"Jim offers something that is almost impossible to find online: a truly one-of-a-kind resource. His information about Dynamic Symmetry is meticulously researched and comes from a place of knowledge and genuine interest, not sales, as so many educational sites do. Reading his surprisingly accessible work has helped me to grow artistically in a deliberate and satisfying way. I return to Dynamic Symmetry Art regularly and always learn something new." - Rebecca Isenhart
"With the passing of Myron Barnstone, we lost a great resource on the application of the Rectangles of the Masters and the Golden Section in creating art. But the website dynamicsymmetryart.com is carrying on that work Myron so thoroughly believed in and taught. Dynamic Symmetry can be used in the simplest of ways as well as being infinitely complex if one desires. Great minds such as Leonardo da Vinci recognized the power that this compositional tool offers.
Dynamicsymmetryart.com is an amazing reference for artists who are open to exploring the benefits of using Dynamic Symmetry in their work. It applies to all the arts and resonates at a primal level of understanding harmony and beauty. Much thanks to James Cowman for his dedication to furthering this information to the public." - Master Artist and Teacher, Dot Bunn, Red Stone Farm Studio
"The Art of Composition: A Dynamic Symmetry User's Guide for the Modern Artist is, without a doubt, one of the most comprehensive e-books ever written on the topic of design in art. Whether you're a beginner, intermediate, or advanced art/photography student, this user's guide is indispensable. I recommend it to all of my artists and photographers and have it linked to my website The Artist Angle." - Jennifer Finley
"Though I am not a newcomer to photography, I am far from being a professional. So too, it has only been in the past few months that I discovered dynamicsymmetryart.com. I was transformed from being concerned with camera equipment, fstops, shutter speed, ISO to considering how I would apply the principles of classical art training to my photography.
As I began reading about the old world masters, including da Vinci, Degas, Rembrandt, and Renoir, I learned that Dynamic Symmetry structurally changed paintings from being passive to active and dynamic. Furthermore, I didn’t realize that a small, yet renowned, group of photographers were well known for using Dynamic Symmetry in their photographs of city life and people.
My journey began by reading. The Dynamic Symmetry Art website has numerous resources that gave me a crash course in art and composition. I had to learn about the visual properties of different kinds of rectangles and how each can be divided into compositional elements. Then I began using the Dynamic Symmetry grid overlays in Lightroom to analyze and crop my photos. I have found dynamicsymmetryart.com extremely beneficial, and it has contributed immensely with my efforts to improve as a photographer. Thank you for your commitment to art and art education." - Warren Wish
Photograph above by Robert Mapplethorpe using the armature of the rectangle
"Thanks for providing me a new vision about composition. After many years of amateur photographer, I am actually working in it as a nice daily job after my retirement." Best regards, Juan
"I love you are not pretentious, there are no BS articles on how the masterpieces could be "improved" or boring/useless articles to fill the weekly debt to the readers.
I like that this site is friendly to use and also how you speak. English is my second language, and I really appreciate I don't have to read an article several times to get it. Besides, the podcasts have the "cafe talk" feeling." - DSA Visitor
"It seems to me the amount of information found here is simply huge and of excellent quality. This is really a precious thing on the Internet nowadays. Thank you for collecting all this info and for having given it a structure." - Fabio S.
Painting above by Anna Rose Bain using the armature of the rectangle
"What a WONDERFUL resource you have created! Thank you!" - Catherine Fey
"I tried to make good photographs, but I never found my photos to be pleasing (maybe 1 or 2 out of 100). I always felt something was missing and it always came down to good composition. I tried the usual rules but no improvement. I searched for books and found some books on composition. The photos were good, but somehow I was not able to learn the composition skills.
I came across a YouTube video by Tavis Leaf Glover about Dynamic Symmetry. From there I started to research on the concept of Dynamic Symmetry and came across your site.
As to reasons why I liked the site are as follows: 1. A succinct and minimal way of putting in the content. 2. I read your book and found it awesome. I begin to realize this site could be my answer to better composition. Later I downloaded the books you recommended The Art of Composition: A Simple Application of Dynamic Symmetry by Michel Jacobs, and I was in complete awe. I went ahead and purchased the book by Juliette Aristides - Lessons in Classical Drawing. Yeah, I know it's not about photography, but I took the advice in one of your podcasts where you mention that it's good (imperative) to have a design background and study of classical paintings to develop an eye for good composition. I can go with more reasons, but then I guess I'll be writing an essay instead of two paragraphs." - DSA Visitor
Image above from the book The Art of Composition: A Simple Application of Dynamic Symmetry
"James Cowman's user's guide on composition and Dynamic Symmetry, in particular, was one of the greatest milestones on my journey of becoming a better artist. Dynamicsymmetryart.com is undoubtedly the best resource on the subject out there, which I keep recommending to anyone interested in taking their compositions to a new level. It shocks me that even otherwise excellent artists today often know nothing about these old systems and rely mostly on their intuition to create their compositions. It's time that artists rediscover and revive the lost knowledge of the old masters and bring art back to its former glory. Jame's user's guide is a unique and invaluable resource in this effort." - Storm Engineer
Painting above by Elizabeth Jane Gardner using the armature of the rectangle
"The information provided in The Art of Composition: A Dynamic Symmetry User's Guide for the Modern Artist has been a tremendous resource for me as an artist and photographer. My photography work has improved tremendously, and all of my clients agree! I'll continue to share this user's guide with all of my peers and other creative artists." - Zine Massey
Painting above by Jules Bastien-Lepage using the armature of the rectangle
"There’s been something missing in my photography for some time now. It felt like I’d hit a brick wall. I was finding great locations and taking beautiful photos, but again, something was missing. I had no idea what it was; I just knew it was there.
I found myself repeatedly falling back on the Rule of Thirds, but this was becoming more of a hindrance rather than a help. Then one day I had the good fortune to stumble across the website Dynamicsymmetryart.com. There is no better teacher or resource on the internet regarding Dynamic Symmetry and best of all everything is free! I can assure you, once you begin to delve into the rich offerings on this site you won’t have any need to look elsewhere.
I, for one, can’t thank Jim enough for all the time and effort he has put into this and for taking my photography to the next level. His website and Youtube channel are both superb, and I'd like to thank him for sharing the knowledge on what is a very fascinating subject." - Tim B
Drawing above by Juliette Aristides using the armature of the rectangle
"I just graduated from the BFA in Graphic Design at the Federal University of Pernambuco, in Brazil, and one of the chapters of my monograph was about composition. As a motion designer, the proper layout of elements is a very important phase in my creative process, so any tool that helps with making decisions on that is very valuable. What I love about your studies is that it's full of images and resources, it's a gold mine in my opinion. Thanks for providing so much information at an affordable price." - Eveline Falcão
"Hi James! I'd like to donate you to your website and for your wisdom. I have always been seeking a direct and reliable answer for composition in illustration. Designing a composition intuitively has been a struggle for me, and I've tried to find the proper answer from different kinds of compositional theories (the rule of thirds, etc.). Still, those theories haven't been enough. Planning the composition has always been reasonably hard, but now finally with Dynamic Symmetry, it all makes sense to me." - Pirkka H.
Painting above by Edgar Degas using the armature of the rectangle
"Wow, this website is such a great resource, thank you so much for sharing this! It's hard to find good resources online. I am always interested in books, DVDs or articles related to this topic. I found the website while searching for armatures for root rectangles to overlay on my reference photos in photoshop. I have been trying to apply Dynamic Symmetry more in my paintings. I have studied under Michael Workman and Douglas Fryer - you may already be familiar with them, but if not I highly recommend viewing their work. They are big into the use of armatures and application of dynamic symmetry, canvas size, etc. Their work is similar (perhaps because they were in school together) very poetic, ethereal, seems to capture the passage of time.
I have taken from many artists over the years, but those two are the only ones that have delved into this topic at length with their students in my experience so far. I noticed Scott Burdick, Dan Gerhartz and Hsin Yao Tseng on your list of artists. All great artists and teachers as well that I have also taken workshops with. When I asked Scott Burdick about composition, I was surprised that he didn't seem to have much to say about dynamic symmetry or make use of it so much, outwardly anyway, but he is one of my favorite artists. I have a few of his originals and some of his wives, Susan's purchased out of their studios and at workshops. So excited to find your armature files and all the other resources, thank you again!" - Diane F.
"Hello, James. I just donated to your website and have already downloaded the Extended Edition of your book - I was seeking some more information on the topic and did not even know what I was looking for. Your website and content are absolutely brilliant! I hope to be able to dive into the topic deeper over the next few months and maybe book a quick session to get some direct perspective from you. Kind regards." - Oliver
"The Art of Composition: A Dynamic Symmetry User's Guide for the Modern Artist deserves to be a physical book in Barnes & Noble & on my coffee table!" Elliot McGucken