The 7 Elements of Art

The Elements of Art

  • The 7 Elements of Art


    The elements of art are the "building blocks" of art. This is the vocabulary we use to describe works of art. All students must be able to define and identify each of the Elements by the time they leave 5th grade.


  • Line A path created by a moving point, mark or object. It is a dot that takes a walk. Line can be straight, swirly, wavy, jagged, dotted, dashed, broken, thick, thin,  zig zag, diagonal, vertical, horizontal, curved, bold, parallel or perpendicular.  line examples

  • Shape A two-dimensional (2D), flat enclosed area. When a  line crosses over itself it creates a shape. Examples of shapes could be geometric, organic/natural, irregular, circle, square, rectangle, diamond, oval, crescent, heart, triangle, octagon.

    shape ex

  • Color The element of art derived from reflected or absorbed light. Color adds  interest and mood to a work of art. It is also referred to as "Hue". The primary colors are red, yellow and blue. The secondary colors are created by mixing the primary colors. They are purple (violet), orange and green.

    Color Wheel

  • Texture How something feels or looks like it would feel if you could touch it. There are two kinds of texture: Real (how something actually feels, such as a sculpture) and Implied (when an artist paints or draws a texture but it is artificial). texture ex

  • form  Form Objects having three dimensions (3D), or height, width, and depth.  You can walk around a form. Examples of form can include cubes, cylinders, and spheres.

  • Value The lightness or darkness of an object. The degree of lightness or darkness. The effect of light and shade in a picture. Value vocabulary includes tint (adding white to make something lighter), shade (adding  black to make something darker) and hue (the true color). Shadow, highlight, and light source are also some vocabulary words to consider with this element of art.value ex

  • Space The element of art that refers to the emptiness or area around or  within objects. Positive space refers to the part of the artwork that takes up space. Negative space is the area around that object. This element of art also refers to the "parts" of the picture... Foreground, Middleground and Background!space ex

  • Images on this page were adapted from The ABCs of Art by M.C. Gilles ( Color Wheel adapted from Jerod Foster