Project Six – Exercise 2: Composition – an interior

From the previous ‘travel around the house’ sketches I will do two different compositional studies. I will work in charcoal (as it gives richer tonal variations) in my A4 sketchbook. With the intention to look for strong tonal contrasts, textures, linear qualities, and strong positive and negative space I started my first composition scenario.

Composition area #1: Ironing room

Project Six - Exercise 2: Composition study # 1a

Project Six – Exercise 2: Composition study # 1a

  1.  I continued with the vertical format as my quick sketch form previous exercise. I wanted to get the most interesting objects in the focus: staggered clothes, shoes, suitcases, window. I tried to capture the bold light/dark contrast as the only light came through the roof window. The shelfs, the oblique roof and window as well as the vertical lines of the suitcases are nice compositional lines. I found good contrast with the window and the clothes in the light area, the suitcases and the back of the room in the shadow area.
  2. I wasn’t so pleased with the partly shown window so I changed my viewpoint as well as the format for the next study. This time the floor moved out of the picture plane and unfortunately the shoes as well. This view gives more focus on the roof and window angles. I felt that the bottom cut was a but too high. I rendered a bit more the tonal variations on the oblique wall of the room. The contrast with the window came out better.
  3. I zoomed out a bit to get more objects into the picture plane. Now there is more the back side of the room visible at the right side of the picture. Still the floor not visible. I didn’t like this composition so I continued with a vertical format again.
  4. Now sitting on the floor, looking upwards, with a view that included the floor. I kept my eye slightly moving from left to right during the drawing process in order to get the intended objects in view. I like now the interplay of light and dark around the centre as well as the light shining onto the floor. I think the floor is a bit too dominant in this composition and it distracts the focus from the centre a bit. Overall, I like this composition and I want to continue with this in exercise 3.
Project Six - Exercise 2: Composition study # 1b

Project Six – Exercise 2: Composition study # 1b


Composition area #2: Hallway

For the second composition option I went for the hallway in our studio area. My attention was kept during my quick sketch tour by the option to see three door openings as well as the stuff on the floor (construction area).

Project Six - Exercise 2: Composition study # 2a

Project Six – Exercise 2: Composition study # 2a

  1. I started with a view with two door openings visible in a horizontal format. I blocked in the main light and dark areas. The floor tiles are a bit shiny and I wanted to capture this. This view consists mainly of two perspective lines meeting right off centre. I felt the middle wall as quite dominant so I changed for another study in vertical format.
  2. This gives more of a snapshot view through one door opening. A second door only indicated at the right. I looked slightly upwards to capture part of the ceiling and its underneath wooden construction as well. Overall, this is a balanced composition, with eye focus at the centre point. I felt a bit more off centre could be more beneficial for an interesting composition. Also I felt that my eyes are moving here rather towards the left.
  3. For this view I changed to a vertical format and with a view slightly downwards at the corner of the left door. The pile of lumber is getting now more into the focus. The edge of the wall the lightest areas gets the attention. However, I felt the middle wall as the eye focus not so interesting.
  4. I moved on with a horizontal format and new viewpoint. For this I had to move my eye for the drawing in order to get the objects into the picture plane (wide angle or panorama view). There are quite interesting perspective lines as well as contrasting positive and negative spaces. The boxes in the middle get more attention. Light is coming from quite different directions: through the left, middle and right door opening as well as through the window door in the back of my standpoint. Quite challenging but also interesting. I felt that this wide angle view gives a nice interplay of perspective lines, shapes and light/dark contrast. The latter could be enforced at larger scale.
Project Six - Exercise 2: Composition study # 2b

Project Six – Exercise 2: Composition study # 2b


What I observed is that uncommon stand – and view points sometimes give much more interesting compositions. Like sitting on the floor (composition area #1) or a wide angel view simulated by my moving eye (composition area #2). Further I noticed that an eye focus point off centre gives a more dynamic picture. The eye can circle around the centre. To put good light/dark contrast around this ‘sweet spot’ provides further a dramatic visual effect that I really like. Looking through door opening(s) gives not only more depth but also an additional light source for a contrasting composition (but could be quite challenging in drawing right).

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