SCALE is how large or small something is compared
to something else
There has to be some standards against which to measure
scale. You can make a scale model of a car that will fit in your
hand. Next to a real car the model is much smaller in scale. It is
possible to make an object appear different in scale without
changing its size.
Scale refers to overall size and proportion refers to relative size.
Scale and proportion principles help the viewer organize an
image and they can be used to create or minimize points of
emphasis. If an object is out-of-scale or oddly proportioned,
then it will create a point of emphasis. Also, large scale objects
create obvious visual weight. We automatically perceive larger
objects as closer and more important than smaller objects.
The artist, James Rosenquist, plays games with SCALE in his
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Choose a very small object and draw it on a large scale. Then
do the opposite and choose a very large object and draw it on a
Combine the two objects in one composition.
Scale is usually depicted on a map, or can be calculated from
features of known size.
The scale of the map is shown as either an expression of values
or as a graphic, usually a line on the map labelled with an
equivalent and whole number length on the ground such as one
kilometer or one mile.
Scales are almost always much less than 1.0, because usually
the map is much smaller than the area being mapped. This is
not always the case: consider a 'map' of an integrated circuit, for
Of two maps that are otherwise the same size, the one with the
larger scale shows the smaller portion of the earth. A good way
to remember it: when you give a friend a map to your school or
home, that's most likely a large scale map.
Large scale and small scale
To understand the use of the terms, first think about the ratio
method of showing map scale:
the ratio 1:10 000 - means that the size of objects on the
1/10 000 of their size on the ground.
the ratio 1:250 000 - means that the size of objects on the
1/250 000 of their size on the ground.
1/10 000 is a larger fraction than 1/250 000, so 1:10 000 is the
large scale map.
In the same way that 1/2 of an apple is a large piece of apple
when compared to 1/8 of an apple.
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A nomad is someone who travels around from place
to place and doesn't have a permanent home.
Paintings usually have one part that stands out from
all the others; this is called the "focal point." James
Rosenquist's painting doesn't have a focal point. Our
eyes just keep moving around, like a nomad.
How many things in the painting can you
Very few people can figure out the large grey object
in the upper right-hand corner. Can you guess what
it is? In real life it's much smaller than a picnic table,
and almost every grown-up has one when they're out
of the house!
One of the reasons people have trouble identifying
some of the objects in Nomad is that they were not
painted to scale. One definition of scale is how large
or small something is compared to something else.
Scale is important in Mr. Rosenquist's work, and he
plays games with it. For example, a light bulb is
smaller than a ballet dancer in real life, so this
painting tricks us. Can you find some other
examples in the painting where Mr. Rosenquist plays
games with scale?
The composition of Nomad,in part, reflects the
fascination Rosenquist holds for the way people are
constantly bombarded with images, through printed
materials, signs, television, movies, and so on. It
can be distracting and hinder the ability to focus. No
element in Nomad stands out as a focal point of the
composition. This is due to the artistÃs skillful
manipulation of scale, color, and repetition of
shapes such as Xs and Os. Choosing the word
Nomadfor the title might reflect the way our eye
roves around the painting trying to make sense of
the fragmented information that he presents.
Another important factor that influenced the
appearance of Nomad was Rosenquist's earlier
career as a commercial billboard painter. Since
billboards are read very quickly as cars drive by,
there is no need for a lot of detail. Objects must be
large and easily identifiable. Rosenquist became
intrigued by the fact that while painting a billboard,
he could only see a fragment of it at a time. Also,
he realized that even an everyday object could attain
a certain visual power when enlarged.