Cropping for a Better Composition

The following tip was sent to us by our dear friends and associates at Waterman Art (Makers of the Mahl Bridge.)
The tip was written by B. J. Wilson, Southern California (Bio: B. J. Wilson is a fine arts painter, judge, demonstrator, international exhibitor, and instructor. She currently leads a group of water media painters in Southern California and has a book coming up. She can be reached at bjwilson357 @ or phone 714.730.3427.)
We love it!

Cropping for a Better Composition by B. J. Wilson

Make your thumbnail sketch on paper larger than you would normally need. Do not box in the sketch. Start in the middle of the paper and just sketch; include more than you think you will use. Include some suggestions of dark, light, and middle tones.

Now use a pair of cropping corners which can simply be cut from mat board, card stock, foamboard, or even cardboard. Slide them over your sketch while forming differing shapes of various sizes. These should include:

#1 Crop = a landscape format
#2 Crop = a portrait format
#3 Crop = a square
#4 Crop = very small (a close up view)

First cropping choices are seldom as good as later choices. Make sure each shape is tried in several sizes. Pick the best of the best. Using your cropping corners, now draw in the correct rectangle on your sketch. Go to work painting. You gave up being "ordinary" several steps back!

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