How to compose a picture

Course Dates: 17/07/20
Time: 10:00 - 17:00
Location: KS - Keeley Street

Learn the basics of composing a picture and discover why some compositions are more interesting than others. Explore compositional elements to help strengthen a picture and try out techniques such as ‘rule of thirds’ and the 'golden section’. Ideal for improving and learning new skills.


What is the course about?

This practical course will introduce you to compositional techniques and their potential for enhancing your own compositions. Through structured exercises and observational drawing, you will explore ideas through thumbnail sketches and more detailed drawings, looking at ways of integrating a structure to make more interesting, considered pictures.

What will we cover?

- How to plan a composition
- A variety of techniques used for structuring and balancing a composition
- Tools to help compose a picture
- Looking at artist’s paintings to try to understand their compositional structure
- De-construct your own work and look at ways of making it stronger.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Plan a composition using several different techniques
- Compose a picture with increased confidence
- Choose a suitable approach for a particular subject matter
- Look at and take inspiration from artists who use the ‘Rule of Thirds’ and other compositional elements in their work.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This is a course for which some basic drawing skills would be useful but not essential.
Optional: You can bring a piece of your own work to analyse using compositional techniques. You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions to support demonstrations, handouts and for health and safety information, and will be invited to take part in group discussion.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

In this studio based course you will be taught through demonstrations, practical exercises, handouts and individual tuition.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

All materials for the course will be provided. A small sketchbook or notebook may be useful for taking personal notes and making sketches. If you would like to buy art materials for your personal use outside of the course, City Lit students receive 10% discount off everything* from Cass Art, the UK's leading art supplies retailer. Your tutor will advise you on what you should buy. You will need to show your enrolment receipt in-store to receive your discount. Visit the Charing Cross shop at 13 Charing Cross Road WC2H 0EP or find your local shop at *Terms and conditions apply, visit

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

The Drawing 1 and Painting 1 courses are great for nailing the fundaments of drawing or painting and will also cover composition as well as other picture making elements. Develop your Drawing and Painting is great for really exploring the picture making process and how both relate to each other. There’s also a great variety of life drawing and life painting classes which would allow you to try out your new compositional skills.

Tutor Biographies
Kim Scouller

Kim is an award winning figurative artist. She studied Fine Art at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee (1999-2003) and the Royal Drawing School (2007-09). Her studio work focuses on painting directly from subjects such as still-life and the figure and portrait. Working predominantly in oils she uses gestural paint handling to seek out the emergent subject. Kim exhibits her work regularly and has had work selected for the BP Portrait Award, Royal Society of Portrait Painters, Lynn Painter Stainers Prize, ING Discerning Eye and more recently the Scottish Portrait Award (2019). She is the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships, most notably in 2005 she was the winner of the Aspect Prize, one of Scotland’s most prestigious painting prizes for emerging artists. An experienced art tutor, Kim has taught students of all ages and levels at institutions such as The Royal Drawing School, Candid Arts Trust, Central Saint Martins, London Drawing and London College of Communication. Website: Instagram: @kim_scouller

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.

Book your place

Course Code: VM810

Fri, day, 17 Jul - 17 Jul '20

Duration: 1 session

Full fee: £79.00
Senior fee: £63.00
Concession: £48.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

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Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2700/2703

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.