You can’t talk about fashion illustration without talking about composition, which is a catch-all word for DESIGN. How do you design an illustration to make the viewer’s eye go where you want it to go and thus glorify what your illustration is about?
So, a necklace. I did this piece for a retailer’s ad on jewelry. Here is the DESIGN/COMPOSITIONAL thinking behind the art:
1. Pop those red lips (color, sensual shape!) so the viewer’s eye is captured right away. Notice the way the eye starts at the top of the page there and naturally travels down to the necklace.
2. Make the eye journey down to the necklace as unimpeded as possible: gray out the lines of the neck and head/ears - leave out unnecessary lines like the chin. If these gray lines were black, they would fight with the necklace’s black outline.
3. Save the darkest lines for what you want to be the FOCAL POINT. A strong illustration has only one major focal point (necklace), but can have minor ones too (lips.)
4. To strengthen and identify your FOCAL POINT, add more detail. The necklace here is a combination of shape, line and color.
It’s an art to figure out what to leave in and what to leave out. When in doubt, leave it OUT!
Architect Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) famously said,
"Less is more," in speaking about restraint in design. (New York Herald Tribune, June 28, 1959)
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