Here are two ink wash drawings of a picturesque street scene. They’re very similar. There’s an upper and a lower arch. The light is coming from the upper left in both scenes, and the figures are all in the same places.
As you look at both pictures, do you find your attention is attracted to a different part of each picture? What is different about them?
Arthur Guptill, in his book Color in Sketching and Rendering, provides this example to show how tonal arrangement can help create a focal area.
His purpose with the picture at left is to draw the eye to the upper arch by means of strong lighting and punchy contrast. The second picture has the tonal focus on the lower arch.
I found that my eye moved the way he intended, but I may have been influenced by his discussion in the book. How did it work for you?