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1 An Overview Elements and Principles Of Design Pembina Trails School Division The Elements and Principles of Design

2 The Elements and Principles of Design The Elements and Principles of Design are the building blocks of making, looking at and talking about art. With an understanding of how artists break down art into elements and principles the student artist has the tools to look at master artworks from the past, contemporary art and art of their own making. Generally speaking, there are five elements of art and six principles of art. This often varies depending on the source! 1. Line Elements A line is a mark having length but little width. Lines are symbols of direction, of simple forms and the boundaries of shapes. See example below: 2. Colour / Value Colour is a property of light. It is not an object itself. When a white light is projected through a prism, six different hues (colours) will emerge. Colour is divided into three different categories: 1. Primary Red, Yellow, Blue 2. Secondary Green, Purple, Orange 3. Tertiary all of the colours in-between (yellow-green, bluepurple, red-orange etc.) Colour Schemes (Families) 1. Monochromatic One colour with many different shades of that colour 2.. Analogous any colours beside each other on the colour wheel 3. Complimentary- two colours that are opposite on the colour wheel 4. Split-Complimentary- two colours opposite, but split on one end 5. Triadic any three colours that form an equal triangle on the colour wheel

3 Colour can produce the following effects on the viewer: Illusion of space Psychological effects Symbolic reference Calming or chaotic effects Value Value is the degree of light and dark. Value is evident in both black and white and colour. With black and white pictures, shading is used to create light and dark value. In colour, white and black are added to colour to create different values. It is said that the human eye can detect 40 different shades to any colour.

4 3. Texture Texture - refers to the surface quality of objects. Texture appeals to our sense of touch. There are generally two types of texture. a.) Tactile and b.) Visual Tactile Texture is texture that can be actually felt or touched. Paint that is applied thick or uneven or the roughnesses of a sculpture are examples of Tactile. Visual Texture is when the artist creates the impression of texture on a flat surface. Pattern work or a still life often gives the illusion of texture. 4. Shape / Form Form is an area created by an enclosing line or colour. Forms can occur naturally or be created by the artist. Subject matter does not have to be present in order for forms to appear.

5 5. Space Several art forms are three-dimensional and therefore occupy space: sculpture, ceramics etc. For the purpose of two-dimensional art (drawing and painting) the artist will use skills to produce an illusion of space. This can be achieved by various means. For example, through size, value, overlapping, place on the page, more and less detail etc. Principles 1. Balance When a painting is divided in half, does it appear to balance properly? There are basically three different types of balance in art: a.) Symmetrical b.) Asymmetrical c.) Radial

6 Symmetrical balance Similar images are repeated in the same position on either side of the imaginary centre line. Asymmetrical balance is a felt balance that can be achieved by using: colour, value, shape, and texture. People often say, It just feels balanced. One side equally weighs out the other side by unlike objects or colours depending on their placement.

7 Radial Balance radiates out from the centre like the spokes of a wheel. 2. Rhythm Repeating a shape, line or object enough times that a rhythmic pattern is formed. Certain types of wallpaper or abstract art have patterns on them, which indicate that a rhythmic pattern is present.

8 3. Contrast Unlike objects or colours are placed together to form an uneasy balance. Contrast is the exact opposite of unity.

9 4. Unity / Harmony Unity is the characteristics, which pull together all the elements of a composition into a total visual picture. It is accomplished through repetition of one or several elements in a picture, e.g., repeated use of color, or shape of a texture. Harmony Harmony is the arrangement of similar thing to produce consistency. Nothing in the picture seems out of place. Everything is working together with respect to size, colour, shape etc.

10 5. Emphasis Emphasis occurs when our eye is drawn to one particular part of a painting at first glance. This can be achieved by creating a light area in a huge area of darkness. It can also be achieved by a solo image, or by making one area detailed while the rest of the picture is blurry.

11 6. Movement The eye is forced to move around the picture dynamically in order to see all the different elements. Curved forms that keep your eyes moving in a circular pattern throughout the picture can enhance optical movement. Similarly, showing multiple overlapping images gives us the impression of motion. We can see that the person or figure has moved through a series of poses.

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