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!
This is the kind of matter I enjoy the most: composition. I used a lot the grid composition to compone in illustration (I worked a lot doing comics, so, I always “smuggle” tools between both disciplines). Love your entries here in MC. Greetings from Argentina!
Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad you like the composition posts! It’s the most exciting aspect of being an illustrator in my opinion 🙂
The thing that amazed me about Weaver is that he was always playing with image juxtaposition, but you often don’t think about that with Reportage work. Most teach or talk about just draw what you see. I have seen some of his sketchbooks where he cut them in half and would flip drawings and paintings to see how they worked or fit together. Kind of like his own personal exquisite corpse of location drawings. would be a fun class exercise.
I agree that would be a fun exercise. I’m going to explore I can integrate that into some lessons! Thanks Matt.
Nice post. I think I might try and incorporate a gird for some personal projects. I kinda forgot how fun they are.
Thanks. Have fun!