Cre­ate vis­ual rhythms in your work

Anna Stein­bauer re­veals how she uses lead­ing lines to guide the viewer’s eye through her lush fan­tasy art­work

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Contents -

Anna Stein­bauer uses lead­ing lines in her art.

This im­age started out as some­thing I painted for fun, loosely inspired by Fan­taghirò, a se­ries of fan­tasy movies I loved when I was lit­tle.

I thought I could use the paint­ing as a new header im­age for my blog, so the ini­tial com­po­si­tion was very wide and not too tall. These di­men­sions quickly grew when I liked the idea so much that I wanted a full paint­ing, and again when it was de­cided that it would be used for cre­at­ing this work­shop. Re­crop­ping paint­ings with an al­ready es­tab­lished com­po­si­tion can be dif­fi­cult, but us­ing lead­ing lines ef­fec­tively helps. Ev­ery im­age has lines – ac­tual or im­plied – that lead the viewer’s eyes through the com­po­si­tion. Plac­ing these lines con­sciously gives you greater con­trol over how your paint­ing will be viewed and cre­ates a sense of rhythm.

A lot of this boils down to do­ing what feels right, which be­comes much eas­ier with prac­tice, but there are some gen­eral ideas to help get you started. Make an ef­fort to ar­range strands of hair, cloth­ing, ac­ces­sories and back­ground el­e­ments such as plants or ar­chi­tec­ture to keep the viewer’s eye mov­ing within the im­age.

When a char­ac­ter’s gaze leads out of the im­age, guide the viewer’s eyes back in with trees and fo­liage. Use limbs to point to­wards the fo­cal points and re­in­force these lines with folds in cloth that go along the same an­gle.

Take a look at your favourite artists’ works and try to find where and how they used lead­ing lines in their work.

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