Composition Rules

The use of composition rules aims to make your painting or drawing more 'readable'. Does the viewer see what you want him to see? And how can you enhance your message by placing elements correctly, using light and color, etc.?

Daphne has her own specific rules for this when composing a drawing or painting.

If you understand why certain rules are used, you can also apply them efficiently. Remember that as an artist you are free to break so-called rules. Because there are actually no real 'rules' within art. In short, what you learn about composition from Daphne is not the only really good way, but very efficient!

Moreover, there are a lot of artists who secretly follow the same rules. Below you will find Daphne's 12 composition rules.


Daphne's 12 Composition Rules

1. Make sure the area is well devided.

Why? With a good surface division, you ensure that your painting remains balanced.

2. Never put anything exactly in the center of your work

Why? If you place something directly in the center of your visual work, your painting/drawing will become stiff. It is now more difficult to direct the viewer's eye to other parts of your painting/drawing.

3. Always put an uneven number of elements in your painting

Why? An even number of elements makes your painting static and boring.

4. Always ensure asymmetry / irregularity

Why? A completely symmetrical painting looks lifeless. Since Daphne often paints flowers and landscapes, it works well for her to make use of irregularity. After all, nature is always irregular.

5. Make sure that you arrange the elements in your painting in a certain shape or line.

Why? A form in the composition of the elements gives direction to the eye of the viewer. Especially when you are dealing with many elements. So bring some calmness to your painting. For example with a diagonal or an S.

6. Make sure the light comes from one side

Why? This makes your painting better to read. Because there is a certain logic in the light, it looks nice, as if it is 'right'. Allthough in real life the light usually comes from different sides.

7. Sufficient and smart use of contrast

Why? Good contrasts enhance the readability of your painting. By applying more and less contrast to the elements, you steer the eye of the viewer.

8. Use your colors consciously

Why? You can also control the viewer's eye with your use of color.

You can sometimes use the symbolic meaning of colors.

9. Blur things in the distance and work out objects that are close by better and sharper.

While painting it is easy to blur objects in the distance. You will see that they will look more distant.

When making a line drawing, you can choose thin lines in the distance and thick lines close by. Why? This also creates depth in your work.

10. Make use of rhythm in your painting.

Why? With rhythms in your painting you can steer the eye of the viewer. In flower paintings you can apply this well with leaves and colors.

11. Make sure your painting is balanced.

Why? If your painting is out of balance, it is not pleasant to look at. The viewer then always has the feeling that something is 'missing'.

12. Make use of the Coulisse-effect.

Why? The Coulisse effect provides depth to the painting'. With the Coulisse effect you create a kind of frame around the most important elements in your painting. But you do it with elemements that belong in the painting. Like trees, flowers, leaves, etc.  It also adds a kind of calmth  to your painting and looks pleasant.


You can now see for yourself whether you want to apply these rules. Now you have an idea what you should pay attention to when you compose a painting. Would you like more information about the above rules? Then ask Daphne: contact


Landscape, clouds
Rabbit in the snow