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Design & Composition Secrets of Professsional Artists: 16 Successful Painters Show How They Create Prize-Winning Work Paperback – May, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: North Light Books; 1St Edition edition (May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1929834098
  • ISBN-13: 978-1929834099
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 8.2 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,237,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

A very useful and informative text.
pablo
Regardless of what style of painting you do, good composition and design is the foundation of a successful painting.
Amazon Customer
I viewed this book in my art class and fell for it.
Nancy Gunzelmann

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 13, 2001
If you only ever get one book on composition it has to be this one! Composition is such an important tool for any artist; it can make or break a painting. Regardless of what style of painting you do, good composition and design is the foundation of a successful painting. And yet this is a subject that doesn't get taught in art schools and books on the subject are few and far between and often very dry and technical.
Design and Composition Secrets really does change all that. It's a fascinating read, fabulously illustrated throughout and full of great tips and techniques. I highly recommend it to anyone trying to learn more about composition. It has really improved my painting and has given me so many ideas. It's the kind of book you'll be using for years.
It takes 16 different artists, with very different styles and allows each of them a chapter to explain their own approach to composition, using plenty of examples of their work and finishing with a gallery of the artists paintings complete with a compositional analysis.
The result is a set of essays that come at the subject from many different angles. Donna Baspaly's fabulous layered multi media paintings demonstrate her philosophical approach, her emphasis on structure, shape and the use of checklists to keep on track during painting. Robert Bateman loves abstract qualities and shares his cut out composition tactic along with his stunning wildlife paintings. Don Farrell looks for rhythm and harmony, shape relationships and connections and divisions. Tom Huntley shares his 5 point plan and his wonderful sense of colour and Myfanwy Pavelic never consciously thinks about design or composition at all, her approach is based on intuition.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 11, 2001
This book certainly lives up to it title in providing many different perspectives when looking at design and composition. Perhaps a prior knowledge of design and composition would be an advantage in order to understand some of the interpretations when some artists refer to "rightness", their intuition and their sense of rhythm and harmony. The book is full of colourful paintings, pencil sketches showing line, shape and values. There is certainly plenty of variety, both in the style of painting and the method for the composition and design. There do not seem to be many books on the market in this area and I am sure this book will provide plenty of ideas and perhaps a new way of looking at problems in this area. I have just one grumble and that is so many art books are 127/128 pages long and it is always great when you come across books that have been exceedingly generous with number of pages but this book is the usual 127 pages long.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 9, 2003
I found this book very disappointing. It's more a showcase for not very good painters than a useful source of information on composition techniques. I did not recognize any of the names from the fine work I've seen in the International Artist's magazine but rather ordinary & mediocre examples. Explanations were wordy & dogmatic rather than visually instructive.The material is not organized in any formal manner for a subject such as this...Generally disappointing in every respect.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By T. Campbell on August 25, 2009
While I wouldn't go so far as to assert that this book is the only on one need consult on such matters, the reader's being exposed in one place to sixteen differing approaches to the design and composition of images is interesting, enlightening, and useful. Several artists are quite articulate in how they incorporate structural and tonal plans into their work. Others start from a much more nebulous, amorphous putting on of paint and allow an idea to emerge.

It doesn't take much of a structure for a skilled artist to create an engaging, impactful image. But it is clear that thorough knowledge of design and strong discipline are not constraints, but tools that enhance these artists' creativity and ability to produce strong images. None of these people would characterize their image making along the lines of "I'm OK, You're OK." They are all highly trained. They show that knowledge enhances their ability to create and communicate "feeling" or "meaning." Lack of this knowledge increases the slop factor.

I beg to differ with the reviewer who characterized these artists as mediocre or unknown. Most of them have some connection with having been trained in Canada. Anyone who spent time in Kenya, Tanzania, or Uganda in the 1960s or 1970s of follows wildlife art knows of Robert Bateman. The others, while not known to this reviewer, are clearly not schlock artists or johnny come latelies. The examples in their articles in this book indicate production and accomplishment of a high order.

I have spent some time looking into what has been published on the image design/composition problem. Among painting books, this one is one of the more informative and useful for exposing so many strategies in one volume. For photographers, seeing how painting artists, several of whom work occassionally from photographs, use structure and tonal plans in their images can enhance one's own ability to see and use structure and tone in potential images.
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By Jane Woodard on April 16, 2014
Verified Purchase
This was used as our classroom text book. I have only read the parts which were assigned to us by our instructor. I might like it better if I read it under less stressful circumstances.
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