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The Elements of Art

The seven components of art-making and design.

The elements of art are the basic components of art-marking. It is impossible to create a work of art without using at least one of the seven elements of art. In order to be successful in art creation, an artist must be able to intelligently use the elements of art. Artwork can also be analyzed according to the use of the elements in a work of art.


In terms of art, line is considered a moving dot or the path of a dot. Line can be used to define edges, add shading or value, and create the illusion of form.


Shape is considered a closed contour or the area confined within a contour line. Shapes fall into two categories: geometric or organic. They can be defined as positive or negative and are essential in compositional design.


Form refers to three-dimensional objects. The illusion of form in a drawing or painting is heavily dependent on the use and placement of values.


Value is also referred to as "tone". It is the darkness or lightness of a color and can be measured through the use of a value scale. Lighter values are referred to as "tints", while darker values are referred to as "shades". When it comes to drawing and painting, value is arguably the most important element of art.


In terms of art, space is the area around, above, and within an object.  With consideration to drawings and paintings, our goal is to create the illusion of space. There are six ways that an artist can create the illusion of space in a drawing or painting.


Texture refers to the way an object feels to the touch or looks as it may feel if it were touched. Texture created in drawings or paintings can be "simulated" or "invented". The illusion of texture is heavily dependent on the use of value.


Color is the element of art that refers to reflected light. Although complex, color theory can be broken down into three main components: the color wheel, color values, and color schemes.

Famous Art Pieces

  • Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

  • The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo

  • Guernica by Pablo Picasso

  • The Thinker by Auguste Rodin

  • Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

  • American Gothic by Grant Wood

  • Nighthawks by Edward Hopper

  • Water Lily Pond by Claude Monet

  • The Scream by Edvard Munch

  • The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali

  • School of Athens by Raphael

  • Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette by Edward Renoir

  • The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci