Exploring Rhythm

Welcome to Exercises in Rhythm! To get the strongest benefit, first watch the video On Rhythm. It will provide a clearer view of where the following exercises will be taking you. Begin with module 1.0 and complete the list before moving onto the Unity & Composition page. Post your work on your favorite social media sites for feedback. These learning modules have been created solely to promote awareness of design principles and elements through commentary and critical analysis.  

  • 1.0 The simplest of all rhythms: an uninterrupted sequence Exercise Completed

    sequence1gray-300x300A simple rhythm. Repeating shapes create a pattern. These circular shapes as well as the space between and around these shapes can help create movement as well. Pattern with movement produces rhythm. The simple arrangement seen here is an uninterrupted sequence. It is an example of a basic, regular rhythm.

    It’s your turn! Create your own version of an uninterrupted sequence through the medium of your choosing: photography, painting, drawing, digital tools, mixed media, etc. Below are some examples of a simple rhythm, applied to real projects. Check the Pinterest board on Rhythm and find even more examples.

    Exercises in RHythm example 1.1F.ScottFitzgeraldCoversgil-melle-patterns-in-jazz-album-coverAlhambra tile1

    On the upper left, an example of this exercise applied, but with the relevant pattern present in a vertical direction.

    Center, an example of this exercise applied in a series of bookcovers.

    On the upper right, another example of this exercise but created in ink and brush. Blue Note records. The inconsistencies from dot to dot extend the feeling of movement.

    Last image is an example of two uninterrupted sequences of rhythm (one of stars and the other of curved triangles) that happen to integrate with one another. The Alhambra; Granada, Spain. Howard Schneider, photographer.

    When you’re done, post to Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.

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  • 2.0 Interrupted sequence Exercise Completed

    Example of an interrupted sequence.Creating a more dynamic rhythm. Let’s return to the example shown in exercise 1.0. This time start removing one circle at a time in an attempt to eventually break up the notion of an implied horizontal line. How many circles did you end up removing until the line finally fell apart? Five? Six? More?

    Notice how the line or sequence seems to continue despite the fact that some of the circles are missing. (FYI, this effect is called Closure. Find out more in the video on Unity.)

    The main point is that the interruptions create their own rhythm among the remaining dots. The missing circles (aka, open or negative space) now affect their own sort of pacing or rhythm as well. Swiss cheese is noted for it’s flavor and its holes. Shouldn’t open space have its own dynamic as well?

    It’s your turn! Create your own version of an interrupted sequence through the medium of your choosing: photography, painting, drawing, digital tools, mixed media, etc. Check the Pinterest board on Rhythm and find even more examples.

    Below are examples of interrupted sequences. Click through each image to find relevant Pinterest details.

    When you’re done, post your exercises to Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.

    An applied example of this form of rhythm. Painting by Gerhard Richter. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/488077678343469752/ 2-StepFrench paper cardsThink Big Scalar

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • 3.0 Altered sequence Exercise Completed

    sequence-alt-valueCreating an Altered Sequence. Now let’s explore an additional form of a rhythm; one where a sequence starts to alternate in a variety of modes.

    The varied “pulse” within the thumbnail sequence of circles to the left has wide reaching, interesting consequences. What if just a few alterations are involved? Or just one? Go beyond thinking in grayscale values, think also about using color, texture, space, etc. Think about more complex applications as well.

    Repeating and varying visual elements creates rhythm. The possibilities are quite limitless.

    It’s your turn! Create your own version of an altered sequence through the medium of your choosing: photography, painting, drawing, digital tools, mixed media, etc. Check the Pinterest board on Rhythm and find even more examples.

    Below are examples of altered sequences. Click through each image to find relevant Pinterest details.

    When you’re done, post your exercises to Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.

    An example of the exercise applied. Image by Cristiana Couceiro. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/488077678343491212/ Jazz in the MoviesStefan Sakicbeste plakateArt BlakeyCarol Inez Charney2Gunta Shotzl

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  • 4.0 Progressive Sequence Exercise Completed

    progressive_sequence-sqA progressive sequence involves a logical series of alterations not only in size but potentially in color, value, shape, texture, space, etc., individually or in combination with each other.

    It’s your turn! Create your own version of a progressive sequence through the medium of your choosing: photography, painting, drawing, digital tools, mixed media, etc. Check the Pinterest board on Rhythm and find even more examples.

    Below are examples of progressive sequences. Click through each image to find relevant Pinterest details.

    When you’re done, post your exercises to Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.

    RobertCapa

    ChePushPin1-cropped

    Chili peppers sequence

    An altered progression of chilé sizes is combined with a progressive sequence of colors from warm to cool.

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  • 5.0 Altered-Progressive Sequence Exercise Completed

    progressive_sequenceAltered-Progressive Sequences are everywhere. Cross your fingers. Watch water come to a boil. View clouds going by. This could be the stuff that dreams are made of; the stranger the dream, the more altered the sequence. It’s all about the scrambling of an otherwise rational, gradual sequence of visual elements, whether by one degree or by several. 

    It’s your turn! Create your own version of an alteredprogressive sequence through the vehicle of your choosing: photography, painting, drawing, digital tools, mixed media, etc.

    Below are examples of altered-progressive sequences. Click through each image to find relevant Pinterest details.

    When you’re done, post to the Exercise Blog and share: Facebook, Pinterest, Flickr, or Instagram.

    An applied example of the exercise. “The Blank Signature” by Rene Magritte. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/488077678340527915/RoyaltyPentagram arrowsRodchenko compassPicasso

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  • 6.0 Symmetrical Sequence: 2 Elements Exercise Completed

    dual_sequence1Now let’s changes things up a little bit and add another layer of elements to coordinate.

    Symmetry is a precise form of balance. It typically involves a center axis, whether actual or implied. The left half looks like the right half; upper half like the lower half and so on. Think mirror-like. Multiple layers of symmetrical items may actually begin to form their own coordinated sort of carefully crafted rhythms, potentially making compositions far more dynamic and interesting.

    (To get a better idea as to how separate elements can integrate, review the definition of Unity, the Pinterest board overview of Unity, or the video on Unity.)

    It’s your turn! Create your own version of an alteredprogressive sequence through the vehicle of your choosing: photography, painting, drawing, digital tools, mixed media, etc.

    Below are examples of symmetrical sequences using two elements. Click through each image to find relevant Pinterest details.

    When you’re done, post to the Exercise Blog and share: Facebook, Pinterest, Flickr, or Instagram.

    PolaroidFlatiron BuildingPan Am1TimeRed Rubber squeeze

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  • 7.0 Symmetrical Sequence: 2 Elements, 1 Altered Exercise Completed

    rhythm-of-two-systemsOpposing rhythms working in harmony. This type of engagement relies on contrasting elements: order vs. randomness, precision vs. chance, chaos met by stability. But how such contrasting elements eventually integrate with one another is by no means an accident.

    (To get a better idea as to how contrasting elements can integrate, review the definition of Unity, the Pinterest board overview of Unity, or the video on Unity.)

    It’s your turn! Create your own version of a symmetrical sequence using 2 elements, 1 altered. through the medium of your choosing: photography, painting, drawing, digital tools, mixed media, etc. Check the Pinterest board on Rhythm and find even more examples.

    Below are examples of this type of rhythmical marriage. Click through each image to find relevant Pinterest details.

    When you’re done, post your exercises to Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.

    Coney IslandCarsonCarson2SchwittersSchneider-Gaudi

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  • 8.0 Symmetrical Altered Sequence of 2 Elements: Your Version Exercise Completed

    rhythm-of-two-systems7altSymmetry has its own unique form of order and unity. If you can achieve both unity and rhythm in any composition, you just about have it all. Altering a sequence of visual items makes the items more dynamic. A dynamic arrangement of visual items that has unity and rhythm is quite an accomplishment, especially if you’re able to integrate multiple elements like in the example on the left.

    (To get a better idea as to how separate rhythms can integrate, review the definition of Unity, the Pinterest board overview of Unity, or the video on Unity.)

    It’s your turn! Create your own version of a symmetrical altered sequence of 2 elements through the vehicle of your choosing: photography, painting, drawing, digital tools, mixed media, etc.

    If you can achieve both unity and rhythm in any composition, you just about have it all. And by creating a clearly felt sense of direction or movement, all other visual relationships are much easier to see and experience.

    When you’re done, post to the Exercise Blog and share: Facebook, Pinterest, Flickr, or Instagram.

    couceiro football66 SebringMoses

     

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  • 9.0 Asymmetrical, altered sequence: 2 elements Exercise Completed

    rhythm-of-two-systems,asymmetryAsymmetry is all about achieving a felt sense of balance. Asymmetric arrangements are chaotic, random and rhythmical. The goal is to create a felt state of balance where mismatching halves in a composition feel equal in weight with each other.

    (To get a better idea as to how separate rhythms can integrate, review the definition of Unity, the pinterest board overview of Unity, or the video on Unity.)

    It’s your turn! Create your own version of an asymmetrical altered sequence of 2 elements through the medium of your choosing: photography, painting, drawing, digital tools, mixed media, etc.  Check the Pinterest board on Rhythm and find even more examples.

    Below are examples of asymmetrical altered sequences. Click through each image to find relevant Pinterest details.

    When you’re done, post your exercises to Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.

    Composition by Laszlo Maholy-Nagy

     

    BressonSamRose collage

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  • 10.0 Creating a focal point Exercise Completed

    rhythm-of-two-systems6-rev2A focal point is the single most active area in a composition. It’s the first place a viewer would go; you could call it a visual entry point. Not all compositions have one and that’s okay. It’s pretty dynamic when they do however. On the other hand, using more than one obvious focal point begins to create confusion.

    A focal point can be created by some form of distinguishing event: contrast of color, size, value, texture, pattern, location, containment, etc.

    It’s your turn! Create your own version, any type of sequencing involving at least 2 elements, and with a focal point through the medium of your choosing: photography, painting, drawing, digital tools, mixed media, etc. Below are some examples applied to real projects. Check the Pinterest board on Rhythm and find even more examples.

    When you’re done, post your exercises to Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.

     

    Jimmy Smithmiles-walkin Truman'sTrain ride

     

     

     

     

     

    An example of the exercise applied. Collage by Juan Casini. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/488077678338487437/

     

     

     

     

     

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  • 11.0 Culminating Exercise Exercise Completed

    Create a poster for a bicycle race. Two elements: imagery and text; each composed in the rhythmical sequence of your choosing. Any size format. Image can be a photo or an illustration. Text: Tour de France and the year. Additional text is up to you. Your composition must have a focal point. A line, a shape and/or a color must repeat at least once.

    (To get a better idea as to how separate rhythms can integrate, review the definition of Unity, the Pinterest board overview of Unity, or the video on Unity.)

    When you’re done, post your poster to Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.