This may sound like a weird question to you guys, but when is a good time to learn composition in drawing? Is it when you've learned line, form, shape, and tone, or is there more to learn before moving on? Also, are there any good places to learn composition?
Note: I have posted this in the Fine Arts forum, but I doubt it went through. If it did I apologize for the double-post.
We use composition to direct the viewers eye through an image, making the elements we want them to see the focus. Learning where detail is important, and when it detracts attention from our intended focus.
Composition is about perception and will have a wide perspective in theory. I would start with a reputable source like Rudolf Arnhem if you want a metaphysical explanation but maybe this is too much. For me I like to get to the bottom an work my way up.
When just starting out I'd just simply focus on where the eye goes. Follow the direction of the shapes and see where they end up. If it leads you off the page it's usually not a good thing. You want people to travel the piece gathering all the info you want them to. Draw them in.
There's all sorts of ways to lead the eye, with shapes, subject matter like someone pointing or shouting at someone, color and contrast, all sorts of fun stuff.
Composition is one of the few things I say just have fun with personally instead of trying to get bogged down with some sort of rules you have to follow strictly. Just keep practicing and think when your doing it how the shapes are leading the eye and what you should add or change to shift that flow.
Comics is a good way to get into composition. That's all about leading the viewer through the pages, with text, panel layout everything. Not just the drawing.
Composition should never not be a part of what you are doing. If you get in the habit early of composing pictures rather than simply drawing things you will it will become a natural part of your picture making rather than something you try to force your picture into in the end.