Composition for Artists -
Above: A scene from Jim Wodark's video workshop, "Composition for Painters" (preview below)

We asked, and you answered! In this roundup, we’re sharing your favorite composition books for artists.

  1. “Composition of Outdoor Painting” by Edgar Payne
  2. “Composition: A Series of Exercises in Art Structure for the Use of Students and Teachers” by Arthur Wesley Dow
  3. “Picture This: How Pictures Work” by Molly Bang
  4. “Landscape Painting Inside and Out” by Kevin Macpherson
  5. “Conversations in Paint” by Charles Dunn
  6. “Mastering Composition” by Ian Roberts

Did we miss one of your favorite composition book? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Related Article > Creating Powerful Compositions, and More, with Mark Fehlman

Jim Wodark says that painting your canvas with color before nailing the composition is like trying to spread pretty frosting on a half-baked cake. No matter how good the frosting is, the cake isn’t going to hold up … and you won’t be satisfied with the outcome.

In the powerful video “Composition for Painters,” Jim proves that the answer to “What makes a good painting good?” is great composition. It’s what high-level artists know and use to make their paintings rise above the rest. Suddenly things will start feeling right, all because you understand these composition principles.

Preview “Composition for Painters” here:

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  1. Ha ha ha, I thought you meant different composition books for art journaling, as in notebooks, you know, like in the photo at the top. It took a while to switch my thoughts. Your actual article is really great, too!

  2. Notan: The Dark Light Principle of Design by Bothwell and Mayfield. An older book, but good for anyone who liked Arthur Wesley Dow’s Composition book.


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