Emphasis is used in artwork to bring more attention to a certain area or object within the artwork that would normally be overlooked. There are a few different ways in using and creating emphasis in artwork, the first being using contrast.
Contrast is split into five methods, value, saturation, hue, pattern/texture and size. Firstly hue, brighter hues are more likely to attract the viewer’s attention than dull hues. The hue of an object can be changed to make it stand out from its surroundings, it will even more so if the surrounds are black or white as our eyes pick up colours other than those more easily.
Value makes it easier for a artist to emphasis their ideas of a piece of artwork, using the darker values for more morbid subjects and lighter for hope and positivism. Black and white contrast alot so it is easy to use these values for these themes. Saturation works with hues, making them more intense and/or brighter, placing saturated colours next to desaturated ones will show a definite contrast and emphasise life inside an artwork if use correctly.
Besides hue, saturation and value there are other methods of creating contrast in artwork. These other methods do the same job in attracting as much attention as possible to an area of the artwork, making it stand out. Completely desaturated colours will give you a value.
Subjects within an artwork can have a certain texture or pattern to them. When two different pattern or textures are close together our eyes pick up the different between the two. Usually the smaller subject that does not follow the pattern is noticed more than what it is contrasting against.
Proportions within an artwork can create contrast too, this is one of the easiest ways use emphasis within artwork. A person who is 5ft is more likely to stand out if they have 7ft people near them and vice versa, contrast with size uses elements around the object to emphasise its presence. The object that draws attention can be sized differently in either width, length or both. As long as objects surrounding it are contrasting, it will be emphasised.
The other elements that can create emphasis are related to how things are arranged in the composition. The first element is centering, our eyes are drawn to the center of an image first, having a object there can make it the focal point of the artwork. Another method of drawing the viewers gaze to an object is isolation, the object is placed in an area on the artwork that is away from any other distracting elements of the artwork, this would be a good method to emphasize paranoia.
The last method to emphasis i will talk about are leading elements, using the surrounding objects again( such as branches, bars etc), they are used to point towards the focal point. As well as creating a focal point, leading elements can erase it if they have “arrows” pointing from it
References / Sources
Helloarsty. 2015. [online]. Available form: http://helloartsy.com/creating-emphasis/ [Accessed 1st November 2015]
Lamp, L. [online]. Available form: https://www.sophia.org/tutorials/design-in-art-emphasis-variety-and-unity [Accessed 1st November 2015]
Saw, J. 2011. [online]. Available form: http://daphne.palomar.edu/design/emphasis.html [Accessed 1st November 2015]