Monday, February 25, 2008

The devil is in the details

As artists I think we can all agree that details add immensely to a finished piece. As weird as it might sound, to me, details are equally as important as a composition's foundation. Though a piece technically can be successful without embellishments given a good foundation, it can, in the end, have a limited shelf life if there is no interesting details to draw the viewer back in time and time again.

First of all, little details are fun. They help tell a story -- they share information about whatever aspect they embellish. I like to draw a boy or a girl with detailed clothing: a flower patch or fringe on her jeans, Crocs on her feet. What type of barrettes is she wearing? Can you tell what her favorite color is by her clothing? (You can probably tell what her favorite flower is from that patch on her jeans, too.) The details are also what keep you going back for more, over the long haul. Of course, if the composition itself is not strong, then it's time to start over. You can't hide a bad flower arrangement by throwing in a bunch of 'distracting' baby's breath and ferns. But, when everything is in there pulling its own weight, you have an illustration that viewers will keep coming back to again and again -- an image that keeps giving the viewer something new to discover on repeated viewings.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

kathy, i love the way you describe the importance of details. very well-said!