Based in Philadelphia, self-taught digital artist Rob Shields explores a wide variety of commercial and self-initiated projects.  To see a selection of his latest work and find out where his images are on display, visit his website.

The essence of abstract art is movement – of your hand, your eye and each element within the piece. In this tutorial, Rob Shields takes you through the necessary steps to create a balanced abstract image.

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Balance within an abstract piece of art is not a simple matter of ratios or obeying hard-and-fast rules. Instead, it has more to do with finding harmony among each of the elements competing for the viewer’s attention. By giving certain elements more prominence, you allow the viewer’s eye to move purposefully through the work without becoming lost or jaded.

What you will not see in the following pages are all the mistakes that were made en route to creating this image. We mention this because making mistakes is an essential part of the process.

When you create an abstract image, you never get it right first time – it is all about trial and error. To get the most from this tutorial, you should experiment, explore a few dead ends and ultimately turn the piece into one that bears your own distinctive stamp.

In the project files, which can be downloaded below, Rob has included some elements for you to use.

Time to complete

3-4 hours


Photoshop CS3 or higher, Illustrator CS3 or higher

Project Files

Click here to download this tutorial's project files

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