For example, does the artist use harsh lines or soft lines? Are the colors bright or muted?
Focus on the design elements that you feel are most strongly represented in that particular work of art.
And if you don't know where to begin, take note of where your eye goes first.
Then describe things in the order in which your eye moves around the work.
This will help you understand how one part relates to another, the interaction between the different parts of the work. OK?
This kind of analysis should occur throughout the main portion of the paper.
In the last section of your paper, and this goes beyond formal analysis, you comment on the significance of what you've seen, what details of the work convey meaning.
Some significant details will not be apparent to you right away, but if you look long enough, you realize how important they are for your interpretation of the work.
Many years ago, I was writing a formal analysis of a painting of a little boy.
In the painting, a little boy was standing in his nursery and he was holding a toy bird in his hand.
And there were more toys around him in the background of the painting.
Because of the bird he was holding, I assumed at first that the painting was about the innocence of children.
But as I looked at the painting longer, I realized that the boy's eyes look sad even though there was no discernable expression on his face.
And then it dawned on me that even though he was surrounded by toys, he was all alone in his nursery.
The boy's eyes were a significant detail in the painting that I didn't notice at first.