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8:51 PM, Monday July 18th 2022

You're welcome, Rhyldur.

Regarding the Schoolism course, it may be possible to pay for a one or two month subscription without committing long-term; that's what I did; two months cost me $85 CAD back in the summer of 2020. They said they wouldn't be able to accept individual monthly subscriptions frequently or regularly because it requires higher administrative costs for them, but a one-time payment was permitted. During my two-months' subscription, I used most of my time for Carcamo's Watercolour Fundamentals course, and in my remaining two weeks I took Fowkes' Pictorial Composition course; I'd really like to take his composition course again at a slower pace: truly enlightening stuff. I took very detailed notes and many screenshots (with permission) for my own reference.

Feel free to ask me to further elaborate on anything I said that you didn't understand.

10:57 PM, Wednesday July 20th 2022

Well, I'm in quite a complicated economical situation right now so I would only be able to afford 1 month even saving money here and there. For now I´ll spend some of my savings in official reviews here at Drawabox but I won't discard any paid courses in the future if things go a bit better.

I was wondering if you somehow know any free resources on basic composition for example since I see you have a great grip on it.

I won't bother you much more, Nathan! I don't usually reach out to people who know as much as you on any art subject so you have been a very valuable source of information and guidance.

Thank you so much again.

11:09 PM, Friday July 22nd 2022
edited at 5:34 PM, Aug 19th 2022

You're welcome, Rhyldur. You've been no bother at all. As Jesus said (though in a different context), "Freely you have received, freely give." I've learned so much through free instruction, mostly on YouTube; so I'm happy to share what I've learned.

I think of myself as having a very light grip on composition ;) There's so much to learn. I mostly took the free route for initially learning composition. Fowkes' course definitely upped my game, but there is quite a bit of decent free information online.

WARNING: there is a lot of information (often contradicting) about composition available online. I've tried to list the sources in rough order of what made the biggest impact/impression on me. I've not watched every video here, but I am familiar with each artist enough to recommend them. Remember, too much head knowledge without application isn't usually healthy (in any area of learning). Try to put what you learn into practice as soon as possible before taking in more information.

Free Internet Resources on Composition:

Nathan Fowkes has some free content about composition on YouTube

The Core with Nathan Fowkes, Part 1: Pictorial Composition

The (Not) Rules of Portrait Composition

Composition conversations with artist Nathan Fowkes.


The Draftsmen podcast/channel on YouTube has at least one episode dedicated to composition; Marshall Vandruff is very knowledgeable about composition and often has great advice to contribute; Stan Prokopenko has good advice too, but Marshall has more experience; they have rather different backgrounds as artists and each offer a valuable perspective; they balance each other nicely.

How to Learn Composition - Draftsmen S2E15

What Are The Fundamentals? Draftsmen S1E04 (not strictly a composition episode, but they touch on how it fits into the rest of the art fundamentals)

From Rocket Scientist to Professional Artist (ft. Jama Jurabaev) - Draftsmen S2E33 (Jama Jurabaev is a past student of Marshall's and has some stunning work.)

???? How To Nail Composition with Bill Perkins

How to Create a Composition From Imagination with Glenn Vilppu (this guy just spews artistic wisdom constantly; he's a great figure-drawing instructor)

There Are No Rules, Just Tools (Draftsmen talk about Glenn Vilpuu's advice)

Composition and Lighting, with SPECIAL GUEST Visual Development Artist Michael Spooner! (two veteran pros chatting about composition; both blew my mind)

James Gurney on Composition (composition on the Gurney Journey blog)

Feng Zhu on composition (Feng has tons of free, valuable drawing instruction)

Design Cinema - Episode 104 - Environmental Composition

Design Cinema - EP 78 - Environmental Thumbnails

Design Cinema – EP 89 - Just Draw! (I love this episode so much!)

Merging Shapes - 10 Minutes To Better Painting - Episode 1 (Marco Bucci is another treasure trove of artistic advice)

Secrets of Thumbnail Drawing (Real-time) (Trent Kaniuga has a lot of good art advice)

Sketch with Peter Han (Peter Han is really good and teaches a bit on YouTube)

How to Draw Tips | What are thumbnail sketches? How to use them (Alphonso Dunn has some good art advice)

COMPOSITION 1 - Understanding Shapes (Modern Day James has a lot of interesting content)

Kim Jung Gi gives a bit of drawing advice and instruction; one can learn much from watching him draw; I find his skill really inspiring and something to aim for (WARNING: he sometimes/frequently draws extremely inappropriate stuff; so I don't endorse all his stuff, but man is he ever good.)

Composition and Storytelling with Kim Jung Gi

Interview & Demonstration with Kim Jung Gi

While I don't find Aaron Blaise's composition advice to be very strong/helpful, he's got a lot of other great art advice, especially when it comes to drawing animals; I will say though, that he composes very well intuitively after decades of creating on a highly professional level; I just don't find that he communicates too strongly in this area.

Aaron's Art Tips (Season 1)

More Art Inspiration:

If you haven't seen Syd Mead's art, you're missing out ;) -- wild, futuristic concept art with stunning compositions.

Joseph Clement Coll has absolutely amazing compositions in his ink work -- so much energy. Image 1 Image 2

Pete Beard's YouTube channel will open you up to new worlds of art and composition.

Bobby Chiu's interview with Heri Irawan -- if you're struggling economically, this guy may inspire you. Bobby has tons of really interesting artist interviews; listening to other artists talk about their lives is a bit like reading biographies; you can learn something from everyone.

A useful exercise is to try to break down other people's compositions as studies; just do little 1x2 inch thumbnail copies (or go up to 3.5x5 inches); try to study how they structure the values (i.e. scale from light to dark) and the colours. What kinds of contrast do they use? How do they focus/move the viewer's eye? etc.

A simple YouTube search for "composition" by itself or with an artist's name will yield many useful results. These are some of the most influential free resources I could recall from 2.5 years of drawing. I know it's a ton of information; please don't go crazy and burn out; just pick one resource to start (whatever catches your eye) and spend some time on it; pace yourself. Don't try to consume this waterfall as fast as possible, but do drink deeply to your satisfaction. I'd recommend visiting this list from time to time when you're wanting to up your composition game. Composition obviously isn't all there is to know about art, but it's a really valuable skill, and as Nathan Fowkes' says, possibly the most important skill an artist can possess.

edited at 5:34 PM, Aug 19th 2022
10:24 PM, Tuesday July 26th 2022

Well Nathan, I had high expectatives about you but you have exceeded them for sure!! Much in the same way as you did (which I really enjoyed), Jesus also said "Give, and it will be given to you.". So I really hope you receive whatever you are looking for because you really gave me a lot of useful information.

I'm going to spend the time it is needed to find a way of saving all this info in another place. Several names rang quite a lot of bells.

To be honest I got quite into drawing because of Marshall and Stan Draftsmen podcasts and I have a nice light grip on perspective thanks to Marshall. And well, what can I say about Marco Bucci, Alphonso Dunn, James Gurney or the great Kim Jung Gi. I recently watched Trent Kaniuga last video a day or two ago about compensating the lack of talent with hard work and persistence (much in the line of Bucci too). Also I have had some little sneak peeks into Peter Beard's channel since I've always felt some attraction into propaganda art throughout History (bad habits from an historian myself).

I asked you about composition because I've had quite a hard time trying to find the needle in the overwhelming haystack of internet so I can't thank you enough this list you made with every little comment and note you wrote. Also I have some info ready to study about every drawing fundamentals aside composition so I was lacking.

The only thing about composition I have made since I started my drawing journey 8-9 months ago is plain but thorough observation trying to answer questions like the ones you asked on the example of exercise you suggested before.

Have no doubt I won't binge on it but I do have some spare time (just a day or two of changing the subject) now that I finished lesson 2, so I think I'll jump in straight into Nathan Fowkes content you shared. I'm really surprised how I did not run into him or his channel before and due to your recommendations I'm incredibly curious!

I'll do drink deeply to my satisfaction and to your health from this list. I'm really and incredibly thankful on the time and work you put into this mindful and carefully picked selection of useful content. Hope I can return you this gift of learning someday in the future. From the bottom of my heart, thank you Nathan!

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