Composition is the
arrangement of the elements
of art and the principles of
design within a given work of
Composition is important because it makes the artwork seem more organized
and easier to see and understand. There are different ways to compose an
artwork, but they all are used to make the art easier to view.
In this composition, all the characters are all in a row along a table with a
figure in the center. Each person is doing their own thing, but the
composition puts them all in a line, so it is a smoother picture to look at.
Imagine if all the characters were acting like they are but they weren’t in a
line. Would the picture feel as organized and calm as it does now? Why?
Elements of art are the basic
components or tools of visual
communication and include
line, space, shape/form, value,
color, and texture.
Artists manipulate these seven elements, mix them in with principles
of design, and compose a piece of art. Not every work of art contains
every one of these elements, but at least two are always present.
Also, knowing what the elements of art are enables us to describe
what an artist has done, analyze what is going on in a particular piece,
and communicate our thoughts and findings using a common
Balance is the
arrangement of the
elements, in a work of
art, to create a sense of
things being equal.
The three types of balance are Symmetrical, Radial, and Asymmetrical. In this
example, the painting shows Asymmetrical balance because there are objects on
both sides of the painting to make sure there isn’t too much weight (or things to
look at) on one side and not the other.
Look at the trees on the left side of the painting. That puts a lot of weight on that
side. The artist balanced the painting by putting a big yellow moon on the other
side. Imagine what the painting would look like without the moon balancing the
And because the objects in the painting are identical on both sides, it’s
Symmetry a way of
organizing the parts
of a design so that
one side copies or
mirrors the other.
There are two types of symmetry, bilateral and radial symmetry. They are both
used to create a balance of visual weight in a picture by putting the same
things on each side of an axis (an imaginary line that runs through the middle
of the artwork). Radial symmetry is in a circle and has many axis points where
things are the same, bilateral has just one.
Notice in the picture of the cow skull, even though it isn’t identical, you can
imagine a line running down the middle of the skull dividing the composition in
half. This creates a balance and makes the picture very pleasing to look at.
Bilateral Symmetry is two-
sided symmetry where two
halves of a work of art
mirror each other
In Bilateral Symmetry, each side of the composition is exactly the same (or
almost the same) as if you put an axis line down the middle of the composition
and everything is the same on both sides. Our bodies even use bilateral
symmetry, our arms are the same on each side, legs, eyes, ears, are the same
on both sides allowing us to balance ourselves.
Look at the building on the right, the Taj Mahal in India, and imagine a line down
the middle of the building. Every window, every tower, every bush is the same
on the left as it is on the right. This creates a calm and stability to the building,
making it seem strong and powerful.