Balancing the elements

Every element of design can be balanced or unbalanced. The following list goes through the elements and offers ways to asymmetrically balance each element:

Color: A small bit of intense color can balance against a big area of gray.

Direction: A few slanted angles can balance many verticals.

Line: One wriggly, energetic line can balance against a bunch of horizontal, calm lines.

Shape: A big triangle can balance against a whole page of circles.

Size: One big can balance against a bunch of littles.

Temperature: A small bit of warm red can balance against a big area of cool blue.

Texture: A bit of rough can balance against a lot of smooth.

Value: A small dark can balance a large area of light.

These are by no means the only ways to reach asymmetrical balance. The solutions are infinite. After reading my list, think of some ways you can use asymmetrical balance with each element to make an exciting picture.

Weight is a visual determination, not an actual weight in grams or pounds. Look at the elements you have to work with and decide which are heavier and which are lighter. Some elements look heavy. Some elements appear light. So several light elements can balance out one heavy item visually.

Focusing on color balance

You can balance any of the elements, but balancing color needs a little more attention. Each of these aspects of color can help you achieve balance.

Highlighting hue

You can’t actually weigh colors, but depending on how you use them, some colors are heavy and some are light. You have to go by how the viewer will react to the color. (Hue names the color: red, yellow, blue, and all the others.)

How important a color is in the painting and how much attention it attracts determines how much it weighs. Red, for instance, is always attention getting and associated with danger through cultural teachings, so consider red a heavy color. A little dab of red can weigh as much as a big bunch of a light, airy yellow. Yellow often seems visually light, but a bright yellow can grab attention in a hurry, in which case it has more weight.

Next time you walk down the grocery aisles, notice the colors on labels and packaging. Marketing experts use colors that attract buyers’ attention. You can use the same colors to give weight to your painting. Just remember to balance them with some calmer colors so the eye has some resting areas too.

Check out Figure. Yellow and red are both attention-grabbing colors, but the larger area of yellow in this figure is balanced by a smaller area of red.

Grasping intensity

Intensity refers to the brightness of the color. A more intense color carries more weight visually than a less intense or dull color. A dab of chartreuse balances against a big area of drab olive green in Figure.

Grasping intensity


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