I appreciate the kind words I received on last month’s Composition post! So in the spirit of continuing the conversation on exciting compositional devices, let’s discuss how to use graphic shapes to divide your picture into separate quadrants. This is obviously a tool extensively used in sequential storytelling/comics, but in this case, I want to focus on it’s use in the single image.
Let’s start with the most obvious examples where a literal grid is utilized:
In the above pieces, an upright grid is used with varying levels of organization, from complex to simple. It might be useful to refer to Mondrian for inspiration.
Broken Fingaz uses the same type of organization in their 2d murals, but it becomes very exciting when they apply it to 3d spaces:
Now, take a look at compositions that use more angled divisions:
…more trippy and organic divisions:
Next, we have the classic device of utilizing an existing shape in the composition as a portal into another scene or subject:
Finally, you have to devote an entire section to Robert Weaver:
With Weaver every shape was an opportunity to either depict it as it was, use it as a portal into another scene or subject, use it as a mirror, or disrupt the 2D expectations of the viewer. He was an alchemist of dividing space!
I’m confident we have all noticed these types of compositions before, but it was fun to try to analyze and categorize them. Perhaps this might offer fuel for your compositional engine if you’re ever stuck on a layout!