This topic has 5 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated 6 years, 6 months ago by Angelique Powers.

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  • #14804
      • Experience: 5-10 years
      • Scenic Status: Full Time Regular

      Hi everyone!

      My name is Julia Lee Kreitman and I am a freelance Scenic Artist, and now the Properties and Paint Supervisor for Arizona State University. I will also be instructing the Scene Painting Course next semester and I am currently working on a syllabus. I’ve seen some other posts regarding content for scenic art classes, but does anyone have any recommendations for (text)books that would helpful for prospective scenic artists taking this class? Are there any in particular that would be more useful than others? I would love to be able to limit it to 1 book for each student to purchase for the class, and then supplement the rest from my personal library.

      I currently have a collection of the Surfaces series, a number of Art and Decor reference books, and some theatrical/stagecraft reference books from focal press.

      As for basic information on what I’m planning for the syllabus to include:

      -fundamentals of paint & scenic art, color theory, color mixing/matching, paint calculating & logistics, safety & understanding various materials’ SDS

      -semester long sampling projects

      -textures, leafing, specific & unusual tools (HVLP, airbrush, string grid, pounces, blocking, feathers, etc.), & materials (other than paint) used in scenic art

      -replicating a masterwork or logo (on a 3’x6′)

      -group drop/mural project

      Any other suggestions are greatly appreciated!

      Thank you 🙂


      I used Scenic Art For the Theatre by Susan Crabtree while I was in school and I still use it. Link to it on amazon is below.


      I clicked the link Hana lee posted, and did a search for used copies, and came across this related book: “Theatrical Scene Painting: A Lesson Guide”, by William H. Pinnell. I’m not familiar with the contents, but I have ordered a copy of both to check them out.


      Susan crabtree’s book is the gold standard. Lynn Pectal’s “Designing and painting for the Theatre” is also a great book although a lot of the materials used have beed replaced by less toxic options.


        You might find this one useful. Emma Troubridge is Head Scenic Artist at the Royal Opera House in the UK. She used to run the course at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, when the book was written.

         Angelique Powers
          • Experience: 20+ years
          • Scenic Status: Full Time Regular

          Member Member

          Fun Fact – The Scenic Wiki has an entire page devoted to just this topic!

          Its called the ‘Scenic Artists Library’ and you can find the link on the main page of our wiki! The little blue arrows are the direct links to buy fro Amazon if you choose.

          Two good books not mentioned in this thread so far:

          – ‘Painting for Performance’ by Sean O’Skea – a great book with more of an overall view and good for learning some basics.

          – ‘Scene Painting Projects” by Scherwin — this book has many of the tried and true class projects broken down into each step and what colors to use, but the publishers decided to go with digital images instead of painted ones. Still very useful though.

          Not only are there just “Scenic Art” books, we are also trying to gather more and more support books for our library!

          If you have a book to add, but are wary about how to do that (the wiki can be a bit scary) jeu add it to this conversation line and we can get it added!

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