Monday, January 2, 2017

Finding Flow in Composition

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope 2017 is a time of exciting creativity for all of us.

This year, at least to begin, I want to focus on flow and coherence in drawing. In the work of many artists I see online and elsewhere, the composition seems guided by a flow that seamlessly relates one pattern to the next. I've been noticing this for some time now and wanting to learn how to achieve similar results in my own work. Since starting to do Zentangle four years ago, I have pretty much stayed with the string as the organizing principle in the tiles I create, which has been incredibly useful, but now it seems time to explore other ways of organizing the elements of a composition. 

The most natural place to start in this new focus is with floral/botanical designs, as these seem to flow each to the next with relative ease. In the following sketchbook drawing, I've kept things very basic to begin: the entire drawing is one tangle, #Aura-Leah. I started in the center, worked out all around the page using a simple branching technique, and finally connected up the branches along the border. 

The movement in this design is an improvement from string-organized compositions.

I used some watercolor (mostly straight from the tube or slightly thinned) to add some color. A second focus I have for 2017 is using more color in my work, especially watercolor. 

Here is another sketchbook study using the same idea of starting from the middle and working outward. For this drawing, I followed a simple guideline from E. Gombrich's book A Sense of Order. He points out that many traditional decorative designs grow from a simple 2 x 2 open grid (an equilateral cross) seed structure. To make this drawing, I started with that. Here is some sketchbook noodling around this idea:

This thorny branch design is a lovely one, right? I used this in the sketch above, but it got covered over with embellishments. I want to use it again in ways that make it show better.