Odd Is Best…Usually

Have you ever heard this quote before?

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”

It’s attributed to artist, Pablo Picasso whose artwork was very unique, abstract, and playful. I love being messy and loose with my paintings, too! However, knowing the basic rules of what makes for great design is important. There are a few things that you might want to keep in mind as you create your original designs. There’s the rule of odds, rule of thirds, creating values that work together, color theory, shape, form, line, and contrast…just to name a few.

In this post we’ll talk about why odd is best. Just like in gardening, flower arranging, and interior design, placing objects in odd numbers on a canvas will usually be best. (Notice I said…usually…art rules are not set in stone. Think of this as a guide.)

In the video below, I chat with my Facebook followers about the rule of odds and show a few pieces of my own work as examples.


While I love to stay whimsical and create beautiful messes on canvas, using some basic guidelines has helped me to improve my work over time. I’m still learning tips and gradually adding to my own creative process. I’d like to encourage you not to get bogged down by all the rules, but use them to help guide your decisions as you create.

Did you know about the rule of odds? Do you use the rule of odds as a guide in your designs? How have you used it in the past and do you plan to try to keep it in mind for future designs?