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, with the big bad wolf lurking in the corner. Notice how clearly the image reads just out of simple forms and few colors. 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.