Elements of Art

The following information comes from Illustrated Elements of Art and Principles of Design, by Brommer ISBN: 978-1-56290-665-8

Elements of Art are Shape, Line, Texture, Value, Space, Form, and Color

Shape is an area that is contained within an implied line, or is seen because of color or value changes.  It is flat and has two dimensions, length and width.

Types of shapes:
Geometric are mechanical, human-made shapes such as squares, triangles, circles, etc.

Organic are freeform and curved that represent living things such as people, trees, animals, or flowers.

Abstract are simplified, flat shapes of three-dimensional things that we can recognize, but which may not look real.

Positive Shape is the figure or object.
Negative shape is the area around the figure or object.

Line is a mark made by a pointed tool –brush, pencil, pen, etc. It can vary in width, direction, curvature, length, or color.

Types of Lines:

Hatching are lines drawn at an angle and parallel or close together. The farther apart the lines are they create a lighter the value; the closer together the lines are they create a darker value.

Cross-hatching are parallel lines that cross each other. The farther apart the lines are they create a lighter the value; the closer together the lines are they create a darker value.

Gestural lines indicate movement.
Expressive lines are heavy or light lines to give a stronger or lighter meaning to a line; also, called line quality.

Implied lines could be dots or small dashes, or edges of solid values and colors.

Contour lines define the outline of something showing the edges of forms and shapes.

Texture refers to the surface quality, both simulated and actual, of artwork. It is how the surface of something feels or looks.

Types of texture:
Actual texture is how a surface feels.  They are described with words like soft, smooth, rough, and crisp.

Implied or simulated texture is on smooth, flat paper, but made to look like really texture.

Value refers to dark and light; the value scale refers to black and white with all gradations of gray in between.  Value contrasts help us to see and understand a two-dimensional work of art.

Space is a three-dimensional volume that can be empty or filled with objects.
Sculptors work with actual space and work in dimensions of height, width, and depth.
Painters work with implied space and work in dimensions of height, and width.  They create the illusion of depth in their work.

Depth is shows distance, or perspective. Things get smaller and less sharp as they get farther away.  Forms overlap each other and colors become less intense in the distance.

Types of Perspective:
Atmospheric perspective shows depth, or distance, in an artwork by using a few, or all of the following techniques.
·         Size= The farther away something is the smaller it gets.  The closer the object is the larger it gets.
·         Placement= Putting objects towards the top of the paper gives the illusion of being farther away.  Putting objects towards the bottom of the paper gives the illusion of being close to the viewer.
·         Overlapping= Gives the illusions of objects moving back in space.
·         Shading= By adding Values(shading) to an object, it gives the illusion that the object is three-dimensional on a flat surface
·         Value and Focus= Objects that are close to us are intense in color/value, and have sharp, detailed edges.  Objects in the distance become blurry, and fade in color and value.

Linear perspective is when straight lines and edges seem to come together at a distant point (vanishing point). There can be 1, 2, or 3 vanishing points depending on the point of view of the drawing.

Positive space (similar to Positive Shape)-Sculptures, architecture, and people take up positive space.
Negative space (similar to Negative Shape- The space around and between the forms is called negative space.

Form describes objects that are three-dimensional, having length, width, and height.

Three-dimensional forms can be viewed from many angles – each one different from the others.


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