got a road with a fence post going. It fades back that way or a building is going
down Main Street in the buildings. It gives you a visual clue that draws you back.
got similar and different affinity and contrast. I might have a very organic structure here,
let’s say a lilac bush or whatever the heck it is.
Then we’ve got an old barn that looks like it’s falling down.
We’ve got a little barn there. So we create the difference between
the organic and the architectural. You can see now what I’m doing is I’m taking any
possible visual idea and I’m looking for how I can make it the same or different.
I can do round against square. Organic against architectural. Simple against complex. Big
against small. Many against few. Round against flat. Real against abstract. You can go on
and on with this stuff. All the information in upper part of the composition, not much
in the lower part. Breaking it into four but concentrating on one. Notice how each of these
strategies, it’s this to that. How can I play that game of this and that? Those are
called visual components. All the tools we have of shape and value and color and detail
and architecture and 3D and 2D an all that kind of stuff. Infinite number. Depth of feel.
We talked about rack focus. Same thing. We make the middle value the most important.
We make the others different. We make the front the most important, the most complex.
We make the others simpler. We make the back the fullest value. We make the other two levels
of space more middle or limited value. You can go on and on and on. Each of those is
a tool to tell your story and to get your idea across.
So we can call that the unity of opposites, how we make these things work together. Maybe
they end up being the same value. Maybe they’re the only vertical structures in there.
Okay, so those are some of the strategies, just some of them. We’d spend about eight
hours if we did all of them, but you get the point on that. Some of the strategies of how
to organize the stuff just in terms of an internal logic that you’ve applied to it.
That’s what the frame really is. When I create a frame I go out to the store and by
a frame to put my painting in. I pick the canvas, the canvas board, the drawing paper
to use. I’m working with a scale. The scale has a certain size, and it has a certain proportion.
I’m going to use most or all of that. I want you to think of that frame as a window
into the world. This is my world. Come and look in and see what my world looks like.
In my world everything is close to you. It gets very, very dark. In my world everything
that goes far away gets very, very light and blue. In my world everything at the borders
is big, and everything in the center is small. Anything you want to do with that frame.
So the frame is of particular importance because it is the window, and what that is saying
is that everything outside of that don’t look at. That’s what you’re telling the viewer.
Only pay attention to this. In my world, little boys can grow up to be wizards.
In my world pigs can talk, whatever it is. It’s important that you define that space so if
they feel it’s in the pages of my novel. It’s on the stage in between the curtain
calls. We define it. It’s between the credits in a movie. We define that space and frame it.
Then the frame itself becomes important.
If we make it really long and narrow and do
whatever we’re going to do inside it’s going to feel stable. It’s like lying on
a bed relaxing. There is not very far to fall. You’re going to feel comfortable and safe,
calm. Horizontals are calm generally. If I make it vertical it’s going to feel stable.
It’s like a pillar of support. But, if it gets very, very tall and very, very narrow,
notice how it feels like a little nudge and you can knock it over. So this kind of proportion
is probably going to feel more stable, will feel more stable than these. They both have
solid foundation since the stability, but the narrower you make the base, the taller
you make the top, the more potential energy there is, and it can start to weigh on you.
For example, if I was going to do an illustration for Psychology Today about fear of heights.
Maybe I’d do that. Do a little guy on whatever that is. Skyscraper or a cliff. That is going
to add a lot to the story, isn’t it, by playing that up.
If I do it on my horizontal composition it’s not quite as
powerful is it. Now, it feels like he is standing out there and meditating. “Ohmmm.” He
is feeling one with the world. He is not worried about falling. He is so confident that the
world embraces him. That he is safe. Here, oh my God, save me especially if we do something
way down here. Here is the city. A damn city that drove me to it. That is scary.
Notice that there is a personality to each frame that you use. Of all the frames you use, the
most difficult then is the square, because it is what we call in the business boring.
Every side and every corner is exactly the same. In fact, in all these every corner is
exactly the same, and that’s why in modern 20th century art oftentimes you’d have shaped
canvases. They were rhomboid or parallelograms or a jigsaw puzzle shapes. Shaped canvases
that broke away from the limitations of that or monumental work that had no canvas, no
separation. Mural work works on that level in some ways. It integrates with a whole architectural
environment, becomes a whole wall or a whole panorama of a ceiling and integrates and oftentimes
that image will go around those walls so it feels like it transcends limits.
So anyway, those are our choices. Notice each of these we can go against the grain. I could
put the most dynamic of ideas inside a square, and the confined boring quality of the square
might make that dynamic image more dynamic. Rubens did just that in The Rape of the Daughters
of Leucippus, where he put this rape scene, this abduction scene with these rearing horses
and brutes grabbing this poor young women, yank them off the ground. They’re falling
back. Everything’s at angles. Everything is emotional, upsetting, and he put it in
the most boring, quiet frame possible. So you can see a tremendous amount of possibilities
here and more to come on this subject, ofcourse.
Let’s stop there for a second and let me now show you some the basic traditional strategies
the landscape painters used. So another way to look at this—we’re just going to keep
a basic proportion to the frame. Playing with the frames is a whole other way to take it
as we just talked about. But now what I want to do is organize the information within somehow.
There is a bunch of them. I’m just going to give you a few to give you a start. We
can break up the stuff. We’re just going to make it tree stuff. The stuff over here
against the stuff over here. Maybe we’ll have two smaller pieces against one big piece
organizing from the size. Notice the center as we talked about the center is always important
because of what is there or what has moved away from there. We’ve stayed away from
the center. Maybe we’ll have a little distant tree back there, right at center or off-center
just to make it interesting. Notice how we have things separated out and pushed to the
side so that you’re drawn in to the center.
Now, another way to take that—I’m going to switch to a little stronger pen here. Another
way to take that then would be to play the sides and do the small town USA street idea
with our landscape. So I’m going to have a series of trees getting smaller, smaller, and smaller, like so.
When I do this I’m playing the symmetry. There is about as much
stuff on this side as this side. But, I’m also making it asymmetrical. The stuff on
this side crowds and is cropped by the top of the canvas. It’s more vertical. Pushes
in a little bit farther. Let’s maybe as I think about it say, well, since that’s
what I’m playing up I’m going to push it farther yet.
Notice how this has that quality.
This leans back a little bit. It does not crowd the top. Let me play this up a little
bit. This is in a deeper perspective. Notice the base of this tree-bush structure has a
steeper angle to it. This has a flatter angle to it. So it’s the same but it’s different.
We’re going to play that dynamic constantly. The similar yet different. They get along
but they have their own personality. I call it the first date version of composition.
They have enough difference that they’re interesting to each other. They’re similar
enough that they’re not going to quarrel, not going to get along. So we have that, and
then there may or not be something in the distance. Maybe the setting sun or something
like that up there. It’s up to you.
But anyway, I’m organizing from the outside in, and I’m drawing in towards the center.
I’m creating a basic symmetry, but the symmetrical proportions are not the same. They’re just
similar. We have two smaller rather than one bigger, so similar but not the same amount
of mass, two to one on a basic line.
This intrudes closer to the center. This stays
back towards the edge. On and on and on. This breaks the top, those kinds of things.
So, how can I make it the same? How can I make it similar? That’s what we’re interested
in. In story time that’s what they call drama. How do we make the hero and the villain
different enough that they really want to fight for two hours in a movie? But how are
they so much similar that they’re going to fight over the same thing? They have to
have similarity, or they’re not going to be in the same sphere of influence. They’re
not going to be fighting over the same thing. Maybe it’s control of the city, or maybe
it’s the woman they both love or whatever the heck it is. Same with a love story. They’re
male and female. One person is this type of personality. The other is another personality.
They’re very different. Yet, they are similar enough that by the end of the story they fall
in love. They connect. Even our terminology supports that thinking. So that’s what we’re
looking for in our composition, landscape or not. How are they different? How are they
the same? How are they interesting in their own right? How do they connect in a greater
whole called a composition or design?
...against something rather small.
The tall and small form of design. Again, this could be cropped or not, all the variations. They’re
the same yet different. They’re both very vertical. They both have a very simple, L-shaped
pattern. This is more bubbly and more bulbous in design. This is more of a zigzagging staccato
design, same yet different. Notice one is closer. One is smaller. One is farther. That’s
why we have a size difference. But it could be that they are on the same par. One is a
big rock; one is a little rock. Here’s my big rock. Here’s my little rock, like so.
Playing with that. We can also start to create shapes.
Notice what I’m doing here. I’m working with a very simple marker, a rather crude
marker. It’s not a ballpoint pen. The marks are fairly thick. The drawing is very, very
crude. Just evokes just a suggestive of what I’m after. This looks like it could either
be a tree or a baby Donald Duck. They’re very simple, crude. They’re nothing I’m
attached to. It’s just getting ideas down and working through. Notice how long it takes
me to do these things. Less than a minute oftentimes. I want that kind of freedom and
just kind of quick sketch fluidity. Just get through it. Get something down to get an idea.
Later I come back and pick one and say, well, that would be fun to do. That’s really powerful
design. Now, I’ll do a more careful drawing. I’ll do a color sketch. I’ll do all my
preliminary work. I’ll go out and take reference. I’ll set it up in the backyard, whatever
it is. I’m just working out themes. Once I get an idea, two sides of the compositions,
I can do all sorts of variations of that. Scale and number and size and shape and all
sorts of stuff, of course. Each of these could demand eight or ten little sketched variations of it.
Now I’m going to start focusing on an interesting shape.
Here’s a whole, something you might
see in Florida where it’s just this wall of vegetation. It just builds up. Maybe it’s,
you know, you’re walking underneath this incredible foliage.
Maybe there’s nothing much on the other side. It’s asymmetrical.
Notice that this is in a way a ying-yang kind of idea.
You have one side with not much there, in this case very light in value. The
other side more or less in another value. Maybe there are little breaks of light in
this side. Maybe there are little spots of dark in this side. You know the crowd coming
to the revival or whatever it is.
So, separating. This is happening over here. Something completely different is over there.
Notice it is completely different. This is big and looming and overshadowing and dark.
This is more horizontal, more sparse, really not even in any contained forms, just little
linear marks and very light in value. Yet, I have a little bit of a rolling line in here
and even the hatching in here could maybe pick up the straight lines of the figures
and the ground there or something. So same, yet different.
If I just do this, it’s not going to be that interesting probably.
Not for a landscape and not for a lot of, not
for anything that’s organic. If it was an abstract it could be great. A minimalist abstract
could be great. But for any kind of realistic picture making it’s going to be oversimplified,
meaning it’s too opposite, too different. This is just square and that’s round.
This is dark. Maybe that’s light. Should have made that light. This is big. That’s small.
They don’t have any, they don’t have a conversation. Notice that they would not have
a good time going out to dinner together. They have nothing in common. This guy is big
and square, and this guy is little and round. That’s it. There’s nothing else to say.
In other words, it’s not organic. Things that are organic, things that are alive in
nature are imperfect as they move. Nature evolves through time.
A form will evolve through space in nature.
If we come back here, as we go down this rounded foliage, it’s all rounded just like this
little guy is rounded, but every curve changes. Some are broken curves. Some are fuller curves.
Some are flatter curves. Some curves are pitched together. Some are stretched out. Some curves
bulge one way; some reverse the other, all that kind of stuff. Each has personality.
It evolves organically. It changes as it goes, and that’s the nature of the real world.
So if I’m going to do a little hillside here, I want it to vary as it goes. I don’t
want it just to be this probably, where it’s more or less the same all the way along. It’s
part of some big ball that gets cropped off. I probably want to play up the difference.
It’s a little at least flatter over here. It’s a little quicker here, and then it
ends in an S-curve or some such thing. There where a little character there may be standing
is more interesting. As I move along that line it evolves into something new.
That puts up another possibility. We could group everything up there darker or lighter,
crowd things towards the top. Break things, open them up towards the bottom or the reverse
of that. You can play things off geometric shapes or letter forms. Like over here we
have the L-shape, you know the O-shape.
It can be a tee-pee triangle A-form. Since it’s organic,
maybe for a sailboat, sail form. Since it’s organic it varies as we move.
It varies from side to side. This is bulging. This is binding. This is cropped.
This fades back into the environment.
Something going on here, something going on there.
We can use the base, the bottom to anchor the form coming into the picture.
This is going to crop our window. The frame is a window into the world. This is going to crop it.
Notice how we might use that in a western landscape.
The posse are waiting to catch the bad guys as they
come down Dead Man’s Gulch or closing them in.
We’re anchoring it in the bottom, holding it down
at the base like so anchoring it at the bottom.
Notice how it frames it beautifully.
When we end up with our, here’s our brown snowman.
This frames it. It puts a frame within a frame.
You can see how each of these, it’s nice to look at each of these that way.
When you start bringing in shapes they’re going to—from both sides or one side—they’re going to
create on some level a new little frame to look at. We now have a little frame in here.
That’s a whole new picture that’s framed by those trees. This is a whole new area framed
by those trees. This, of course, is a new area framed like that. As it gets more and
more broken notice that effect is not as convincing.
It's leaky. It leaks out. You can use the frame.
You can create a frame within a frame
to move you into a specific area. Vermeer did this all the time. He is the most famous.
He was a figurative painter. He painted women in
rooms. You’d see this kind of thing.
You might have a map or a tapestry here,
and then there would be a woman here working on her
sewing or some such thing.
There would be a window here or something.
So we’d have this whole big piece,
but this was the real picture right in here.
Right there, frame in a frame. Movies will use that a lot
in thrillers and mysteries and a high-emotion settings,
where they’ll reduce the space.
You have this nice, long panorama of a wide-screen
movie theater. That feels really open. There are plenty of places to run.
crowd you in. They’ll have a stack of old cars at the junkyard or the door of the castle’s
crowding in with the wall, that kind of stuff. They’ll put something in here. You have
the building here. They’ll cut off about, in this case, half of the picture. Now all
the action is over here. If we had the cropping of an old dead tree over here or something
it gets even smaller. We can reduce that space and focus you in frames within frames.
Those are a few of the strategies, just a few, that get you going.
How many objects am I going to put in there? Pick the two or three major ones and kind
of work them out. We’ve been working mainly with tow. Working those 2 or 3 major ones
to see where you can, how you can compose that space and how you play one off the other.
Alright, now another way to go is like this.
Notice that last series of design, so it’s really dealing with that two-fold.
The dichotomy, the two in opposition or in play against each other. So we had a shape here and a shape here,
and it was bigger or smaller or this or that.
Or sometimes we would play, and this was a tree here. There’s my tree.
Here's my rock. Sometimes the rock was here or the rock cropping or the tree, and sometimes it
was here smaller. We had this and this. See the relationship there? That linear relationship.
I’m going to put this here, and then I’m going to visually run over here and see that
and put that there. I’ll put it there as an artist. You’ll see it as a viewer. There
is it. You can go in any direction you want.
But, what we could do then is use that as a theme. Map out the space, the floor plan,
let’s say, of it. Now I’ve got—let’s switch here. Now I’ve got that, and I’ve got that.
Then we have something in the back here, so we’ll go back here, whatever the
heck that is, a little snowman again. Of course, that’s a little boring, so maybe it should
be—let’s do this. Maybe it should be this.
I’m going to have—we’ll just do rocks in this case.
Adjust that back a little bit.
Now you get the idea.
We could play up that.
We’re going to have stuff going on all over the place here based on this.
Let’s change colors so it’s a little more apparent.
They can be right on that or just vaguely connected to it.
But I can organize things like that.
In figurative painting, Rubens’ Daniel in the Lion’s Den, he has Daniel there praying,
“Oh God, don’t let him eat me.” Instead of a halo over his head, he has a halo, a
ring of golden lions hanging around him, literally, in an oval shape. It’s not tilted like this,
but it’s an oval. It’s not a perfect oval, but it’s clearly an oval if you look at it.
One lion is growling like he still might want to eat him. The rest of him are in various
stages of relaxing, so we get the idea that they’re calming down, and he is covered.
He’s going to be in good shape. So we can any kind of shape, lay that down as a floor
plan, as a blueprint. It could be an X like this. Maybe it’s for a Sergio Leone movie.
Four guys are in a standoff and somebody’s going to die. The X marks the death kind of
thing. So it can be for any shape, a plan for any reason.