Book Review: Molly Bang's Picture This: Perception and Composition
by Sarah Ganly
Molly Bang's book covers many of the basic ideas involved in creating an aesthetically pleasing work of art. The ideas presented in this book involve the use of shape, color, composition, depth, size, negative and positive space. It also examines in detail the communication and association of emotion through visual work.
The author of this book has written and illustrated many books for young readers, and is knowledgeable of the use of visual imagery to convey ideas and concepts. The author has also taken art classes, taught children art, and researched the connection between psychology and art. (Bang, 1991) I believe that this author has a very sufficient background for writing this book, and I believe her background helps make this book readable and comprehensive.
I believe that this book may be intended for a younger audience because the author writes for younger audiences, but I think that this book is useful to anyone trying to understand the basic concepts of artistic composition and picture structure.
I feel that this book has been very helpful to me, and I am really interested in the ideas it presents about the connection between emotion and visual imagery. I also enjoyed the author's ideas about the use of lines and shapes, and how these tools effect the observer's emotions and reactions to a picture. This book illustrates its ideas vividly by showing the use of jagged lines and explaining that it invokes fear and anxiety (Bang, 1991). Bang also helps examine the use of color to produce emotions; an example of this is the use red eyes for a scary wolf as opposed to white eyes. The white eyes produce a much more intimidating effect. I believe this book has also been useful to me because it helped me learn some of the basic ideas of composition and the correct terms associated with them.
The ideas in this book about art composition in the book are presented in a format that tells the story of "Little Red Riding Hood." I enjoyed the use of story to demonstrate these ideas, and I felt that it helped to get the reader involved. I feel the use of a fairytale also helps the reader to become comfortable learning something they may not already be familiar with. The simple use of construction paper to create the illustrations is also inspiring. This book is great because it is simple enough to convey the ideas of the author while not being confusing or distracting from the content provided.