Pictorial Composition with Nathan Fowkes
"Great art requires great composition; our work cannot achieve its full expression without a practical knowledge of pictorial composition." - Nathan Fowkes
The goal of this course is to give artists and art students the ability to powerfully engage their audience through the design and composition of their artwork. The class will be a serious exploration of designing and composing our art to best convey the mood, story, emotion and visual impact of the subjects we portray. During our time together I'll take you step by step through the practical application of:
- The design and development process: taking a concept to a beautifully composed finish.
- The creation of mood, environment and story through pictorial composition.
- Composition in art history, learning from the masters.
- Theatrical scene composition to create compelling presentation art.
- How to solve compositional problems quickly and effectively.
- Step by step painting concepts, digital and traditional.
- Numerous photoshop demonstrations, screen captured live to show you the process in action.
- Building your personal work and concept art portfolio.
Lesson 1 - Engaging Your Audience
In my first lecture I'll give an introduction and class overview that will put you squarely on the path to creating engaging art through a working knowledge of pictorial composition. I'll introduce core principles for building visual relationships in your subject that will bring purpose and an exciting dynamic to your artwork.
Lesson 2 - The Key Principle: Unity with Variety
As a concept artist, you'll be required to find strong, clear design within challenging and complicated subject matter. Whether it's sophisticated architecture, busy foliage or a landscape filled with dozens of characters. One of your core skills must be the ability to effectively deal with complexity. In this lesson I'll show how designing unified visual relationships can be your best and most potent solution to tackling complex subjects.
Lesson 3 - Clarity and Boldness through Value Structure
When we see an image, our first read is based on its overall value structure. In this lesson I'll show you how to grab the attention of your viewers from across the room with bold and graphic value design. We'll also study more nuanced value structure for subtlety of mood and atmosphere in our work.
Lesson 4 - The Focal Area
From images of high drama to scenes of calm tranquility, the design of each of our pictures must be designed with clarity of concept. In lesson 4 we'll explore novel ways of creating visual interest in the primary areas of importance in our pictures.
Lesson 5 - Photoshop Demonstration (I)
In this demonstration I'll apply the concepts taught in the previous lessons in a series of demonstrations to show how our compositional concepts can work together effectively. I'll also review how the use of color and light will enhance the subject.
Lesson 6 - The Poetry of Balance and Rhythm
Your artwork can be much more than a mere depiction; it can be designed to emphasize the meaning and poetry of your subject. In this lesson I'll show you how to use balance and rhythm to give your subject a meaningful presence in the images you create.
Lesson 7 - Composing for Concept
Now that we've covered the critical big picture elements of visual composition it's time to discuss the nuances. We'll tackle big subjects and find the appropriate design to convey the subtleties of story, character, mood and environment in each.
Lesson 8 - Photoshop Demonstration (II)
For this lesson I'll demonstrate the compositional staging of space, landscape and architecture to create illustrations that best convey the mood, story and history of the subject.
Lesson 9 - Putting It All Together: The WOW Factor
Success as an artist requires us to be able to emotionally connect with our audience in a way that gives them an experience that they value. We can learn to design a variety of moments such as an action packed conflict, a scene of potent drama or a voyage of discovery. My final lecture will combine principles from all the previous weeks as I show you how to use the pictorial design of your subject and theatrical staging to create both presentation concept art and traditional art that wows your audience.