Elements of art

  (Redirected from Form (visual art))

Elements of art are stylistic features that are included within an art piece to help the artist communicate.[1] The seven most common elements include line, shape, texture, form, space, colour and value, with the additions of mark making, and materiality.[1][2] When analyzing these intentionally utilized elements, the viewer is guided towards a deeper understanding of the work.


Lines are marks moving in a space between two points whereby a viewer can visualize the stroke movement, direction, and intention based on how the line is oriented.[1][2] Lines describe an outline, capable of producing texture according to their length and curve.[3] There are different types of lines artists may use, including, actual, implied, vertical, horizontal, diagonal and contour lines, which all have different functions.[3] Lines are also situational elements, requiring the viewer to have knowledge of the physical world in order to understand their flexibility, rigidity, synthetic nature, or life.[1]


A shape is a two-dimensional design encased by lines to signify its height and width structure, and can have different values of color used within it to make it appear three-dimensional.[2][4] In animation, shapes are used to give a character a distinct personality and features, with the animator manipulating the shapes to provide new life.[1] There are different types of shapes an artist can use and fall under either geometrical, defined by mathematics, or organic shapes, created by an artist.[3][4] Simplistic, geometrical shapes include circles, triangles and squares, and provide a symbolic and synthetic feeling, whereas acute angled shapes with sharp points are perceived as dangerous shapes.[1] Rectilinear shapes are viewed as dependable and more structurally sound, while curvilinear shapes are chaotic and adaptable.[1]


Form is a three-dimensional object with volume of height, width and depth.[2] These objects include cubes, spheres and cylinders.[2] Form is often used when referring to physical works of art, like sculptures, as form is connected most closely with those three-dimensional works.[5]


Color is an element consisting of hues, of which there are three properties: hue, chroma or intensity, and value.[3] Color is present when light strikes an object and it is reflected back into the eye, a reaction to a hue arising in the optic nerve.[6] The first of the properties is hue, which is the distinguishable color, like red, blue or yellow.[6] The next property is value, meaning the lightness or darkness of the hue.[6] The last is chroma or intensity, distinguishing between strong and weak colors.[6] A visual representation of chromatic scale is observable through the color wheel that uses the primary colors.[3]


Space refers to the perspective (distance between and around) and proportion (size) between shapes and objects and how their relationship with the foreground or background is perceived.[3][7] There are different types of spaces an artist can achieve for different effect. Positive space refers to the areas of the work with a subject, while negative space is the space without a subject.[7] Open and closed space coincides with three-dimensional art, like sculptures, where open spaces are empty, and closed spaces contain physical sculptural elements.[7]


Texture is used to describe the surface quality of the work, referencing the types of lines the artist created.[1] The surface quality can either be tactile (real) or strictly visual (implied).[3] Tactile surface quality is mainly seen through three-dimensional works, like sculptures, as the viewer can see and/or feel the different textures present, while visual surface quality describes how the eye perceives the texture based on visual cues.[8]


The scale between dark (black) and light (white) values.

Value refers to the degree of perceivable lightness of tones within an image.[2] The element of value is compatible with the term luminosity, and can be "measured in various units designating electromagnetic radiation".[7] The difference in values is often called contrast, and references the lightest (white) and darkest (black) tones of a work of art, with an infinite number of grey variants in between.[7] While it is most relative to the greyscale, though, it is also exemplified within colored images.[3]

Mark making and materialityEdit

Mark making is the interaction between the artist and the materials they are using.[1] It provides the viewer of the work with an image of what the artist had done to create the mark, reliving what the artist had done at the time.[1] Materiality is the choice of materials used and how it impacts the work of art and how the viewer perceives it.[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Roxo, Justin. "Elements of Art: Interpreting Meaning Through the Language of Visual Cues". login.uproxy.library.dc-uoit.ca. Retrieved 2020-03-29.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Vocabulary: Elements of Art, Principles of Art" (PDF).
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Visual Arts: Elements and Principles of Design". www.incredibleart.org. Retrieved 2020-03-29.
  4. ^ a b Esaak, Shelley. "How Would You Define "Shape"?". ThoughtCo. Retrieved 2020-03-29.
  5. ^ Marder, Lisa Marder our editorial process Lisa. "The Definition of Form in Art". ThoughtCo. Retrieved 2020-03-29.
  6. ^ a b c d Esaak, Shelley. "How Is Color Defined in Art?". ThoughtCo. Retrieved 2020-03-29.
  7. ^ a b c d e Esaak, Shelley. "How Is Color Defined in Art?". ThoughtCo. Retrieved 2020-03-29.
  8. ^ Esaak, Shelley. "Here's how artists use texture and why it's so important in art". ThoughtCo. Retrieved 2020-03-29.

External linksEdit