Category Archives: Books on Design

4 Great Books on Design and Composition

I read that artist and teacher Edward Betts studied under an instructor who declared that composition accounts for 90% of a painting’s success. That’s quite a statement, isn’t it? Whether you agree or not with the actual percentage, it certainly is something worth thinking about! 

Here are 4 of my favorite books on composition and design:

Design and Composition by Nathan Goldstein……….This book addresses many composition issues directly; the ways we might organize a visual language, the vocabulary of art: shape, value, color, line, and texture into a lucid and cohesive whole so that we can express ourselves in clearer, more powerful ways. 

Art Fundamentals by Ocvirk, Stinson, Wigg, Bone………. Another extensive look into the vocabulary of art; shape, value, color, line, and texture. Also included is an interesting chapter on content and style. 

Composition by David Friend……….This is an oldie but goodie, out of print but available from used book venues. David Friend emphasizes the fact that composition is all about creating relationships in the rectangle; relationships of shapes, light and dark values, positive and negative space, and color, line and texture.   

The Artists’ Design by Marie Mac Donnell Roberts……….This book begins by stating that art postulates strictures and limits, and those limits must be set by the artist according to his vision of reality. The limits are his organization through the design of his composition. 

Bye for now……Donna