Rule of Thirds

I will start this post out as I start almost all of my posts.  When it comes to being creative, in any field, there are no “rules”.  When it comes to your creation, it is you that will decide what it right and what is not.  Remember, as the late Bob Ross would say, “There are no mistakes, just happy accidents”. This could not be more true.

That being said, today we are going to discuss Composition.  More specifically, “Rule of Thirds”. I know, I just said that there are no rules.  This is true.  The Rule of Thirds is more a a guide to use so that the composition of your creation may be more appealing to those viewing.

The Rule of Thirds is used among many mediums.  Video, photography, graphic arts and more use the Rule of Thirds. It is a guide that divides the screen or canvas into nine sections so that you may better position your subject.


The Rule of Thirds is actually a quite easy guide to follow.  What you want to do is to divide your medium (canvas) into nine even boxes.  Even easier, imagine placing a tic-tac-toe over your canvas.

We will use a landscape painting for this example, but this guide works for any type of image.

Looking at the image to the left using the Rule of Thirds, the border of the water and trees use the bottom-horizontal guide and the top of the trees use the top-horizontal guide.

You will actually try not to line up anything within the center box.

To be honest, that is pretty much it.  When creating, always try to play ahead of time where you want to place your subject and keep the Rule of Thirds in mind.

Pretty easy huh?  Remember, this is just a guide.  Some Artists insist that this is a rule and  MUST be used.  I totally disagree with them.  Use it as a guide.  Always create what appeals to you, that is why this is art and not photocopying.