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Art – 5 Formal Elements Every Artist Must Know

Art is a creative process that works within certain formal principles. These principles are not meant to stifle an artist’s freedom with regards to exercising their individual creativity, but are rather meant to guide them so that they can operate within an acceptable framework. Often, when an artist does not harmonize these formal elements, their work is likely to lose its visual significance and beauty.

Here is the list of 5 formal elements of art and how artistes can incorporate them in their work.

1 The use of lines

As an artist, you don’t look at line from just its literal meaning. In your case, line will vary in meaning and will go beyond borders and outlines. These lines can be horizontal, vertical, diagonal and curved, and will often either be real or imaginary. When you thoroughly observe a painting, you will notice that the objects or subjects in the painting form a number of different paths. These paths are what demonstrate an artist’s use of lines.

2 The use of shapes

Shape in art is basically the way in which objects in the artwork form contours and structure, as well as how they are configured. The most common shapes you will notice are circles, squares and rectangles. However, artists who desire their work to appear more prominent will use more complex and intricate geometric shapes like polygons, hexagons, pentagons among others. These apply to different artworks not limited to sculptures, paintings, as well as architectural drawings.

3 The use of form

There is some bit of debate among artists who argue that form and shape are one and the same. However, it’s important for note that there is a difference between the two. Whereas shape refers to a two dimensional objects, form on the other hand refers to three-dimensional objects that have a specifically defined depth, length and width. Form will mostly be applicable to pottery, sculptures, animation, decorative arts, among other three dimensional art forms.

4 The use of color

When it comes to the use of color, it’s important for an artiste to understand what is referred to as color psychology. In simpler terms, the type of color, its intensity, depth, purity among others used in an artwork will elicit a specific type of feeling or emotion. It’s therefore very important for an artist to fully understand this so that they can be able to clearly communicate through their work. Failure to observe proper use of color may leave the audiences confused unable to tell what the piece is about.

5 The use of space

Space is simply the area that has been occupied by the object or the subject vis a vis its surrounding in an artwork. This is the entirety of the object’s or subject’s three-dimensional properties which is usually artistically presented as an illusion depending on the artist’s skill and versatility in perfectly merging their drawing and shading technique to enhance the shadows in the artwork.

As an artist, when you have a proper mastery of these 5 elements and incorporate them in your work, you will tremendously enhance the quality of your artwork.

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