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
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.