Art Book Review: Picture this – How Pictures work

Molly Bang; Picture this – How Pictures Work

Picture This – How Pictures work written by Molly Bang was recommended to me recently. I was a little skeptical when I first saw the book because of the overt simplicity of the illustrations on front and back cover, however as soon as I began reading I was drawn in.

Molly Bang uses the classic fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood to take us through the very elementary basis of how exactly pictures work. The cover illustration is of Little Red Riding Hood in the woods, wit the big bad wolf lurking in the corner. Notice how clearly the image reads just out of simple forms and few colours. Molly answers questions such as why triangles make us feel stable, or why diagonal lines give a sense of tension, what the effects are of placing an object in the upper or lower corner of an image and so forth, all why proving her point every time with creative, simple but extremely efficient illustrations that are made of simple shapes cut out of colored paper.

She gives us a list of 10 principles of how pictures work along with explanations of why. A few examples of the principles to give you an idea.
1. Smooth, flat, horizontal shapes give us a sense of stability and calm.
2. Vertical shapes are more exciting and more active. Vertical shapes rebel against earth’s gravity. They imply energy and a reaching toward height or the heavens.
3. Diagonal shapes are dynamic because they imply motion or tension

For people in the field of art making this book is a must read. I strongly recommend it. You can purchase it really cheap of Amazon and I bet you the knowledge you will pick up from this book, will improve your artwork no matter what style or material you are working in.

Links:
Molly Bang’s Website
Molly Bang on Picture This
Picture This – How Pictures Work on Amazon.com
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Kiri Østergaard Leonard
kiri@kirileonard.com

Award winning Illustrator, Artist and Creator Kiri Østergaard Leonard happily shares her experiences making a living as an artist and pursuing a creative life. She grew up in a tiny village in Denmark, left her country behind to pursue art in the bustle of New York City and now resides in the delightful weirdness of Austin, Texas surrounded by sunshine and felines.

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