Tangents are a real problem in art. They can become an unnecessary focal point that confuses the brain and distracts the viewer from where you want to look.
Click on the definition above!
Maybe in Geometry you have heard of this term...
This doesn't look very exciting until you see this what they look like in real life...
Hey it's Florida's favorite pastime... car accidents!
Mike Tyson makes a tangent wherever Mike Tyson wants!
This is a future lawsuit!
What really happened to the Titanic... too soon?
This is a basic chart of common tangents in art.
Below are some graphic representations of tangents in art. (Special thanks to Chris Schweizer)
See the hat gets lost into the barn.
Parallels especially close ones can be confusing for the viewer.
Beginning a line where one ends can also confuse the viewer.
Get that elbow off my border!
Look at all the lines ending on crease points on the figure!
The hair shouldn't perfectly touch the pole, and neither should the elbow.
Notice the line of umbrella feeds right into the directional line of the hand.
Notice the door cuts the image in half... no bueno (no good.)
Solution: simply overlap the door... no more tangent!
Looks simple, but can be wonderfully complex and avoids tangents.
You can also Underlap objects...
Notice these objects are not touching or overlapping what this does is create tension.
Tension can be a wonderful way to create visual drama.
Now word of caution... sometimes tangents can work. C.F. Payne proved this in his wonderful illustration for the book The Remarkable Farkle McBride.
The butterfly is tangent to the trumpet, but works as a hilarious sound joke.