Avoiding Tangents: 9 Visual Blunders Every Artist Should Watch Out For
Have you ever been caught off-guard by a visual tangent in your art? The word tangent usually just indicates that two things are touching, but in art the term describes shapes that touch in a way that is visually bothersome. When creating a composition, there are so many different things to juggle that it’s easy to miss even the obvious flaws—and that’s when tangents sneak in. Most tangents can easily be avoided, however, as long as you know what to look for during the early stages of the piece. To simplify that process, here’s a chart illustrating nine of the most common tangents. (A full description of each tangent follows below.) 1. When a shape completely covers any corner of the artwork, it visually isolates that corner from the rest of the painting. Solution: Find another way to crop the image or soften the edge of the object so that the tangent is not so distracting. 2. 3. 4. When the edges of two shapes touch, the same “crowded” sensation is felt. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
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