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Use natural materials like sand, dirt, shells, or branches. - I've always been a naturalist and love being in nature so, for me this concept automatically draws me in. I will definitely experiment with this.
Mind you, if you're a Drawing student and you learn how to perceive negative-space, and you take into consideration your format (maybe by using a viewfinder) these will come naturally. But remember "Form follows function," and good design should 1) Capture attention 2) Hold attention and 3) Direct Attention and your compositions will have impact and be effective.