Understanding formal elements of art and how to use them is like having a toolbox full of different tools. Everything you need is there, and you can choose which tools work best for the job--your artwork.. Breaking down visual language into specific formal elements and design principles will help you translate your idea into the visual language that expresses it most effectively and influences the viewer’s response.
What is a line? Geometrically, it connects two points. A line is a path traced by a moving point, (a pencil point or other tool). We see lines all around us. Line is a vital element of any artwork.
Some examples of lines. Actuallines are marks or objects that are real lines; they exist physically. Examples of actual lines include lines painted on a highway, tree branches, lines incised on the surface of gravestone, telephone poles, neon signs, and words on a page.
Implied lines are lines that we see in our mind’s eye that fill in the spaces between objects, such as a line of lights in the ceiling and the rows of windows in a large office building. Implied lines are also found in the gaze between two people. We imagine a line that goes from one person’s eyes to the other. Implied lines can also extend beyond the edges of an artwork.
Outlines are the outer lines that describe the outer edge of a shape and appear flat. Contourlines define all the lines and edges of objects giving it shape and volume.
Expressive lines are made to express a mood, emotion, idea or quality (aggressive, calm, etc.).
Using one of the lines grids below, create a variety of different lines.
Optical illusions - OP ART Combine art and math to create optical illusions. The dominant element of art used was lines, geometric shapes and complimentary colors. Research popular Op Artists Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely.
Create an Op Art painting or drawing that clearly creates an optical illusion of movement or shifting perspective using lines and complimentary color or black and white.
Artists use all kinds of shapes. Geometric shapes are precise and regular, like squares, rectangles, and triangles. They are often found in human-made things, like building and machines while organic shapes are found in nature. These shapes may look like leaves, flowers, clouds—things that grow, flow, and move. Organic shapes are often rounded and irregular, unlike most geometric shapes.
Click on the link below to explore a wider variety of shapes.
Save the shape grid file to your computer. Open file in the preview window. Export the file to a jpeg. Now, you can open the jpeg shape grid in Painter. Fill in the grid with shapes that match the labeled descriptions.
An artist that loved to explore the possibilities of mixing geometric and organic shapes was Henri Matisse. In the last few decades of his artistic career, he developed a new form of art-making: the paper cut-out. Immersed in the power of color and shape, he devoted himself to cutting hand painted colored papers and arranging them in designs. “Instead of drawing an outline and filling in the color…I am drawing directly in color,” he said. Matisse was drawing with scissors!
Your assignment is to recreate Matisse's cut-out style using digital tools and the element of shape. Your work will have a concept. The shapes and colors you choose should match your concept. Your composition should also include at least 6 background shapes.
6 or more background shapes
13 x 19 or 19 x 13 inches with resolution of 300 dpi
Form is the three-dimensional version of a shape. Form has height, width and depth. Form is either three-dimensional, as in a work of sculpture, or has the illusion of three-dimensions, as in a painting of a bowl of fruit.
You will create a value scale from black to white. Having areas of light and dark give a two-dimensional drawing the illusion of form, or being three-dimensional.
You will paint a still life of an apple. Your objective is to give the apple the illusion of having form by using 5 different values, a surface and a background.
Texture is used to describe the way a three-dimensional work actually feels when touched. Actual texture can be smooth, rough, wet, cold, etc. In two-dimensional work, such as painting, texture refers to the visual "feel" of a piece. This "visual feel" is implied texture. In many cases, when you touch a painting of a snowy landscape, it does not feel cold. The icy cold texture of snow is implied. However, there are many painters and mixed media artists who combine both actual and implied texture in their work.
1. You will fill a page with as least 10 different types of textures using a different color for each of the textures. 2. Extra credit - Create your own paper texture. Publish and label these two assignments to your website under the category, TEXTURE.
1. CHALLENGE You will create a 10" x 10" digital painting that demonstrates implied texture. You may choose to paint anything, a landscape, a still life or a close-up focusing on texture. There are many different ways to solve this problem of creating texture. Go to the TEXTURE page under Digital Studio Art to see some examples.
2. CHOOSE your project. 3. Decide on a CONCEPT/idea for the project. What are you trying to accomplish in addition to texture?
The Visual Element of Value defines the lightness or darkness of a color. The tonal values of an artwork can be adjusted to alter its expressive character. Value can be used:
to create a contrast of light and dark.
to create the illusion of form.
to create a dramatic or tranquil atmosphere.
to create a sense of depth and distance.
to create a rhythm or pattern within a composition.
Our selection of artworks illustrated below have been chosen because they all use tone in an inspirational manner. We have analyzed each of these to demonstrate how great artists use this visual element as a creative force in their work.
ATMOSPHERIC PERSPECTIVE: Use value to create depth and distance.
SHATTERED VALUES: Create rhythm in a design by using a gradation of dark to light value with small shapes.
Create a digital painting of an endangered animal using the element of color as the main objective. Your second objective is to have a concept for the drawing. Do you want to show the mortality of the species by using symbolic color? Do you want to show beauty? Do you want to shock the audience into paying attention to the issue?