“Mastering Composition” by artist Ian Roberts is another of my favorite art books. I came across this book early on in my painting and really wasn’t ready at that time to “hear” some of the great things he talks about in this book. It is one of those that I go back to time and again to read and remind myself of how important design really is in a painting.
The book is well organized, which always makes me happy! The chapter titles include: “Armatures (which Ian describes as the shapes that determine the overall movement through the painting), “Abstract Masses:Cropping and Framing”, “Color Shapes”, Guiding the Eye Through the Picture Plane”, “Gallery of Greats”, and Expressing Your Artistic Voice.” The pages are full of demonstrations and illustrations included by Ian to explain the concepts visually, which for an art book, is always helpful! I can literally just open up the book and start reading almost anywhere and feel like I got my money’s worth on this book. As with workshops and other books, some of the things you have heard or seen before, but his explanations are so well done that sometimes I understand a concept better after reading his explanation and seeing his visual examples and demonstrations.
The book also comes with a 40 minute instructional DVD included in the back of the book. This DVD has examples of Ian’s paintings where he expands and puts into practice the concepts he introduces in the book. It is great practice for the artist/viewer and it makes transferring the concepts to your own work even easier after viewing these examples.
As an artist, this book is a great tool for help with designing a painting before picking up a brush. So many times, we get excited to paint and ignore these concepts. This book is a great reminder and one that is an asset to any artist’s collection.
Ian also has a website which you can view here: Ian Roberts.