Where you will find the Different types of Edges

The following suggestions are intended to help you decide where you want to place different edges, where to look for edges, and how to use the different edge qualities to advantage in your work. You will use edges to lead viewers through your picture and to get them to look at the areas you want as well as in the order that you want them to be looked at. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Place your most interesting and visually dominant edges at the center of interest: The most intense and dominant edges are generally the ragged, razor sharp, and sharp ones. Place these in the following areas:

  • The center of interest
  • Areas that are in direct light
  • The cast shadow of an object closest to the object itself
  • The edges of angular objects in your picture
  • An area where the local hue changes but the values remain the same, and vice versa
  • Thin objects
  • Wherever you want a very flat, 2D effect, or a decorative effect

You will see some edges before others. Use this to your advantage when planning your painting. You will see a light edge against the dark before you will see an edge made of mid-values. You will see a hard edge before you will see a soft edge. You will see non-edges last, if at all.

Soft edges are not noticed nearly as much as the harsher ones. Use this type of edge in the following places:

  • Areas of your image that are not in the center of interest
  • Background areas

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