Art by NaomiRose - depicting balance
Blog,  Journal

What is Balance in Art? Types, Function, Examples, & Tips

Art by NaomiRose - depicting balance
NaomiRose’s art, Dec.19, 2015. ©vix·ph.
All rights reserved. You may not use, distribute, and/or edit this photo in any way. If you have any other concerns, contact me

NaomiRose killed ennui by drawing what was on her mind. She drew this on December 19, 2015. So, yeah! Almost five years ago. She was nine y.o., then. But I noticed the fundamental art principles, such as balance, shadow, and movement in her art. Plus, I want to count on the element of mystery.  Hahah! That’s why I am dubbing this “The Investigator”.

So for today, let me share some tips on the principles of balance in art and its importance.

Balance in art

Balance in art is crucial because it makes the elements of a design interrelated, especially in terms of visual equilibrium. You want your art to have a sense of balance so that the viewer would take your art as a whole rather than in fragments.

Imagine a painting with only one side dense while the other side is pretty much sparse. It doesn’t have to be symmetrical. One side doesn’t have to be a mirror of the other side. Rather, you may want to fill the seemingly “missing gap” so that one side will not seem heavier than the other.

Balance in art is crucial in making the elements interrelated.

How do you achieve balance in art?

There are different ways to achieve balance in art. It can be through symmetrical or asymmetrical.

Symmetrical balance is one in which both sides are equal. It can be by a mirror kind or by an almost identical kind of symmetry. It can be achieved in two ways, first, you have “bilaterally-symmetrical balance“, and second, the “radially-symmetrical balance“.

Bilaterally-symmetrical balance

If this is what you want to achieve, initially draw a line dividing the piece into two sides — left and right …  or top and bottom… This symmetry is called bilateral. A famous art example of a bilaterally symmetrical balance is Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.

Another example of an art piece showing a bilaterally-symmetrical balance is this glass painting.

Stained Glass Art - photo from Pixabay-min
Source: Pixabay

Notice how the left and right sides of the whole piece depict balance. The elements aren’t identical, as exemplified by the sun on the left and the moon on the right that were placed similarly in the middle.

Radially-symmetrical balance

Another way is by radially-symmetrical balance. Imagine a pizza and cut it into several equal slices. Each of the slices would have the same sense of weight or density. To achieve that in art, draw lines radially where all of them meet at a central point.

Bilateral Symmetry vs Radial Symmetry
Bilateral Symmetry vs Radial Symmetry. ©vix·ph
Image Credit: Maria Victoria  ·vix·  Gonzaga (author) and for reuse under CC-SA 4.0.

Mandalas are a perfect example of art showing radial symmetry.

first mandala art by Vix
Illustrator: Vix Maria. ©vix·ph.
All rights reserved. You may not use, distribute, and/or edit this photo in any way. If you have any other concerns, contact me

This is the first and only mandala art I made. I wonder when I’ll be able to create another soon?!… Hahah!

Balance by radial symmetry is a great tool if you want to make a strong focal point. That is useful, especially in flower art.

Asymmetrical balance

As I already pointed out earlier, balance can still be achieved even if there is no symmetry (asymmetrical). An asymmetrical balance is one in which the sides or parts of a whole are not visually identical. An example of that is Naomi’s artwork. The huge tree dominates the left side whereas the right side is dominated by a cat and a tower. The “investigator” stands somewhere in the midline while the tracks are inclined towards the right side.

More tips

  • Darker colors seem visually heavier than lighter colors.
  • Higher saturation (intense color) appears visually heavier than lower saturation (dull color).
  • The more there are corners in an element the heavier it seems than those with less or none. For example, round objects appear lighter, square objects appear heavier, and hexagonal objects seem the heaviest of the three.
  • Larger objects appear heavier than smaller objects.
  • Other factors that help in making an object appear heavier are thick lines and adding textures