Good books on Composition, Suggestion?
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  1. #1
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    Good books on Composition, Suggestion?

    Hey everyone,

    I've just read Loomis book Creative Illustration and found it overwhelmingly useful. Although i have just read the first half of the book, it already gave me many answers i have been looking for, which escaped me for all this time in hours of staring at my work wondering what is wrong in it.

    I have to admit i am a novice so bad in composition and this Loomis book is the first i read about composition and illustration principles. The latter of course as the evidence of the former. I have just realized how much i learn about rendering and other things and it is all as useless like sharpening a blade and swinging it around in directions without composition.

    This book is so great to me that it make me feel like it is all i need, but then i start thinking there must be some other great books out there about composition. Not that i doubt Loomis or think he missed some things, but a great book may it be, i feel that it can not be the end all and be all. I am sure that there other books out there that can complement it.

    It will be wise to finish this book first and be able to truly put it into practice before asking for suggestions, but i guess asking will not hurt. So i kindly ask your suggestions for good books on compositions. Or if anyone want to review or point at some important things about Loomis' Creative Illustration.

    Thanks.

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    Composition by Arthur Wesley Dow
    Arguably the best book on composition IMO.

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    Picture this by Molly Bang is really nice. Itīs very informative.

    These are not books but be sure to check out Jason Manleyīs video downloads on composition.

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    I second the Picture This recommendation. It's a fantastic book.

    Jack Hamm's Drawing Scenery has quite a bit on compositional principles in the beginning.

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    Mastering Composition by Ian Roberts has been very helpful to me.

    Last edited by jgwong; September 13th, 2010 at 05:41 PM. Reason: Wrong link's bbcode
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    Composition by Arthur Wesley Dow
    Arguably the best book on composition IMO.
    this the entire book? If so, thank you... *checks*

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    http://www.animationarchive.org/2006...mposition.html

    Top half is lots of links to John K, bottom half is scans from an old-school book, very nice and clear.

    Edit: Just a little rant here: I've actually been researching composition myself for a few days, and it dawned me as to why- it was never emphasized or explained formally throughout my education (neither were the fine points of perspective). I'm a little miffed about that these days. Just had to get that out.

    Last edited by John Q Lethargic; September 14th, 2010 at 11:38 AM.
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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    My opinion:

    None of the greatest composers in the visual arts have written down what they knew in any depth whatsoever.

    Most often, books are written by:

    Intelligent amateurs guessing.

    Weak artists repeating as much of their education as they were able to use in their work while giving lip service reference to ideas they can't explain but feel they should pretend to understand.

    Damn good artists laying out the basics for a mass audience (Edgar Payne, Andrew Loomis, Jim Gurney) .

    The only books I've ever seen that get into advanced composition in any degree are the Famous Artist course books, particularly the advanced ones, which are nearly impossible to find and are expensive as heck.

    Most books that purport to be about composition, are actually about design. That the vast majority of art books share the confusion of design and composition only serves to highlight the sorry state of the arts, the mediocrity of most education, and the charlatanism of most books that purport to contain knowledge. (Indict-y, ain't I?)

    For all intents and purposes, the vast majority of knowledge about composition resides in the great compositions themselves and nowhere else. Therefore, great compositions should be your main source of study. IMHO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    Most books that purport to be about composition, are actually about design. That the vast majority of art books share the confusion of design and composition only serves to highlight the sorry state of the arts, the mediocrity of most education, and the charlatanism of most books that purport to contain knowledge. (Indict-y, ain't I?)
    I think that this is a point that needs to be emphasized. Design is an important part of composition, but not the whole thing, at least not when you're dealing with anything representational. Then, the abstract design has to be coupled with the narrative content. When you have pictures of things, you have to take into account that people are more interested in some sorts of things than in others. The work Jim Gurney has been doing with eye tracking is an important demonstration of this. One of the reasons I recommend Molly Bang's book as an intro to composition is that she starts straight in with storytelling, showing how the abstract elements work in context.


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    Speaking of eye-tracking, I seem to vaguely recall that someone was developing or had developed a way for people to navigate an interface via eye-tracking (for people who are paralyzed, that sort of thing.) Wish I could remember what that was, or if I imagined it...

    I'm pretty sure some types of software testing use eye-tracking as well, for testing usability - though in that case eye-tracking would be considered in combination with other factors such as observing where users move the mouse, when/where/how fast they click, etc.

    But back on topic, I've always thought a great way to soak up good composition for storytelling purposes is to watch movies and pay attention to how the shots are composed. Are there any books on filmmaking that would be useful for learning composition, maybe?

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    http://www.artrenewal.org/articles/2...on-MJAngel.pdf

    Here is the first chapter from Michael John Angel's upcoming book Pictorial Composition. I e-mailed him and he said it is "still very much a work-in-progress". If the rest of the material is a good as this first chapter, I must have this book when it comes out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    But back on topic, I've always thought a great way to soak up good composition for storytelling purposes is to watch movies and pay attention to how the shots are composed. Are there any books on filmmaking that would be useful for learning composition, maybe?
    I know a handful of Sequential Art courses require The 5 C's of Cinematography.



    Last edited by Psychotime; September 14th, 2010 at 02:47 PM.
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