In my Illustration 1 class, we covered a cool compositional tool called Informal Subdivision, which was a tool devised by Andrew Loomis, and of which I learned from Kali Ciesemier’s awesome blog.
In essence, you create a random grid of horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines, and force yourself to make a composition within those constraints.
It makes you adhere to larger shapes and utilize certain hot spots within the page as your main areas of focus. It also makes a lot of your compositional decision making for you, which results in some solutions you wouldn’t have thought of (that was my primary motivating factor for showing it to my class; an oft-repeated student mistake is to thumbnail for the sake of thumbnailing, and not actually explore potential compositions fully.)
I drew alongside with them real quickly, and came up with some weird, wonky stuff.