005 Composition and Layout

In this episode, hosts John Middick (Sharpened Artist) and Lisa Clough (Lachri Fine Art) discuss the early stages of the drawing process, particularly composition and layout.

Colored pencil is less forgiving than other mediums, so planning your piece ahead of time is essential. John and Lisa explain why you should never skip this step, and provide additional thoughts on the following questions:

  • Why is a good reference photo important, and what tools can you use to create the best reference possible?

  • Which details should you be including in your drawings, and which details are actually hindering your art?

  • Should a colored pencil artist use the rule of thirds and “Z formation” composition?

  • Is it okay to use aids (tracing, rulers, etc.) to achieve your desired layout?

  • Is there a correct order when building shadows and handling highlights in your drawings?

The following resources were mentioned in this episode:

Photoshop 7

Photoshop Elements



CPAL Facebook page


Vermeer and the Camera Obscura

Colored Pencil Podcast Facebook page