Droste Effect

Exercise: No. 4
Duration: 1 Day
Due: By end of class


For this exercise we’ll be exploring a variety of compositional arrangements in order to see what works and what doesn’t.

We will not be using typography. This is purely an image-based exercise.


Download the Start Files. You'll find four folders full of jpgs. Each student must compose two imagesfrom each folder, for a total of eight images.

  • Each composition must be 8" x 10" at 72dpi

  • 8 completely different compositions

  • No shape layers or paint toolsare allowed

  • All images must be incorporated


This exercise is not about special effects or flashy graphics. It’s about shapes, composition and the arrangement of the parts.

If you don't like an image, change it's color or make it smaller.

Think about the way the individual shapes collect themselves into larger shapes.

These are not advertisements, informational pieces or narratives. There is no message to impose on the viewer other than the emotional effect of the layout as a whole. In this way, these are more like sketches or gestural drawings.

Think about the white space in each piece. Does it seem to “hold” the images in place? Is the spacing consistent? How does the white space affect the color and shapes of each image? 

Negative space is an image in-and-of itself.


  • The images may be cropped anyway you like

  • The images may be repeated as many times as you like

  • The color of the images may be adjusted any way you like

  • The images may be manipulated any way you like

  • Clipping masks may be used any way you like


Please submit the following to the Class Folders (do not include the Start Files with your submission.):

  • Photoshop documents (.psd)

  • Web-ready .jpgs (File / Save for Web...)

Submit your favorite composition to the Class Blog.

  • Web-ready .jpg (File / Save for Web...)