How to Create Illusion of Movement in Art – Art Challenge #3

How to Create Illusion of Movement in Art – Art Challenge #3


When painting or drawing we are creating
a static artwork. Yet many artists managed to create the illusion of
movement when you look at their artworks. In this tutorial we will look at ten ways
that you can also fool the viewers eye into thinking that they can see movement
in your artworks. The first thing to realize is that because we can’t add
actual movements to our artwork we need to imply the movement. In other words we
will show the moving object in such a way that your brain only normally sees
them like that when they are moving. If you can create this effect in your
painting it will look fabulously alive and you are guaranteed to get lots of
Wow’s and compliments. The first of these methods is to place the figure in a pose
only normally seen when moving. In this painting you know these horses are racing because of the way their feet are positioned. Their
angle tells you they are running around a bend and the pose of the jockeys also
tell you that their horses are at full gallop. In other words the pose has
told us a lot of things: we know where these horses are running, in which
direction they are running and at what speed. In this artwork we know the boy is
jumping because of his pose. The balloons have been posed behind him which tells
you that he’s jumping forward. And in this photograph the pose of the little
girls is only possible when they are jumping forward so we automatically know
that they are jumping forward implying that movement in the picture. Here’s an
interesting movement illusion. Take a look at this photo there’s clearly
nothing moving in the scene yet you still get the sense of moving into the
scene. The trick here is to use perspective repetition by repeating same
or similar objects into the distance while applying perspective to those
objects. As these similar objects get smaller due to
perspective, it fools your brain into thinking it’s moving forward. In this
artwork it is the repeating vertical lines making you feel like you’re
walking up the street. And in this photo it is the perspective repetition of the
dashed center lines making you feel like you’re busy taking the corner. Due to
gravity most things that are in the air or in motion so when you see something
in the air your brain automatically assumes that it’s in motion. Take a look
at this graphic: all it is is a series of teardrop shapes at various angles, yet
when you look at them you get a distinct sense of movement because your brain is
telling you that they are balloons floating in the air. In other words your
brain has completed the illusion for you. Here the artist has used the airborne effect
to create a very effective surreal artwork. Some things in nature never stop
moving like the sea. If you paint them you automatically convey a sense of
movement in your artwork. Here the artist has used the perpetual motion effect
along with an airborne object to create an artwork that has incredible movement.
It isn’t however just the sea that is perpetually moving. Here you know that
the person is moving because they are on an escalator. By looking at the direction
of their feet you even know that this person is going up. The next way to
create the illusion of movement is to show the result of movement. An example
of this would be the water ripples around these ducks. You know that the
water ripples are there because the ducks are pedaling their feet like crazy
under the water. Yet you can’t see their feet that are actually in motion. Another
example is the dust that’s been kicked up as these horses run past. The dust
tells you it’s the horses that are moving. And in this painting the drops
on the window implying that there is movement outside and due to the rain.
These tracks in the road are a result of movement so also convey a sense of motion even though the motion has already happened. Then there
are a lot of things that move that leave a trail behind or show up as vapor. Here
you can tell the plane is flying because it’s suspended in the air. You can
however also tell what path the plane flew
due to the trial that it has left. The same thing goes for the wake of this
boat, and in this painting the smoke trail left by the train indicates the
movement in the scene. You can also use this effect to show invisible movement
like the movement of air. In this painting, The Birth of Venus by
Botticelli, he indicated that the god of wind, Zephyr, is blowing her to shore using
a vapour trail by his mouth. So here is a really interesting one – motion blur.
Motion blur is something that happens when an object moves faster then your eye
can see it. Although this technique was used hundreds of years ago already as
you can see from the 1655 painting of the spinners by Diego Velazquez. It’s
only really become popular since the advent of cameras because they show up
motion blur more often then are eyes show it to us, as you can see in this photo. You
can create the illusion of movement in your artworks by adding this motion blur
to any moving object. In this painting you will see that the white horses are
not very defined and that creates a motion blur effect around them. Because
your brain blocks out motion blur when you look around you to prevent you from
getting motion sickness, you ideally only use motion blur on secondary objects in
your artworks. Here you can see how the central brown horse doesn’t have a
motion blur effect and it’s the most defined horse of the lot as well and as
a result it becomes the focal point in this painting. In this painting the
racing car is the focal point so it’s painted in full focus but to indicate
the speed of the car the background and the foreground have been painted with a
motion blur. Many object’s shape will distort when they
move so by painting this distortion you create the illusion of movement. Here we
can tell that the central sail is moving because of its distorted shape.
Other examples are hair blowing in the wind and grass bending because of the
wind. Now for some reason our eyes like to follow a line and we can use this
effect to create the illusion of movement in our artworks. Here you can
tell how the ribbon is moving because of the flowing lines that it creates. In
this artwork the artist has used lines to create a sense of movement despite
the fact that there’s no actual objects in the painting. In this landscape the
winding road also makes your eye meander into the scene
creating a sense of movement. The last illusion we will look at is called
energy lines. This is when you use imaginary lines to indicate direction of
movement in your artwork. You can think of these lines as imaginary motion blur
lines and they can be very effective in conveying the illusion of motion.
These energy lines don’t need to be in your face either. Here you can see how
subtle the energy lines are yet you can still sense the movement. I find that
using energy lines is most effective when you use them creatively as part of
the scene as you can see in this artwork. In summary I want you to look back over
the previous photos and artworks, this time look carefully each of them and you
will notice that often more than one of the illusion techniques are at play. So
bear this in mind when creating your artworks. The stronger the sense of
motion you can create in the artwork the more dramatic it will appear. Now for
this lesson’s challenge: your challenge is to use two of the illusion methods to
create an artwork which makes the viewer feel like the focal point of the artwork
is moving. You will get bonus points if you come up with creative and outside the
box for the focal point. Instructions on where to post your artwork are in the
description below. Good luck I look forward to seeing your artwork

1 thought on “How to Create Illusion of Movement in Art – Art Challenge #3

  1. Very good lesson. I’m giving myself the challenge this week to find examples of movement compositions in my daily life that I could draw or paint. Thank you.

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