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The “Rules” of Art

When two things seem to touch each other in an image, where they do not touch in the three-dimensional space they live in, this is called a tangent.

Tangents are generally considered a bad idea, because they reduce the sense of depth in a piece.

This is a relatively recent “rule” of art. You can see many tangents in the works of the old masters.

What they did do, is they always drew the outline of the body using convex lines to suggest flesh.

That is an art “rule,” which artists apply very seldomly today. The rules change!

Rules are useful. It depends on what you want to say as an artist. Do you want to suggest depth? Then try to avoid tangents. Do you want to make an arm feel more fleshy? Then use convex lines.

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