How to Draw Rules of Composition

You say you have been studying art for some time now. It’s time to dive into an area of study that is often overlooked.

This pillar of art seems to be the last one on most artists’ lists. It doesn’t seem like there’s a science behind it. For a long time, I was one of these artists.

This fundamental art form is known as Composition.

It’s the art of organizing and presenting your art. It may sound confusing, but this means there is a skill you can learn about how to combine multiple elements in a visually pleasing way.

This area of study is often left up to artists who rely on their intuition, or what they feel. However, this is not the best way to consistently execute.

We all know instinctively when something is appealing.

If you are able to learn the secrets of great composition, and what makes a piece of art great, you can recreate them in your work.

This tutorial will help you to understand how to create compositions that work.

I’m excited so let’s get going.

What makes good art?

Although I am sure what I’m going to say is subjective, please bear with me.

It’s not easy for most people to pinpoint what they love about their favorite artwork. Because great art is made up of many elements.

The big takeaway is that it’s never one thing.

It’s a tricky question to ask what the greatest difference is between masters and amateurs in art. In fact, there is no difference. Artists include many elements in their works, which can lead to something more than the elements.

Good composition can also help to improve the collective.

Let’s take an example. Imagine you are drawing. You can imagine that each time you execute one of the fundamentals (anatomy or shading), you will get a Level Up Tally on “a list”. Your final work will be more impressive and more outstanding if you have more Level Up Tallies.

We all know that a scorecard is not exactly like this, but it’s a way to look at the elements of art. Good anatomy, good perspective, good values, and good line quality are all important. IT = AMAZING ART.

Let’s now explore more.

What makes a killer composition?

This is what I will do.

A good composition is simply a good mix. A cake recipe has a list of ingredients.

It is important to know the right ratio of ingredients in order to make a delicious dessert.

If we apply this to art, it means we must pay attention to TWO important things in order to create great art compositions.

1. What are the ingredients?

2. Where they are placed on the page

Many of the ‘ingredients that make an art piece good are already known. You can quickly find the answer by looking through the tutorials on

It’s all about number 2. It’s easy to break it down into four sub-categories that all begin with “F”.

  • Focus: Where do you want the viewer to look?
  • Fibonacci– Creative decisions made by using ratios
  • Flow How are the elements connected on the page?
  • Feel The intended emotional response

How to choose a focus

If you consider the goal of any piece of art, this part is quite straightforward. These are the most popular focuses.

Comic books’ first focal point is Action! It’s all about making viewers feel the action with the characters.

The next obvious choice is character faces. This is an obvious choice since we are wired to see the faces of people for communication via speech and expressions. You should be leading the viewer to the main character of the shot if they are the main character.

Third, you can feature a major prop in the story. The third option is to feature a major prop in the story. This should be done with care, just like the main character.

The last category, Story Points, is the most important. Telling a story about the event is key to creating an image.

You can’t draw volumes and figures on paper if you don’t have this focus. If you are able to emphasize the story points in each scene, you will be rewarded by an audience who is living the story with you.

Focusing the Focus

We want the viewer to focus on a particular thing in our photo. Let’s look at some ways we can achieve this. Remember that illustrations are often focal points with a few focal points. Each one will have more importance than the others.

Let’s focus on getting the viewer’s attention to move across the page.

Lines This is my favorite method. Use objects’ contours as a guide to direct the viewer’s attention to where they want it to be. When you have a focus such as a character’s face, you can use linework to point back towards the focus.

Detail– A big choice in comic art is to add texture and details using renderings like cross-hatching. This is where you want to focus more attention on the focal point and add more detail. You can increase the number of people who want to look at a particular area by adding more detail.

Value This is the best way to direct your viewers’ attention. Our eyes are sensitive to light and shadow. If there is high contrast between them in one area, we will automatically focus on that spot.

Saturation This is only for colored illustrations, but it will give your focal point a saturation boost that will make people want to see it. If you are a colorist, it is a great tool.


Did you remember when I spoke of the cake recipe with a certain ratio of ingredients? We could have a similar ratio to make art more appealing.

This ratio can be found in nature, and it appears to be reproduced in all parts of the environment.

It’s also known as the Fibonacci Sequence in mathematics (note the name). Artists need to understand that when you break down things into thirds they look more appealing and livelier. This is a great guideline for artists.

Alright! Let’s move on.

The Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is another way to say the Fibonacci Sequence or the golden ratio. It’s a great starting point for creating interesting compositions. It applies to the way visuals are divided within your picture frame, as I mentioned before. This is how it works:

How to use the grid. Place objects or characters in the grid intersections. These guides can be used to enhance the visual appeal of any element of your artwork.

This grid can fit into any size frame or panel. This grid will work best if it is set up in the early stages of your conceptualization.

The Silver Ratio is a different way to arrange objects in an art frame. Although it isn’t as well-known, I believe it’s important and should be taught more. It’s here:

Although this layout may give off an artificial appearance, it is not necessary. Your art will be more attractive if your backgrounds, characters, and effects are aligned with the exact quarter and halfway marks.

The effect on the viewer is what makes the difference between the Silver and Golden Ratios.

The Golden Ratio, a hidden effect that is more natural than the Silver Ratio, starts to look intriguing. Again, the key is to focus.

More Rule of Thirds

I learned something in intermediate art and it has stayed with me ever since. It’s here:

You can also use it to guide you in all questions about ‘how much.

What amount of crosshatching should you use? What amount of warm or cold colors should I use? What number of background characters should you include? How many details should I include? How far should I push this pose? How rigid or organic should this pose be?

These are just a few of the many questions that you can ask, but the Golden Ratio will be able to help answer all.

It is very easy: You can use The Golden Ratio (The Golden Ratio) to create an asymmetrical dynamic relation. This means that one element of FOCUS will become more dominant (2/3 value) and the other element will be at the back (1/3).

You can see that composition is about making deliberate choices about the places you want your viewer to look and the feelings you want them to feel.


The concept of composition is the combination of linework that directs the eye to what you want, while not including things that distract from it.

Flow is a topic that comics have to address in many different ways, depending on how much you are focusing your attention.

Artists should understand story flow at the highest levels. One example of story flow is a consistent drawing of characters from page to page.

This is page flow. There are many techniques that can be used to guide the reader through the pages, including word bubble placement.

The final and most important part of this tutorial is panel flow.

Every shot should have a line of motion, just like a character’s action. This can be done in many ways, but the most effective is for characters to work together with background and secondary elements.

There are many options for diamonds, squares, or triangles.

Let’s say that you have chosen a circle. Now, you want a character to run toward the action in a dynamic fashion.

You might be asking yourself, “How can I make my character round when they aren’t round?” Use the shape only as a guideline for your characters’ running gestures.

This is because it was designed to be more interesting.

Feel the difference

How can we make our viewers feel certain things when they look at our artwork? This is one of your main goals when creating an illustration. This emotional connection is what will make a viewer love your work or hate it.

Let’s now dive into the fundamental principles behind why we feel certain emotions about visuals.


This is one of the most fundamental principles, but it holds the most truth. It all revolves around gravity. Everybody has to deal with gravity every day so that we can relate subconsciously to certain orientations.

Horizontal orientations of forms will create a tranquil and still atmosphere.

Vertical orientations resist gravity and seem more energetic.

The diagonal orientations do not exist in a stable position, but they show motion and action.

For all these orientations, think about the use cases as stories. These orientations are important to remember when you layout comic pages with panels. Each panel can create a unique feeling with its own shape.


This all comes down to our subconscious minds and how we view the world. A frame that holds an object will create a specific vibe the viewer cannot help but feel.

The ‘Almost Off Frame’ position is a great way of showing that the object is in transit. It is also not relevant to the current story point.

Objects in centered positions are very important.

The bottom Locations will indicate that the object is ordinary and grounded.

Upper Locations demonstrate that the object’s extraordinary power and beauty are evident.


This is an easy way to understand the shape language. Because we are conscious of what can cause skin damage, pointed shapes are more dangerous than those that are round.

Make those villains stand out!

The Frame Size

It is important to consider the relationship between objects in your scene and within your picture frame. The more important an object is, the more it is for the reader.

You can position a character closer to your camera, while another character is further away. The larger or closer character will feel dominant.

Shape vs. Color

These are just a few examples, but they all fall into one concept.

Humans are able to distinguish between colors and shapes faster than we can. This means that even though shapes may look similar, our eyes will quickly notice the differences between colors.

You can see that you need to only look at the top left box for a moment to notice the only two colors, while you may need to take a second to see the differences in the shapes.

Scale and location

Scale is the last principle. We will quickly associate perspective with similar shapes that are smaller than one another. Similar is true for objects that overlap. This tells us instantly which object is closer to the other.

This is a last example of distances. A situation in which a dangerous shape gets close to a person. The distance will be more frightening than the action. Because the fear is greater than any fear, the fear that the unknown will be felt more than any other.

It was a lot, but it is easy to refer back to this page to recall the basic principles. Picture This by Molly Bang provides a detailed explanation of these concepts.

The Concepts of Application

It’s now time to put these concepts into practice to create a comp. This is best done with a clear goal. You can take a moment to create a story point that you can illustrate.

Here’s what I came up with:

A hero adventurer is looking for a legend to save his people. He has escaped a dangerous forest, which no one else has ever attempted to traverse, only to discover a dead-end cliff.

The journey seems to be just beginning…

Okay! Okay!

Start by writing down a few bullet points about what you want to focus on. Next, order them according to priority. You might forget your original goals if you begin drawing.


1. Hero – Courageous

2. Monolim – It’s legendary

3 Journey – There’s more to see and do.

Now, you just need to find a way to match the visuals with the focal points.

1. Place the character in danger using pointy shapes around it, and then isolate him in the frame.

2 Position the monolith in the center, upper quadrant of the frame to display its divine nature. Make it larger than the character within the frame.

3 Use overlapping forms and values to indicate the remaining journey.

Cool! We can now start drawing.

To get a rough sketch, try to include what you’ve learned about composition. Remember the Rule of Thirds, Golden Ratio, Focal Points, and other Principles of Feeling.

As you can see, I used the Silver Ratio instead of the Rule of Thirds. Because I was able to push the character further away from the monolith, and isolate him at the edge of the sharp cliff, it still worked.

To maintain a good flow, I used a circular shape.

To keep the circular shape, I used silhouettes from the environment and birds as well as wind lines. The shape isn’t as strong as I would like it to be. I will adjust many things in my next refined drawing to maintain the circular flow.

Okay! Okay!

Excellent! It doesn’t take a lot of skill to execute lines and anatomy. This exercise is all about refocusing your attention on the composition.

I love how the energy flares that I have incorporated into the shot increase the importance of the monolith while making the character smaller.

You will also notice that I used thicker line weights in the foreground, to push the distant environment further away from the character.

Moving forward with composition

Bravo! Great work!

It is a good idea to take a look at your favorite artworks and see what makes them great compositions. You will see that many of these artworks share the same concepts as this tutorial.

Before you go

This tutorial was a long one. I am sorry. There are many ways to approach composition, and these are just a few.

Find cool ways to make your art stand out by doing your research. Remember that comic artists are always trying to tell stories. So look for creative ways to display different emotions and plot devices visually. How to Draw an Anime Girl’s Head and Face

This is what you have! I encourage you to also check out the many other free tutorials on the site.

We are grateful for your time.

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