Guiding the eye through the picture with intention


Up to this point in my drawing life I’ve given little thought to composition — I feel fortunate to just get a drawing that looks something like what I see in my imagination. But I know that there’s more to a good picture than simple verisimilitude. I have three Hiroshige art prints staring back at me from above my monitor and each one is a masterpiece, not because everything in the image looks like a carp, or a geisha, or a traveler in the rain. Nope. The pictures are awesome because of their composition and the way my eye travels through each picture and takes me into the Edo period.

Today I decided to try composing a picture intentionally. I need a two-page spread and I want to combine four pictures of Jimmy Jay and Buddy Butterfly playing games into a single image that flows across two facing pages from one scene to the next. Here’s my working sketch. The blue line is on a Photoshop layer, not in the sketch itself.

The original sketch was drawn lightly with an HB pencil then given some contrast with 4 duplicate layers, all using multiply mode.