Drawing with S O U L

Most people would agree that soul is an important ingredient in art.  Art derives from passion and emotion.  I’d like to suggest a new way to draw with S-O-U-L by using these four letters to represent ways of leading the eye around the picture plane.  In last week’s post I wrote about the focal point and that in a well composed drawing, the eye will go to the focal point first, move around the paper and return back to the focal point.

How the eye moves is an important part of composition. Perhaps you never knew your eyes were going on a journey when you’re looking at a painting or drawing. It’s so quick and automatic we don’t realize what’s happening     Most often we only become aware of eye movement when the composition is off.  We have a feeling something is wrong, but we don’t quite know what.  Harmony and balance don’t just happen, they’re planned. One of the ways to do this is to consciously plan a path for the eyes.   S-O-U-L are four excellent formats for moving the eye around the picture plane.

Using the “S” design, the eye  sweeps through the page in alternate curves.  Note that it can be in any direction.


I think the “O” shape might be the most common.  It’s one I find myself using most often.


Perhaps we don’t often recognize the “U” because it is rarely right side up.  I usually use it on it’s side.


The “L” can be a very powerful design format.


Now, I don’t usually sit down and think “I’m going to do a ‘U’ design for this drawing”. Instead, I look at the subject, identify what is important and determine the best way to put those ideas on the paper.  Sometimes I try different options in my thumbnails.  No matter what design premise I use, I always draw with Soul.


  1. Paula – This is a particularly great posting. Learning how to do this – I’ll take my sketch book, and do SOUL thumbnails of what I’m looking at. Not even worry about getting a finished sketch for the moment – but training my eye and flexing my composition muscle. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s