Balance in Your Artwork

We’ve talked quite a bit about how to make harmonious color combinations based on color theory and the color wheel. Today we’d like to branch out and look at some other visual elements that can boost your artwork beyond the use of color.

Achieving Balanced Artwork #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmhcreatetherainbow #createtherainbow #rainbow #balance #balancedart #symmetricalbalance #asymmetricalbalance #asymmetrical #symmetrical #scrapbooking #designprinciple #designprinciples

Balance is a design principle that refers to the distribution of visual elements (such as shapes, colors, space, and textures) and how they relate to each other in terms of their visual weight. That term “visual weight” sounds a bit complicated, so let’s take it back to the playground to explain.

Consider two children on a seesaw. To have a fun experience, the children on either side of the seesaw should be relatively the same size or weight. If one child is heavier than the other, the seesaw is unbalanced and it will continuously want to tip to the one side, creating an unpleasant experience for everyone involved. The same idea applies when working on two dimensional paper projects, such as scrapbook pages or cards.

We tend to strive, usually without thinking about it, to create artwork that is balanced. A balanced work, where the visual weight is distributed evenly, appears stable, is pleasing to look at, and makes the viewer feel comfortable. Work that is unbalanced does the opposite. Sometimes artists will create unbalanced art on purpose, but that is pretty rare in scrapbooking and cardmaking.

So how do we apply this design principle to our craft?

There are a few different approaches to achieve balance in your artwork—and we brought examples! So far we’ve been alluding to probably the simplest approach, and that is something known as reflection symmetry, where one side mirrors the other (both kids on the seesaw are the same size). This is an easy way to achieve balance and doesn’t require too much consideration. Simply draw a line (hypothetically, you don’t really have to draw a line) down the middle of your work and then mirror what you create on one side on the other side. The line can be drawn vertically, horizontally, or even diagonally.

Achieving Balanced Artwork #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmhcreatetherainbow #createtherainbow #rainbow #balance #balancedart #symmetricalbalance #asymmetricalbalance #asymmetrical #symmetrical #scrapbooking #designprinciple #designprinciples

Radial balance is another type of symmetrical balance where the visual balanced is based on a circle (don’t worry, we won’t quiz you on these terms we’re throwing around—the principle matters more than the vocab 🙂 ). The design has a center and it extends from there. Daisies, a star, and the sun (when depicted with it’s rays) are all examples of shapes in radial balance. The page above is a beautiful example of one way you could use radial balance in your scrapbooking.

The downside to symmetrical balance is that it can sometimes come across as too simple, or boring, since both sides are visually the same. But there’s more, so keep reading!

Asymmetrical Balance

To have balanced artwork does not mean that all of the pieces on your scrapbook page or layout have to be the same size and laid out in perfect symmetry. Back to the seesaw—if you have a big kid that wants to play but don’t have a child of the same weight to balance him out on the other side, you create the weight by stacking two or three kids opposite the big kid. Another option would be to move the big kid closer to the center of the seesaw with just one smaller child on the opposite end to achieve balance where the two can play harmoniously.

In art, if you have a large object on one side of your work it can be balanced with several smaller items on the other side. Or, instead of increasing the number of parts on your scrapbook page (because sometimes we don’t have them or just don’t want them), move the larger piece closer to the center and balance with the smaller elements on the opposite side.

Achieving Balanced Artwork #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmhcreatetherainbow #createtherainbow #rainbow #balance #balancedart #symmetricalbalance #asymmetricalbalance #asymmetrical #symmetrical #scrapbooking #designprinciple #designprinciples

Take a look at our asymmetrical page above. This page is asymmetrical because it has unequal visual weight on opposite ends. To balance it, our “heavier” elements were moved closer to the center and were countered with a handful of lighter elements on the other corner.

When done correctly, asymmetrical balance is more interesting to look at. It offers more visual variety and even has a more modern feel to it.

To determine whether or not your artwork is balanced, rely on your perception of it. No one area should draw your eye so much that you can’t see the others. Also, consider how it makes you feel. Do you like it? Is it comfortable to look at? Or do you sense that something is off?

Balance is the first of several basic design principles we will be discussing on this blog. Make sure to subscribe and to check back with us regularly to learn how to better use the elements of art in your artwork.


Recipes

12″ x 12″ Life In Color Page
B1484 My Acrylix® Jennifer’s Hand Stamp Set, Z3353 Basics Fundamental Paper Packet, X5965 Ruby Cardstock, X5963 Poppy Cardstock, X5962 Goldrush Cardstock, Z5961 Saffron Cardstock, X5982 Canary Cardstock, X5981 Sweet Leaf Cardstock, X5970 Willow Cardstock, X5968 Lagoon Cardstock, X5967 Pacifica Cardstock, X5966 Pansy Cardstock, X5957 Sapphire Cardstock, X5974 Raspberry Cardstock, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, Z2832 Pewter Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, X7232C Fresh Air Complements, Z3355 Happy Moments Complements, Z3356 All-star Complements, Z4178 Central Park Sequins, Z4197 Central Park Alphabet, Z4177 Documented Dots, Z3090 Red Gems, Z3274 Clear Sparkles, Z1263 Bitty Sparkles, Z1979 Marvy® Uchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen, Z3290 Circuit® Flower Market Collection

Cricut® Shape:
Flower Market
3″ Flower-2 <7> (p. 7, #MD389A5, cut 12)

12″ x 12″ Summer Page
X7231B Central Park Paper Packet, X7232B Fresh Air Paper Packet, X5968 Lagoon Cardstock, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, X7231C Central Park Complements, X7232C Fresh Air Complements, Z4185 Fresh Air Shapes, Z4178 Central Park Sequins, Z4197 Central Park Alphabet, Z1297 Edge Distresser, Z1979 Marvy® Uchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen

Leave a comment

Back to the Basics

What makes a work of art a work of art? What turns a good scrapbook page into a great scrapbook page? There are many answers to these questions, but one thing that contributes to great scrapbooking and all types of crafting is having a strong design.

There are certain principles that contribute to the strength of a design, which can really elevate the final product. Many well-seasoned crafters probably use these design principles without ever having “learned” them or even realizing they are doing it. However, for those who are new to crafting, these principles can be absolute lifesavers, and they can even give you a great place to start—a springboard for reaching greater heights. And even the most gifted crafters will inevitably find themselves tangled in the details of a complicated project as they struggle to see the big picture. At such times, it’s always good to get back to the basics.

In the artwork below, one of our artists has done just that. Taking four basic design principles as a guide, our artist created this beautiful scrapbook page:

My Sunshine

So, what are the design principles that work together to make this page so wonderful? We’re so glad you asked!

1. Pattern. Now, we’re not talking about incorporating our B&T Duos™ patterned paper here, though that does go a long way to make any project beautiful. 🙂 We’re talking about using repetition. In the page above, you can see a strong pattern of horizontal lines—the horizontal strips of paper above the photograph, the Cricut® banner underneath the title, the kraft paper behind the photo, and even the lines of corrugated metal in the photo itself! The possibilities for creating patterns through repetition are endless: Try repeating colors, shapes, and many other elements to create pattern.

2. Unity. Having all the different elements on a page work together is what makes the page look well thought out. Think of it like an orchestra: There are many different instruments, but they have to work in harmony to play something beautiful. One way to create this harmony is through color. Our artist used many warm tones on the page: Gold shimmer trim, Honey, Canary, and kraft cardstock, a strip of paper from the Brushed paper packet, a Canary stamped image–all these pieces tie in nicely with the color of the boy’s shirt in the photograph to create a sense of unity. Unity can be created a myriad of ways, so get creative! You’ll find it’s much easier than you think!

3. Variety. Though it’s important to create harmony, it’s also important to make each element unique—this is what makes the page have depth. An orchestra wouldn’t be an orchestra with just violinists! Start by determining what you’d like to unify your elements. Like we mentioned above, our artist used warm tones to create unity. Then, for variety, she used several different textures, shapes, sizes, etc. There is also variety in the cool colors used in the bottom half of the page versus the warm colors used in the top half. All of that further plays off the contrasting colors in the photo. Using a variety of products, from embellishments and twine to embossing folders and Cricut® cuts, also makes adding variety even easier!

4. Balance. This design principle is demonstrated in spades in the page above! Our artist decided to use symmetry as her primary means of creating balance, though there are other certainly other ways to create balance. Placing the photograph in the very center of the page, she then embellished all around it in a beautifully balanced way. Notice how the width of the “My Sunshine” title mirrors the width of the Canary, Cricut®-cut strip above the photograph. The symmetry of the page is not strict—those aqua dots are not lined up, people!—but the sense of balance persists in the way the elements offset each other on the page. You have to love how the gold shimmer trim and the Canary stamp in the top left part of the page balance the “July 2015” sentiment and the Glacier Extra Thick Twine bow in the bottom right.

Now that you’ve taken a few steps back to find your center, it’s time to return to your crafting space and tackle that tricky project. You can use these four basic design principles to help you through any crafting project, and before long, they will become second nature to you! Happy crafting!

Recipe

12″ x 12″ My Sunshine Page
Reflections: Front and Center—Basic
D1599 My Acrylix® Geek is Chic, X7190B Brushed Paper Packet, X5668 Honey Cardstock, Z1375 Kraft Cardstock, X5764 Pear Cardstock, X5770 Glacier Cardstock, 1275 Outdoor Denim Cardstock, X5772 Canary Cardstock, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, Z2031 Paper Fundamentals Enchantment Assortment, Z2155 Topiary Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2643 Canary Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z1853 Aqua Dots, Z1918 Teal Shimmer Trim, Z1985 Gold Shimmer Trim, Z3039 Glacier Extra Thick Twine, Z1995 Honeycomb Embossing Folder, Z1979 Marvy® Uchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen, Z1851 Scallop Border Punch, Thread

Cricut® Shapes:
Artbooking
¾” Border <3> (p. 40)
1 ¼” Shift+Border <Vacation> (p. 67)

 

Leave a comment