Fun Fridays – November 9, 2018

Today’s video is designed to make you think more deeply about art. Especially the intentionality of great art.

Understanding the use of light and shadow, which directs your eye when looking at art, can help you view book-cover design in a new way. Bad cover designs make you look at the wrong part of the cover. Great covers help you focus on what is most important.

Let’s learn from the master, Rembrandt:

(I recommend watching it full screen. The video is 7 minutes long. The last minute is a commercial for the sponsor of the show.)

11 Responses to Fun Fridays – November 9, 2018

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    Nicola November 9, 2018 at 8:12 am #

    Humans are wonderfully complicated, aren’t they. Our brains take in all from that painting without effort, but having it explained brings it to the forefront, a different part of our brains that tells us what we were thinking!

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    Nicola November 9, 2018 at 8:13 am #

    There should have been a ? in my comment. It escaped into cyberspace. If anyone sees it, please redirect it!

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    Carolyn Knefely November 9, 2018 at 8:13 am #

    I appreciate your teaching style with meaningful videos.
    Teach on!

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    Kay DiBianca November 9, 2018 at 9:18 am #

    Great video. I couldn’t help but see the parallels with novel writing. Clearly defining the main character(s). Providing broad brush strokes about the supporting cast. Creating a plot that “leads” the reader through the story just as Rembrandt constructed his painting to guide the viewers eyes through it. And leaving some story elements in the shadows so readers fill in the missing parts themselves.

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    Tisha Martin November 9, 2018 at 12:06 pm #

    Wow, this was inspiring and captivating. So much meaning and nuance and history. I have a whole page of notes—seriously.

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    claire o'sullivan November 9, 2018 at 12:21 pm #

    One of the best visuals to explain novels. I agree with all, and note how each minor character has their own plotline individually but still within the boundaries of the all over plot.

    Each character has their own depth though less than the main characters, and the shadows perhaps their flaws, the light their strengths, altogether creating the 3D we want in all of our characters to have, to jump off each page without drawing away from the main characters. These are the memorable moments within a story, one we want our readers to immerse themselves, touch the hands of the main characters. That spelling, grammar are important, the characters, their obstacles (in this case, preparing for war), the plot weave a tapestry, paint a picture full of darkness, light, and depth.

    Great post!

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    claire o'sullivan November 9, 2018 at 12:33 pm #

    See what happens when I haven’t finished my coffee? The post discusses the ‘cover,’ though I think it applies to our novels.

    Yet covers are pretty much the domain of the publisher, traditional and Indie, not self-publishing, and I have an inkling that publishers (for the most part) rankle at the concept of an idea the author has.

    Not always. Ideas indeed may mesh. But a cover that shows 16 pack abs of a guy because it the book is a romance. Oh, ugh. I would rather have the cover artfully made–with the shadows, conveying the concept than a publisher bent on selling what I feel is simple marketing toward a slathering-over-body public.

    Sometimes, this applies to content as well. When content is x’d out by the editor that erases the understanding of the character, this pulls from the novel. A complex character becomes a caricature that falls into the cliché with equally cliché phrases because of genre.

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    Sheri Dean Parmelee November 9, 2018 at 1:37 pm #

    How interesting!

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    Stacy Simmons November 9, 2018 at 1:55 pm #

    Captivating! When symmetry and art collide, beautiful results occur. I’ll look at book covers with more diligence thanks to your lesson. And start saving my pennies to go to the Rijksmuseum in the future : )

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    E. Piotrowicz November 16, 2018 at 9:37 am #

    I like this discussion of The Night Watch. Rembrandt succeeds in striking that balance between darkness and light, where Caravaggio tends to dangerously court the melodramatic for fear his viewer will miss the point. As the many responders before me, I do see it as a lesson to the writer as well, to keep values in balance lest you venture into the realm of cartoonishly exaggerated emotion. Another interesting example among the Dutch masters is Bruegel, whose subject always seems to be tucked into the hubbub of everyday life, which goes on without noticing that anything important has happened at all. Bruegel strikes an ironic note by helping the viewer realize how much we potentially miss when we become immune to the miraculous in every moment.

    • Avatar
      claire o'sullivan November 16, 2018 at 10:50 am #

      How true, miracles of every moment are unique, lost often without thought.

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