Back cover for Jack Black and the Ship of Thieves- 8" x 8" , acrylic
Finding balance in your composition can be a tricky process. One rule of thumb that is helpful to keep in mind is the fulcrum and lever principle. Once again I pull a page from Creative Illustration by Andrew Loomis to illustrate the concept. The value of creating appropriate distance between compositional elements is evidenced in his sketches. A basic rule is to have the larger heavier object nearer the center of the composition and the smaller object further away from the "balance point". If the two objects are of similar size and shape then overlapping the two forms can add interest to the composition.
From Creative Illustration by Andrew Loomis
In the back cover spot illustration at the top, I used the smaller scale of the plane to balance the larger forms of the ship's smokestacks. I broke the "keep the larger elements toward the center" rule in order to add drama and keep the plane the center of focus. The simplicity of the smoke and sky shapes against the complexity of the plane also provides a nice visual counterpoint. Obviously no rules are set in stone, but if something looks wrong or out of balance to me, I look at changing the scale, spacing or location a bit until things look right.