Good Art Demands Some Edges Scream,
Some Whisper and Some Disappear.

Story-telling Art Secret #5 You Absolutely Need To Know

Sure, you want some edges that scream for attention. But do you realize that how you handle all the edges can make or break your art?

And the story you want to tell in it. (I'll show you how in just a minute.)

Last week I described your fantastic adventure while on African safari.

The shot below is just one of many you took of the elephant herd that thundered past your encampment.

And now you can't wait to create art of it.

But what is the story you want to tell?

Is that story centered around the huge tree that dominates this shot?

Is that really what excites you most about this picture?

In your excitement to jump into the art, you might not ask yourself those questions. In which case you might choose to do what many beginning artists do.

Tell a story that emphasizes too many hard edges and too much detail.

It happens like this.

Even though you intend the elephants to be the main attraction, your mind gets in the way.

Your eyes look at the photograph and tell your brain the trees are a lighter value.

But, your mind "knows" the foliage and the bark on those trees are really darker colors.

If you don't consciously overrule it, your mind wins this battle.

And you produce art that may show too much dark detail.

When some edges are too hard-edged, like the tree limbs, they scream for attention. They draw your attention away from the elephants.

Look at the title of this post again. It says good art needs some edges that scream.

Some edges that whisper, that sit quietly in the background.

And some edges that disappear.

In other words, a variety of hard edges, soft edges and lost and found edges.

Too often aspiring artists let every edge in their art scream for attention.

You generally want hard edges to be only in or around your star.

So you tell the viewer what is most important and what isn't.

Like in this little watercolor.

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

P.S. In Story-telling Art Secret #4 You Absolutely Need To Know was about sketching and simplifying the story you want to tell.

If you just copy the photograph, you are pretty much stuck with whatever story the photo shows.

When you engage your imagination and begin to sketch alternatives, you find there are many stories you could tell. And edges are an important part of that story.

They can help you make it more interesting. They can help you put emotion and excitement in it.

Or, if not handled well, edges can help you make it dull.

It's really up to you.

Like to know more about how integral edges are to interesting art? 

Just click the graphic above.

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