Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Creating Successful Abstract Designs - Lesson 2: UNITY

As I have posted photos and my digital art here and visited other blogs to leave and read comments, I've noticed that many people have commented that they cannot do abstract.

I say, "Yes you can !!!"

The problem is that most people believe that abstracts are created by throwing together a bunch of lines and blobs of colors at random.  Sometimes that works, but usually you get a bunch of shapes and colors that don't go well together.

So ---I'm taking you on a step-by-step tutorial, in 3 easy lessons, to create pleasing abstract designs. Once you are successful, you can stray from these guidelines and try other things.

You may make one copy of this information (text and images) for personal use or for educational purposes.

If you haven't already done so, I suggest you begin with "Lesson 1: COLOR" by clicking HERE.

Every design needs unity. It is what holds your design together, makes parts of it look like they belong together.

You can achieve unity using some or all of the following.
(I suggest that on your first attempts, you try to use all or most of these.)

1. a limited color palette
I would suggest that you begin with 1 to 3 colors in various shades. You can add black and/or white, if you wish.  Find "Lesson 1: COLOR" by clicking HERE.

2. similar lines and shapes
For example, you might use
a) all circles
b) curved lines and round or oval shapes
c) straight lines and rectangles
d) lines parallel to the edges of your work surface
e) diagonal lines
f) diagonals and triangles
g) wavy shapes and lines
h) think of other lines and shapes that would go well together

The design has unity
because it uses
2c & e, 3b, 4 and 5.
This design has unity
because it uses suggestions
2a, 3a, 4, and 5.
The formal balance on both
of these makes them
mirror images left to right
and top to bottom.
3. make parts connect

a) By overlapping some of your shapes and lines, you will connect them to each other, making them look like they belong together.

b) An alternative to (or in addition to) overlapping, you can fit shapes inside of other shapes.

c) Another option is to make your shapes and lines fit together, almost like pieces of a puzzle, probably with some space between them.

4. formal balance
There are two types of balance, formal and informal

Formal balance will give your design more unity than informal.
Formal balance is like a mirror image. Your work space is divided down the middle and what you create on one side is repeated in reverse on the other side.
However, you don't necessarily have to divide it vertically. It can be horizontal or even diagonal.
(See lesson 3 for informal balance.)

"Homage to Geometry"
This design has a formal balance, but the left and right are not
"mirror images" of each other.  The left half of the design
was rotated 180º so that what is on the top left on the left
half is on the bottom right of the right half.

What other elements of UNITY can you find in this design?
What is missing?
Another formal balance: this design was divided diagonally
from top left to bottom right, then rotated 180º.

What other elements of UNITY can you find in this design?

5. repetition

If you use formal balance, repetition will happen, but you can add more repetition by 
repeating lines, shapes and colors.  For example, you might have a row of 3 red squares or 5 blue circles.

If you have a curvy line, make another line next to it that repeats that same curve. Or line up 3 to 5 parallel lines beside each other, for example.


The blue checkerboard design below has UNITY, but it isn't very interesting.

Lesson 3: ADDING VARIETY will help you to keep unity in your abstract designs while adding enough variety to make them interesting. Go to Lesson 3 by clicking HERE.

makes a dull design.

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