composingpictures composingpictures

Don Graham’s “Composing Pictures” is Reprinted

Composing Pictures

I don’t know how this news passed me by, but Don Graham‘s classic book about composition called Composing Pictures is back in print for the first time in nearly thirty years! Graham played a key role in the development of character animation when he headed up the Disney studio’s legendary in-house artist training program during the 1930s.

This endorsement from Chuck Jones is about the finest one somebody could get:

The mark of a great art teacher is indicated by the quality and accomplishment of his students. By this measurement, Don Graham must be considered the finest teacher in America. His students range from people who have won innumerable awards in all fields and all media. … Composing Pictures. Read it. Draw it. Read it for pleasure, for reward, and for understanding. If you want to be an animator, you MUST read and draw this volume. It is not a luxury to you; it is a necessity.

Order Composing Pictures on Amazon for $30.

(Thanks, Tom Knott)

  • This is a big deal ! Up until now, you couldn’t find this book to save your life ! I’m hoping it’s grabbed up as a textbook by smart course planners. . . get it !

    • Brooke Keesling

      I’m listening to you, J.J. (for once- ha!).

  • Tom

    Bought a used copy of this last year. Really intense and in-depth book. For 30 bucks, you cant go wrong.

  • Ron

    I just ordered one! I’ve wanted that book ever since I read about Don in Shamus Culhane’s book “Talking Animals and Other people”. He credits Don Graham above all others as the reason he became a success at Disney back in the day.

  • Yes, I just saw that at the Con too. It’s great news.

    FYI: the editor of the reprint edition, Gwen Feldman, was a student of Graham’s at Chouinard, and of the legendary Bill Moore (in fact she was in the last Chouinard graduating class before the move to “Calarts” in I think 1971). She wanted to reprint it for years now but couldn’t locate Graham’s estate for permission. I guess she found it.

    Incidentally some time ago Gwen also went to a lot of effort to reprint one of the all-time holy grails of film books: “The 5 C’s of Cinematography” which before her reprint sold for hundreds of dollars-if you could find it-much like the Graham book.

    Gwen/Silman-James also published Eric Goldberg’s excellent animation tome recently.

  • Why do books like this that are trying to teach composition, etc always have the worst composed images on their covers? I wish I could think of an example, but this isn’t the first I’ve seen.

    But that won’t stop me from buying it. Sounds great!

  • Paul N

    A friend of mine gave me a copy of this about 12 years ago; he found a small stash in a remainder bookstore. It’s one of the most prized volumes in my library, and I’ll be grabbing a new copy too.

  • ECJ

    Yes! Now I can get rid of the crappy xeroxes I made in the LA central Library.

  • Jorge Garrido

    Jenny: I got that cinematography book at the library and it was GREAT! I wasn’t aware it was being reprinted, though. Now I wanna buy one! Thanks!

  • Amazing price for this essential reading.

  • As of Saturday July 31, 2010 is showing the books as “temporarily out-of-stock”.

    That didn’t take long.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Sucks I had to rely on some outside seller there for a copy that is said to arrive to me a day before my birthday next month (still quite a long time to wait).

    • Paul N

      I ordered it anyway, and got an email from Amazon today saying that it’ll be here by the end of August at the latest. Considering how long it’s been out of print, that ain’t too bad :0)

  • Shmorky

    this is a good book, get it.

  • I’d imagine the book is shown as “out of stock” at Amazon due to Silman-James being a relatively smaller press that ships and fullfills Amazon orders on as as-needed basis. It is certainly available and can also be ordered on the Silman-James Press website, which is here:

    Mind you, I don’t get a cut of this-even if I do sound like a press agent!