Also called focal point, this is a compositional strategy where the artist creates an area that pulls the viewer’s eye toward an important part of the image.
There can be more than one area of interest or focal point. Sometimes subordinate focal points can build meaning in a piece of artwork much like supporting actors help the main character of a story carry the story. These supporting areas are called accents.
There are several ways an artist creates emphasis. One of which is to create an area that is in CONTRAST with the surrounding elements of the artwork. In the piece to the right by Sophia R., the figure is the focal point. She does this by making is lighter than the background.
An artist can use color, shape, size, line, or value to contrast with the design. One can also create emphasis by changing the placement of an element for that it contrasts with the other elements in a picture. For instance, if a composition is mostly made up of curvilinear shapes, then a rectilinear shape within the composition would be the focal point.
Another way one can use emphasis is to isolate an object. By placing an object in the composition away from other elements, you can draw the viewer’s eye to it. This approach works well to create a sense of isolation, but don’t place the object too close to the edge of the page or it could create an unbalanced composition.
Untitled, Sophia R., 2007