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"Simplicity leads to clarity." Edward Betts

Nita Leland's Design & Composition Book List

Abbey & Fiero. Art & Geology: Expressive Aspects of the Desert. Gibbs Smith, 1986. Abstract design in nature shown in photographs and paintings.

Arnheim, Rudolph. The Power of the Center: A Study of Composition in the Visual Arts. University of California, 1988. An intelligent approach to problems of design.

Arnheim, Rudolph. Visual Thinking. University of California, 1989. Relationship between perception and abstraction.

Bang, Molly. Picture This: How Pictures Work. Little Brown, 1991. Evokes design awareness in a clever, simple way.

Barratt, Krome. Logic & Design in Art, Science & Mathematics. Lyons, 1994. Interesting technical approach to design.

Becker, David. Watercolor Composition Made Easy. North Light, 1999. Composition ideas that work in all media.

Bevlin, Marjorie. Design Through Discovery: The Elements and Principles. HBJ, 1997. Good examples in fine and applied arts.

Bothwell & Mayfield. Notan: The Dark-Light Principle of Design. Dover, 1991. The interaction between positive and negative space.

Briggs, John Fractals: The Patterns of Chaos: A New Aesthetic of Art, Science, and Nature. Touchstone, 1992. Seeing art in nature by way of science--a fascinating study.

Collier, Graham. Form, Space and Vision: An Introduction to Drawing and Design. Prentice Hall, 1972. Good book for stimulating visual awareness.

Dews, Pat. Creative Composition & Design. A painter's workshop.

Dondis, Donis. A Primer of Visual Literary. MIT, 1974. Learning to see and understand visual data.

Dow, Arthur Wesley. Composition. University of California, 1997. A Series of exercises in art structure for the use of students and teachers.

Dunstan, Bernard. Composing Your Paintings. Watson-Guptill, 1971. A classic book on composition.

Elam, Kimberly. Geometry of Design. Princeton Architectural Press, 2001. Studies in Proportion and Composition. Very helpful in understanding how the Golden Mean works.

Feldman, Edmund Burke. Varieties of Visual Experience. Abrams, 1987. Function of styles, structure & meaning in the visual & applied arts.

Graves, Maitland. The Art of Color and Design. McGraw-Hill, 1951. A classic text still available in the used-book market.

Grillo, Paul Jacques. Form, Function and Design. Dover, 1975. Design in environmental and practical arts.

Hale, Nathan Cabot. Abstraction in Art and Nature. Dover, 1993. Creates awareness of patterns in nature--one of my favorite books.

Hambridge, Jay. The Elements of Dynamic Symmetry. Dover, 1967. Logic and mathematics of the golden mean.

Hanks, Kurt, et al. Design Yourself! Crisp, 1990. Creative design and problem solving.

Harlan, Calvin. Vision and Invention: A Course in Art Fundamentals. Prentice Hall, 1970. A very good basic course.

Henning, Fritz. Concept and Composition: The Basis of Successful Art. North Light, 1983. Solid text, great examples.

Hogbin, Stephen. Appearance & Reality. Cambium, 2000. Fascinating approach to design.

Itten, Johannes. Design and Form: The Basic Course at the Bauhaus and Later. John Wiley, 1975. Interesting examples of student work from the Bauhaus.

Juster, Norman. The Dot & the Line: A Romance in Higher Mathematics. Random House, 1977. Delightful little book with a visual impact--deceptively simple.

Kandinsky, Wassily. Point and Line to Plane. Dover, 1979. Dynamics of non-objective design.

Klee, Paul. Pedagogical Sketchbook. Faber & Faber, 1969. From the dot to the golden section in the simplest of terms.

Koren, Leonard. Wabi Sabi: For Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers. Stonebridge, 1994. Finding beauty in the imperfect.

Lauer & Pentak. Design Basics. HBJ, 1999. An outstanding, comprehensive design text.

Loomis, Andrew. Creative Illustration. Search ABEbooks Viking, 1961. A timeless book for illustrators, very hard to find.

Loomis, Andrew. Eye of the Painter and the Elements of Beauty. Search ABEbooks Viking, 1961. A classic design book, very hard to find.

Loran, Erle. Cézanne's Composition. University of California, 1985. Analysis of his form with diagrams and photographs of Cézanne's motifs.

Mayer, Ralph. The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques. Fifth ed. Viking, 1991. A technical reference all serious artists should be familiar with.

Metzger, Phil. The Artist's Illustrated Encylopedia: Techniques, Materials & Terms. North Light, 2001. A comprehensive reference, lavishly illustrated with contemporary art works, photographs and charts.

Murphy & Neill. By Nature's Design: An Exploratorium Book. Chronicle, 1993. The beauty of patterns in nature's design.

Newman, Rochelle & Donna Fowler. Space, Structure, & Form McGraw Hill, 1996. The golden relationship in art, math and nature: Book 2.

Newman, Rochelle & Martha Boles. The Surface Plane. McGraw Hill, 1996. The golden relationship in art, math and nature: Book 3.

Newman, Rochelle & Martha Boles Universal Patterns. 1993. The golden relationship in art, math and nature: Book 1.

Ocvirk, Stinson, et al. Art Fundamentals: Theory and Practice. McGraw Hill, 1997. Elements of design; fine examples from the history of art.

Palmer, Dennis. Introducing Pattern: Its Development and Application. Watson-Guptill, 1970. Seeing and drawing man-made and natural patterns.

Patterson, Freeman. Photography and the Art of Seeing. Key Porter, 1989. An excellent book on composing from nature.

Pearson, Ralph M. How to See Modern Pictures. Dial Press, 1925. Very accessible explanation of design and dynamic symmetry.

Prohaska, Ray. A Basic Course in Design. North Light, 1980. Introduction to drawing and painting with doable projects.

Ragans, Rosalind. Arttalk. McGraw Hill, 1988. Excellent book on design in fine and practical arts with techniques and projects.

Roberts, Marie MacDonnell. Artist's Design: Probing the Hidden Order. Fradema Press, 1998. Basic principles clearly explained.

Roukes, Nicholas. Art Synectics: Stimulating Creativity in Art. Davis, 1984. Strategies for creative design thinking.

Roukes, Nicholas. Design Synectics: Stimulating Creativity in Design. Davis, 1988. A practical guide to visual thinking, richly illustrated.

Schulzke, Margot. A Painter's Guide to Design and Composition North Light, 2006. 26 Masters reveal their secrets.

Stoops, Jack & Jerry Samuelson. Design Dialogue. Davis, 1990. A visual delight to stimulate design awareness.

Webb, Frank. Strengthen Your Paintings With Dynamic Composition. North Light. Emphasis on the important elements of design.

Whitney, Edgar. Complete Guide to Watercolor Painting. Dover, 2001. Among the top ten in my library. Very strong on design.

Wilde, Judith & Richard. Visual Literacy: A Conceptual Approach to Graphic Problem-Solving. Watson-Guptill, 1991. Packed with visual solutions to hundreds of design problems.

Wong, Wucius. The Principles of Form & Design. John Wiley, 1997. Wong's books are always worth a read.

Wong, Wucius. The Principles of Two-Dimensional Design. John Wiley, 1997. An excellent book on design.

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