"Even in front of nature, one must compose." -Edgar Degas
Marco Bucci expressed a similar sentiment in a talk earlier this week. He said that even when you set out to paint what is in front of you, you must make compositional decisions. Plein Air painting is not simply painting what you see.
Good composition is merely the strongest way of seeing. -Edward Weston
Good composition always has a purpose. That is the definition of composition, essentially to guide the audience towards what you want them to see.
I can think of no better example of composition with a purpose than Lubnaand Pebble by Wendy Meddour, Illustrated by Daniel Egneus. It is truly one of the richest picture books out there. The story is endearing, well-written, and unique.
The illustrations are soft, simple, and engaging. The perspectives, in particular, are diverse and daring. The picture below has had more pins on my Pinterest feed than any other; I think primarily due to composition.
I call these perspectives brave because they are difficult to pull off. Daniel does it masterfully.
The composition in this scene contrasts Lubna’s small world, where a pebble is her friend, and the large world around her that is filled with adult concerns.
In Lubna and Pebble, the composition also helps deliver the ending.
I hope you’ll check out Lubna and Pebble if you haven't already. See if you can spot how Daniel uses color to tell a story.