Art Composition Tools Reviews

I am only reviewing art composition tools that I actually own and recommend.

You are not obligated to buy but if you do from this page, I may earn a small commission which is always helpful to running this site. 🙂


Product: The Color Wheel Artist’s View Catcher

Price: Under $10

Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon (especially if you have Prime)

Size: 6 x 0.1 x 4 inches

Weight: 5.6 ounces

My Rating: 9 out of 10


I was really happy when my husband surprised me with this many years ago because I hadn’t had what felt like an “official” art composition tool to help me in my personal journey. It’s pretty simply and straightforward.

It’s made out of a nice, sturdy plastic.

You can adjust the size according to your paper or canvas by shifting it towards the number dimensions that are printed on the surface.

It’s small, so it tucks away within your art supplies very easily. I have seen people lugging around large pieces of L-shaped cardboard that does the same thing that this little tool does. The only difference besides the actual size of the View Catcher is that you can adjust to the size you want, such as 8″ x 10″ or 11″ x 14″ or 9″ x 12″. That doesn’t always come quite as easily with the pieces of loose cardboard.


You are limited to three size adjustments. This doesn’t bother me but some people like to be able to have more size options.

The corners of the actual created view are very slightly rounded. Again, this isn’t a major issue but it’s kind of irritating because it’s not an absolutely perfect rectangle like your paper or canvas would be. That’s the main reason my rating is only 9 out of 10.

In conclusion…

I think this is a great addition to my art supplies. If you are a beginner or do a lot of plein air, you might want to consider having something like this. It’s small, it’s simple and it helps create a great composition.

Product: Mastering Composition by Ian Roberts

Price: Under $30 (Hardcover)

Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon (especially if you have Prime)

My Rating: 10 out of 10

I absolutely love this book. It was the first real instruction I felt I have ever gotten on art composition – way more than in school! In this hardcover gem, Mr. Roberts covers what feels like everything when it comes to constructing a painting. He mentions a few things I already knew about values and creating entrances, etc…But there are so many examples and sketches that he gives to illustrate the ways in which it’s best to compose your piece.

My absolute favorite section of this book is the Eight Common Armatures that he presents in the very first chapter. What I learned in that chapter alone paid for the book, in my opinion. I had never once had a teacher show me “armatures” for composition. It was just little comments here and there about adding this color or that value or taking out an object altogether.

I always wanted to ask, why? As in, why is it when I do that, the composition is better? I want to know more. The teacher never seemed to have many of those answers. The reply was always somewhat vague, with the basic feeling of, “I don’t know why it’s better. It just is.” Well, Mastering Composition answered many of those questions I had all these years and I urge you to at least take a peek inside the book just to get a feel of what he teaches.

Stay tuned…

As I try new things for composition, I will add them to this page so that it helps you in your own art journey.

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