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How to Learn Composition – Draftsmen S2E15

July 28, 20202 Comments

Composition is technical, creative, and incredibly subjective. Marshall teaches us how to learn composition and suggests artists and resources that will help you learn more about it. Marshall talks about breaking apart master paintings to learn how to compose, focal points, contrasts, metaphors, harmonic armatures like the golden ratio, among many other things. Marshall has years of experience teaching this subject so there’s a lot to absorb and be inspired by when it comes to composition.

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References and books

(some contain affiliate links)

Steelyard Composition blogpost
Edgar Payne: Composition of Outdoor Painting
The Elements of Dynamic Symmetry by Jay Hambidge
Pattern and Design with Dynamic Symmetry by Edward B. Edwards
Drawing Lessons From the Great Masters by Robert Beverly Hale
Picture This by Molly Bang
Framed Ink by Marcos Mateu-Mestre

Referenced Artists:

Erik Gist

erik gist drawings

Golden Ratio Mean

golden ratio mean

Myron Barnstone

myron barnstone class


rembrandt paintings

John Constable

john constable yarmouth pier paintings

Norman Rockwell

norman rockwell artwork

Hogarth’s hand proportions guideline

hogarth hand proportions guideline

Alphonse Mucha

alphonse mucha artwork

Frank Frazetta

frank frazetta painting

Francisco Goya

francisco goya artwork

Howard Pyle

howard pyle artwork

Rachel Morales’ tonal studies (2 tone and 3 tone)

rachel morales tonal studies

Jessica Nguyen’s tonal studies of Harvey Dunn and Howard Pyle

jessica nguyens tonal studies

John Singer Sargent

john singer sargent painting

Winslow Homer

winslow homer painting

Käthe Kollwitz

käthe kollwitz artwork

Frank Brangwyn

frank brangwyn artwork

Harvey Dunn

harvey dunn artwork

Gustave Doré

gustave doré artwork

Edgar Degas

edgar degas artwork

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

jean baptiste camille corot painting

Steve Shriver

steve shriver artwork

NC Wyeth

nc wyeth artwork

Wayne Thiebaud

wayne thiebaud artwork

H.R. Giger

hr giger artwork

Joe Madureira

joe madureira comic

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Comments (2)

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  1. Mark Morden says:

    The golden mean is timeless because it is pervasive in nature. It’s not some random ratio that people think it looks good. C’mon.

  2. James says:

    Hi Stan

    While I really enjoyed some of the comments in this video, if you and your guest feel that “harmonic armatures” are overrated, you really aren’t teaching composition. I would suggest reading the book Classical Painting Atelier by Juliette Aristides to give a bit more insight into this topic.


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