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Landscape Composition & Design Tips For Watercolor Beginners

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Step 3: Using A Viewfinder To Compose A Landscape


Composing a sketch is like looking at scattered puzzle pieces and figuring out the best way to fit them together. Practicing these basics will help build this artistic instinct, so you can learn to trust your decisions.

Steve introduces a simple tool that facilitates this practice – the viewfinder. Similar to a camera’s viewfinder, a physical viewfinder helps frame your subject matter before you start sketching. While he has a professional one that can adjust to different standard proportions, a handmade one works just as well. Just make sure that the viewfinder is to scale with the size of your final painting. And if all else fails, using your fingers to form a box works too.

In short, after figuring out the “why” and “what” you’re painting, the viewfinder shows how to best capture this in your composition, and determines the “how”.