How images draw the eye: An eye-tracking study of composition

Clare Kirtley* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


In his instructional art book, Andrew Loomis provides images and corresponding diagrams that indicate how the composition of the image should guide the viewer's eye. Using these images, we examined whether participants would follow the suggested cues. Participants' eyes were tracked as they viewed the images, allowing us to take measures of where they entered and exited the image, whether they attended to the focal part of the image, and what path they followed between these components. These measures could then be compared with Loomis' suggestions, to determine if the elements did indeed have the proposed influence. While viewers were attracted to the focal points, and spent the most time examining these, they did not use the entry and exit points marked by Loomis, and the suggested viewing paths were not closely followed. It appears that Loomis' suggested elements of composition do not strongly influence viewers' eye movements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-70
Number of pages29
JournalEmpirical Studies of the Arts
Issue number1
Early online date8 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


  • attention
  • eye-tracking
  • perception
  • art
  • composition


Dive into the research topics of 'How images draw the eye: An eye-tracking study of composition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this