Elements of Art

Elements of Art
Line-A line is a mark with length and direction. An element of art that refers to the
continuous mark made on a surface by a moving point. Types of line include: Vertical,
horizontal, diagonal, straight, curved, zig-zag, thick, thin, light and thick or wide.
Shape- Shape is an element of art. It is an enclosed space defined and determined by the
other art elements such as line, color, value, and texture. In paintings and in drawings,
shapes may take on the appearance of solid three-dimensional objects even though they
are limited to two dimensions (length and width). This two-dimensional character of shape
distinguishes it from form, which has depth as well as length and width.
Form-Form refers to an element of art that is three-dimensional (height, width, and
depth) and encloses volume. For example, a triangle which is two is two-dimensional, is a
shape, but a pyramid which is three dimensional, is a form.
Space- Space is an element of art that refers to the distance or area between, around,
above, below, or within things. It can be described as two-dimensional or three
dimensional; as flat, shallow, or deep; as open or closed; as positive or negative.
Value-Value is an element of art that refers to the lightness or darkness of a color. Value
is an especially important element in works of art when color is absent. This is particularly
likely with drawings, woodcuts, and photographs. It is also true with most sculptures and
Color- color is produced when light strikes an object and then reflects back to the eyes.
Color is an element of art that has three properties: 1) hue, the color name, e.g., red,
yellow, blue, etc. 2) intensity, the purity and strength of a color, e.g., bright red or dull
red; and 3) value, the lightness or darkness of a color. When the spectrum is organized as
a color wheel, the colors are divided into groups called complementary, and also warm and
cool colors.
Texture- Texture is an element of art which refers to the surface quality or “feel” of an
object, its smoothness, roughness, softness, etc. Textures may be actual or simulated.
Actual textures can be felt with the fingers, while simulated textures are suggested by an
artist in their art work, often in representing drapery, metal, rocks, hair, etc. Words
describing textures include: flat, smooth, shiny, glossy, glittery, velvety, feathery, soft,
wet, gooey, furry, sandy, leathery and crackled.
The elements of Art- The elements of art are the basic parts used by an artist
when creating works of art. The elements are:
Color - (Hue) The visual quality of an object created by the reflection and/or
absorption of light. White light is all of the colors mixed together. If an object
absorbs all of the white light wavelengths then the object will appear black. If it
reflects all the wavelengths then it will look white. If an object absorbs all
wavelengths except blue, then the object will be blue.
Value - The darkness or lightness of a color.
Shades are dark values of a color when a little black is added.
Tints are light values of a color when white is added.
Line - A thin mark on a surface created by a pencil, pen, brush, or other tools.
There are many types of lines. Lines can be joined together to create shapes. See
Lines and Shapes.
Shape - When lines meet to make flat, two-dimensional areas with height and
Geometric shapes are squares, triangles, circles, etc.
Organic shapes are odd shapes usually found in nature, such as a leaf or a
raindrop. See Lines and Shapes.
Form - A three-dimensional object, such as a box or ball that has height, width,
and thickness. Shapes are flat; forms are not.
Geometric forms are spheres (balls), cones, cubes, cylinders, etc.
Organic forms are found in nature like clouds, peanuts or a rain drop.
Texture - The way something feels when touched or how it may look.
Space - The open, or empty, area around, above, below, between, or within an
object. Forms and shapes are defined by the empty space around them. Space can
also be the shape of a surface in a work of art. Space can be two-dimensional,
three-dimensional, positive and/or negative.
Positive space is the shape of a surface.
Negative space is the empty area between positive spaces. Artists create
positive and negative space in drawing and painting.
Elements of Art
The elements of art are the building blocks of an artistic creation,
a "visual language" or "visual alphabet" used by the artist.
1. Line – a continuous mark made on a surface
2. Shape – two-dimensional (circle, square, rectangle, triangle)
and encloses space
3. Form – three-dimensional and encloses and takes up space
4. Color – that which is perceived when light hits and reflects
off an object. Three properties of color are Hue (name of a
color), Intensity (strength of a color) and Value (lightness or
darkness of a color)
5. Texture – the surface quality or feel of an object
6. Space – the illusion of space is created through light and
Principles of Design
The ways in which the Elements of Art are organized are referred
to as the Principles of Design.
1. Rhythm and Movement – the visual flow through a work of
art, incorporating repetition
2. Balance – symmetry and asymmetry
3. Proportion – large next to small
4. Variety – the use of different or contrasting elements to add
5. Emphasis – used to make something stand out, like dark
next to light
6. Unity – how all the aspects of a work of art work together