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" Previous to the class I will create a few designs on large paper
that have "composition problems" then ask the students which ones they
like the best. They are usually good a choosing ones with good
composition then we talk about why they don't like the others. They
will say things like 'the shapes on that one are too clumped together,
or are too far apart, or are all on one side of the paper etc.'
We then can discuss things like areas of interest, overlapping, balance
I once did a similar exercise and created a multiple choice test for the
kids to discuss with three choices for each example. One example was a
landscape with 1) a single tree going off the upper right hand corner of
the picture 2) a single tree right smack in the middle of the picture
and 3) a single tree placed slightly off center, large enough to touch
the bottom and side of the picture.....the kids would then discuss which
they thought was the best composition and why.....I will never forget
one little girl who kept insisting that the tree in the upper right hand
corner of the composition with the rest practically empty, was the
absolute best....The other kids argued with her but she wouldn't give
in. Finally I asked her to explain exactly why she thought that was the
best composition and she calmly answered me...."That's the one that
leaves the most space for me to draw in!!"