Composition

a photo of books about picture compositionI'm working on improving my composition skills. I'm taking a class and the instructor suggested Andrew Loomis' book "Creative Illustration". I read this years ago and am re-reading it. There's so much useful information crammed in its pages!

Anyway, I thought I'd share a few other resources I've found helpful for composition. There are TONS of resources out there and these are what I've found so far...

"Creative Illustration" by Andrew Loomis. Chock full of helpful information. Luckily it was republished in 2012

"Picture This: How Pictures Work" by Molly Bang. If you're not keen on classic composition, give this book a try. She approaches some principles of composition in a more hands-on, pictorial way. You'll need some construction paper and a glue stick to experiment with the exercises. I found this worth while.

James Gurney has interesting and informative posts on his blog. He has a series about composition http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2009/09/eye-tracking-and-composition-part-1.html. He mentions "Pictorial Composition: An Introduction" by Henry Rankin Poore (a Dover Publication) which is a more traditional take on composition and then explores eyetracking of pictures through scientific study to test some of the traditional composition "rules". It's a very interesting read!

"Composition: A Series of Exercises in Art Structure for the Use of Students and Teachers" by Arthur Wesley Dow. He covers the idea of Notan and value design. I'd like to revisit this one.

"The Five C's of Cinematography" by Joseph V. Mascelli. I forget where I saw this book suggested, it might have been James Gurney's blog. It's a helpful, different way to look at composing a picture. I haven't finished reading the book yet but what I have read was useful - thinking about where my "camera" is within or outside the scene.

Stapleton Kearns, a professional landscape painter, suggested this book, "Composition of Outdoor Painting" by Edgar Payne. I borrowed it from the library and made my way through a good chunk of it before it was due. What I read I found very helpful and insightful, especially the parts regarding choosing what you want to emphasize in your picture instead of trying to record nature as it is. Mr. Kearns also has an interesting art blog.

If you have other resources you've found useful, please post them in the comments. I'd love to know about them.

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