How To Create The Star Of Your Art

To create successful drawings or paintings you must create the star of your art.  

Sometimes called the center of focus, the star is the thing that pulls the viewer into your art.

And makes them want to explore the rest of it.

Because, just like in a movie, your work needs its Julia Roberts or George Clooney.

So, I'm going to talk about effective ways to create the star and make it interesting.

While there may be many elements in your design, most of the time you need one element that is more important than the rest.

Something to grab the viewer's attention before sending him on his way to explore the rest of the art.

That’s the star.

When you create the star, it also gives the viewer's eyes a place to return to and rest, as they travel through and savor the art you’ve created.

If you don’t have a star, if everything in your art is of equal importance, then nothing may seem very important.

So, the viewer's eyes move on to something else.

Create The Star Using Size

One of the simple ways to tell the viewer where to look is by using SIZE to attract his attention.

In the drawing below, I don't give the viewer any choice where to look first.

The star is the largest thing in my picture.

But, I don’t use only SIZE in creating the star. I go even further.

Create The Star Using Details

Notice in the drawing above I created visual surprise by doing something unexpected.

I left part of this model’s head unfinished.

Doing that pulls your eyes to the part of the face that is finished – the part that contains recognizable details.

And more specifically, it makes your eyes go immediately to the model’s eye.

How I control where your eyes go is explained next.

Create The Star Using Values

When I say values, I'm not talking about your beliefs concerning family planning, animal rights, cheese fondue or sex.

In art, value refers to how light or how dark a color is

Every color has a value that lies somewhere between white (the lightest value) and black (the darkest value).

How you use and control these values will determine how successful your drawings or paintings will be.

In fact, values are often much more important than the exact colors you use.

Why? Because your eyes are attracted to areas of strong contrast – obvious differences in value.

In the drawing above, look how I’ve used the contrast between light and dark values to help direct your eyes to the finished side of her face?

Best Wishes,
Gary Gumble
Founder of
Without art the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable. (George Bernard Shaw)

P.S. In the next blog post I will show you some more ways to create the star of your art and... make it interesting.

And guess what.

As you have seen here, values play an important part in each of them.

So, here is something I’d like you to think about until next time.

If strong value contrast attracts your eyes, why do your eyes keep going to the model’s eye?

Instead of the large area of dark hair?

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