Emphasizing Elements in a Sketch

A few days ago, a student on mine asked me… “What are the rules of including/leaving out certain elements from a sketch/painting?”.

The answer is… “It depends!”.

And believe me, this is not a diplomatic answer. It completely depends on the sketcher. If I do two sketches at the same spot/using the same reference image, I may emphasize different elements altogether.

Have a look at this sketch above. I sketched this one today morning on location in a narrow lane in the old heritage part of the city where I live.

You may notice that the left side of the lane is highly emphasized while the right side is completely left blank, highlighted only by the blue signage.

The middle part, i.e. the road is also left blank, save some shadows. This give an illusion of bright light.

Would I do the same choices if I go there next time? Not necessarily!