How to Arrange A Bunch of Rectangles in a Tidy Way

And here's the family version. It is tricky, fitting those rectangles together. It makes me very agitated to see rectangles not line up properly. I actually learned to do this way back in high school, when I did my Art "A-levels". For those of you familiar with the British system of schooling, you'll know it's like doing Hogwart's NEWTs (Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests). OWLs (Ordinary Wizarding Levels) are the equivalent of "O-levels" which are done after 5th year of secondary school (middle+high) and "A-levels" are done after 7th year. FYI we had "houses" too, like Griffindor etc. I was in Hillary; we were named after explorers.

Anyways, when I did art A-levels, we had to do 2 months of prep - sketches, explorations of composition, experimentation of materials, and then present all those works (maybe 20 or so) on 2 standard sized poster boards. The final exam was to spend 20 hours (over 4 or 5 days) creating the grand finale piece, a cumulation of all that research.

And now I am digressing far from my original point, but what the heck here's my final piece. My preparatory sketches consisted of realistic drawings in color pencil and pencil of the different components, then trials in abstraction. This is in color pencil. My art teacher back then said I should pursue art as a career. I said Nah I'm Going to Be A Biologist (I also did Biology A-levels). Look what happened.

So! Those 20 sketches had to be neatly arranged and pasted onto poster boards. This is when I first learned to line up rectangles. To achieve a tidy look, make sure the outer edge of all your rectangles (ie, those edges closest to the border of the poster) line up to create a big rectangle. This creates an illusion of a frame enclosing all the images. Ideally, the gaps between the rectangles should be of equal width. It takes some puzzling, and it makes it easier if you have more images than will actually fit in your rectangle, so you have choices and don't have to force things or crop stuff weirdly to make it fit. I only had to crop one pic; that in the bottom left. All the others have the same ratio of width to height. This composition has the added challenge of balancing color with non-color pics, close-ups with not-so-close-up, and candid and non-candid.