Book Review: Composing Pictures

Composing Pictures

This is one of those books artists and animators should really check out. This 418-page book collects the art theories and teachings of Don Graham, who was the art instructor for Disney. The book has been out of print for a long time so it's great that it's being reprinted.

There are 35 chapters talking about principles and approaches to creating art. The text is concise, and the principles taught are timeless. Each chapter covers from the basics and complex inner workings of great pictures.

These lessons are accompanied by hundreds of illustrated examples and paintings of great artists from different cultures and styles. Through these examples, you can see the principles as applied by various artists, and the common graphic elements and techniques used.

Basically, with this book, you understand why some pictures work, and why some don't. While watching animation on TV, you'll probably begin to see the reasons why scenes and characters are staged in a particular way.

This is an invaluable book for reference. Highly recommended to artists and animators.

The mark of a great art teacher is indicated by the quality and accomplishment of his students. By this measurement, Don Graham must be considered the finest teacher in America. His students range from people who have won innumerable awards in all fields and all media. … Composing Pictures. Read it. Draw it. Read it for pleasure, for reward, and for understanding. If you want to be an animator, you MUST read and draw this volume. It is not a luxury to you; it is a necessity. - Chuck Jones

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