Beginning Composition | Self-Study

In composition, there are no standardized or predetermined rules. Beginning Composition will introduce students to a unique [...]
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In composition, there are no standardized or predetermined rules. Beginning Composition will introduce students to a unique and proven method of learning the fundamental concepts of composition and visual literacy. Students will be exposed to information and demonstrations that will enable them  to see problems and correct their own compositions and become more visually expressive.

  • Videos Are Yours To Keep*
  • Total Course Time: 22:18:36 Hours

*Please read additional information in our FAQ section.

Instructor Bio

Bill Perkins graduated from the Art Center College of Design with honors, and pursued his passion for painting. For the next six years he traveled the southwestern United States, selling his work in galleries in California, Arizona and New Mexico. In 1985, the Monterey Peninsula Museum of Art held an exhibit for he and three other artists based on their three-month painting tour of France, Spain, and Italy. Though the group broke up the show was very successful. That group experience inspired him to explore the collaborative aspects of the animation business.

In 1986, he was hired as a layout artist at Walt Disney Feature Animation on Oliver and Co. then continued on a string of hits including: Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast. He found the stylistic diversity required in the animation and film industry compelling as well as the enormous world wide audience that such films communicate to.
Bill was called up to be a Layout lead on Rescuers Down Under where he helped the layout process through a period of transition into digital compositing. With the added complexity and labor required for the new technology, he and two other artists developed a workbook as a tool to enhance the cinematic impact from story boarding to layout as well as more accurately budget and reveal workload requirements for subsequent departments.
In 1990, he became the Art Director on Aladdin. As an Art Director, he designed the style and developed the first discrete style guide which was designed to mine the collaborative processes and secure predictable outcomes.
An avid lifelong student himself, Bill began teaching color, composition and design at the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art. When he left Disney in 1994, he worked as a Visual Development artist, Art Director, and Concept Artist for Walt Disney Animation Studios on future projects.

Supply List

You can either sketch and paint in Photoshop on your computer or on paper. If you choose paper you may use the following supplies:

  • PENCIL, graphite or charcoal
  • PAPER, sketch pad, ledger or marker paper, or moleskin sketchbook, or 3″X5″ Post-Its.
  • PEN, black uniball Onyx Micro


  • BRUSH PEN, Tombow N15 black
  • PRISMACOLOR GRAY MARKERS 20%, 40%, 50%, 70% or cool gray set.

Course Comments

6 Responses on Beginning Composition | Self-Study"

  1. Valuable knowledge!
    Bill is one of the best teachers I ever had! The way he breaks to the students such a complex subject as composition really helped me to see art and design in a new perspective, more refined and mature. This class is great for everyone in the art field, since Bill focus in the core elements of design and composition and these have universal applicability. It was an awesome experience!

  2. Profile photo of Tegan Clancy Tegan Clancy says:

    Gaining Visual Power
    Bill Perkins thorough knowledge of visual language has pushed me further to understand how and why elements in a composition have visual power

  3. Incredible Class
    I learned so much from this class I wish I had taken it sooner. How he breaks down paintings and explains why they work or why they don’t was so eye opening. Even hearing his critique of other student’s work taught me so much. It is an excellent class,

  4. Amazing course full of important and helful info
    Amazing course full of important and helpful info!
    Mr Perkins teaches solid art making approaches to composition in this course that I had to wonder why this course was titled ‘Beginning Composition’? He shared insights into movie design concepts which works in 2-D illustrations. Much of the material was new to me too and I am no spring chicken! I enthusiastically recommend Mr Perkin’s course for anyone who is interested in getting a hearty grip on composing their art work with meaning and purpose!

  5. Profile photo of Fezz Shuji says:

    Great Composition Techniques
    This is a very good course for those who want to improve their composition skills. It pushes boundaries for your design thinking skills and allow you to composite a scene and to bring it to life. The techniques taught throughout the class definitely aid in my creativity process.

  6. Profile photo of Julianne Julianne says:

    Good class
    Bill’s passion is infectious, and his take on composition is an interesting and useful take on what’s normally taught on this subject.
    I’m a traditional media artist and learned a lot, albeit many examples are geared toward the concept art and animation/moving pictures worlds.
    The course material translates well across all mediums so even though I personally would have preferred a heavier slant toward traditional media vs concept/animation (and had wrongly assumed that would be the case before signing up) I’m glad took the class as it’s a worthy addition to my toolbox of learning.

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