Frazetta’s Use of Alignment and Intersection
Written by Joe Vicas
compositions, they were usually diagramed with one simple triangle, circle, or
combination of the two. Some years ago, I was looking at one of his paintings and discovered that if I drew a line from one point to another, a number of objects either aligned on or intersected at the line. It seemed to me that in some cases, once Frazetta established the main focal point, alignments and intersections moved the eye around the painting in addition to other things like shapes and lighting.
To illustrate what I’m talking about, look at the following diagram. The focal point is her breasts. Drawing a circle around the Cat Girl, with the red ovals showing the points of contact, you can see that, starting from the breasts resting on the circle, the eye moves either right or left to the arms intersecting with the limbs and finally to the top of the branch. The curve of the branch then leads the eye either to the panther or back into the painting depending on the direction the viewer looked.
The alignments and intersections don’t occur with mathematical precision but they are darn close to it. I don't believe that Frazetta sat down and mathematically gridded-out his compositions in advance. He would not have had the patience to do that. This is something that was intuitive, based on his sense of drama and the desire to get a powerful emotional response from the viewer. These things don’t happen in every single piece of art he ever created, but they do show up in a number of his paintings. The following diagrams are examples that I created using Photoshop. On the rest of the diagrams, all you have to do is pick a circle or line and follow it to see where and how objects intersect or align with them.
Objects that align or intersect on lines that extend from a single point give the picture a sense of visual symmetry in an area or an entire image. Besides the lines that extend from the single point, this image (A Princess Of Mars), shows an additional vertical line to the right side of John Carters face on the vertical
center of the picture that extends down and multiple objects align to it.
With this picture, (Warrior With Ball And Chain), there are actually two points that could be used to align things. One point is offscreen to the right and another at the base of the warrior’s right leg.
As I mentioned earlier, this isn’t a matter of mathematical precision but more of a
general design. There are more paintings that can be diagramed and it can be fun to do. To me it’s just another example of how truly amazing Frazetta was.