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Focal point Design. Line-tangles.

Principle of Design: Emphasis

by JuliannaKunstler.com

Learning objectives:

  • Use of Line as a focus Element of Art
  • Principle of Design: Emphasis
  • Abstract thinking
  • Critical thinking
  • Contrast
  • Emphasis
  • Repetition/Patterns
  • Eye-hand coordination


What can you use?

  • lines

What kinds of lines?

  • solid
  • interrupted
  • thin, thick, combined
  • curved and organic, and/or straight


What medium?

  • Ultra Fine Sharpie
  • and/or black ball pen for details

Principle of Design: Emphasis

emphasis as a principle of design

We are using an Emphasis Design Principle in this assignment.

Click on the image to view detailes.



You will create a free-form design using lines as your primary Element of Art.

Free-form designs do not have a defined structure, but you still need to plan it.

Your design should include:

  • Emphasis - Focal point of the composition - use contrast: make it lighter or darker, more simple or more intricate, or different type of lines and shapes than the rest of the design.
    Focal point does not have to be in the center of the design!
  • Supporting elements can guide (lead) viewer's eye to that focal point - psychological lines
  • Design should be intricate, detailed, and dense
  • The design should fill the entire space

You will be graded on:

  • Use of Line Element - line quality, clean line weights, smooth, consistent lines
  • Craftsmanship, details, and aesthetic quality of the design
  • Clear focal point!!
line tangles design mandala

Step 1

research and practice

Start with a research.

Explore what's out there for inspiration and reference.

Look for "zentangles" and "zantangle patterns" as a start.

Note and copy patterns that you like. See if you can incorporate them into your future design.

Zentangles is a fancy and relaxing form of "doodling"

You can use these examples.

Step 2

sketching designs


You don't need to sketch out the entire design, but have the main layout concept.

Think where you are going to position your focal point.

Step 3

Use a ruler and measure a 1"" border on all 4 sides of your paper.

Use pencil to draw the lines.

Outline the border with a black pen.

focal point line design drawing stepfocal point line design drawing step
Please note: use 2 measurement marks per side before you draw a line.focal point line design drawing step

Step 4

focal point line design drawing step

You focal point should be contrasted to the rest of the design and/or the rest of the design should lead viewer's eye to it.

Start with the focal point. It does not need to be in the center of the composition.

Mark the main layout shapes (areas).

Step 5

Plan out the rest of the design. Use the image library that you saved as a reference.

Carefully start with bigger shapes, then fill in all gaps with smaller, more intricate elements.

For the most part, draw as you feel like. Lines and shapes can be mostly curvy and organic or angled and geometrical, or a combination of both. It's all about the mood and emotion you want to share.

focal point line design drawing step

You can fill in areas with a uniform design;

focal point line design drawing step

Design can change and evolve.

focal point line design drawing step

Make your patterns as detailed and intricate as you can.

Adding simple elements will help you achieve the result.

focal point line design drawing step

Add interest inside larger areas by creating "flowing" lines and elements.

Thin about organic/nature shapes and lines.

focal point line design drawing step

Fill in the entire space.

Adjust your designs to fit.

You can use a pencil for important lines before you start finalizing it.

Make sure you use very fine light lines that are easy to erase.

focal point line design drawing stepfocal point line design drawing step
focal point line design drawing step
WI standards Grading Rubric
standard no evidence beginning emerging proficient advanced


aesthetics / problem solving

--- Repeated elements are used in the design.

There is a focal point in the design;

Patterns cover the entire composition;

Design uses a variety of pattern elements, they interact and transition into each other;

Lines and designs support the focal point;

There is an obvious focal point in the design;

Patterns are dense and create a good texture coverage.

Creative (unusual) approach to emphasizing the focal point;

Creative manipulation with pattern surface (3D effect, use of positive /negative space, implied lines, etc.)


planning / experimentation

--- There are at least 2 different patterns used in the design.

There are at least 5 different patterns used in the design;

Research and practice designs are integrated into the final design;

Design is based on sketches and research;

There is at least 10 different patterns used in the design;

Designs are unique and creative.

Artwork demonstrates an extensive research and practice;

Design utilizes emotional qualities of line as an art element;

Pattern elements are very detailed and intricate;




Two types of lines are used;

The border is outlined

Lines are solid

Lines are drawn according to the instructions and specific criteria: solid, uniterrupted, and smooth;

Variety of line types and styles are used;

Drawing displays effort and craftsmanship;

The borders are clean and design stays inside the outline;

Design incorporates lines of different weight based on the need (continuous line whith changing thickness, change of weight based on details intricasy, etc);

Craftsmanship and attention to details are flawless;