7 Elements of Art arranged in Tiles showing Lines, Shapes, Space, Forms, Color, Texture and Value

The Elements of Art: Guide to Most Important Foundation for Artists

Elements of Art are visually identifiable elements used by an Artist to create or understand Art using the seven elements Line, Shape, Form, Color, Space, Texture, and Value.

These components function together to produce an average painting or a masterpiece. It’s incredible to discover that you, I, and renowned artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci and Pablo Picasso employ the same artistic elements.

So, what makes legends’ work a masterpiece and ours just ordinary art? Is it the art materials or tools they use or their chosen topic?

No, it is how these elements of art are presented or used.

Elements of Art were always there, like air and water, though Arthur Wesley Dow formalized it only in 1899. Leonardo Da Vinci did not know about this concept, but we can still study and understand his paintings from this perspective.

An artist mixes these elements with principles of art and works on his creativity. Like a musician who talks about notes in his music, an Artist discusses elements of art.

The challenge for anyone is understanding the elements of art and recognizing that they exist in everything we see. People pursuing art need to know these elements in everything they see. Once you start observing them, you will begin seeing shapes, colors, lines, and textures around you.

It can be fun to experiment by combining different elements to create your unique artwork.

What are the 7 Elements of Art?

If you love art, or even if you’re just getting started on your art journey, it’s essential to be familiar with the visual elements of art. These elements are like the building blocks of a good piece of art. When you understand how to use these elements effectively, it’ll be much easier to create something visually appealing and impactful. So here are the seven elements of art.


The Elements of Art Line is probably the most important in any artwork. You can use it to create shapes, define edges, and add movement. There are endless possibilities when it comes to lines. Lines can be straight or curved, thin or thick, horizontal or vertical.

And while Line might seem like a simple concept, lines can be pretty complex.

There are many different types of lines, each with its unique characteristics. Vertical lines are straight up and down, while horizontal lines move from left to right. Diagonal lines form a slope in one direction, and zigzag lines alternate between going up and down (or left and right). Expressive lines are usually irregular and exist to convey emotion, while contour lines define the edge of an object.

Lines can also be classified according to how they’re used. Closed lines form complete shapes, while directional lines point the eye in a specific direction. Straight lines are perfectly straight, and curved lines can be either soft or sharp. Continuous lines are unbroken, while interrupted or broken lines are well, interrupted or broken.

Line art consists of lines – no color, shading, just lines. Artists use lines in all sorts of ways. Some use it to create simple shapes, others use it to add texture or dimension to their work, and still, others use it as the primary element in their art. Depending on the artist’s vision, these pieces can be incredibly complex or simple.

What is the definition of a Line in Art?The line is an identifiable and visible path of an impression created by moving a dot from Point A to Point B.
Why do we use Lines in Art?You use Lines in artwork for the following reasons:
• Outline
• Shades
• Contour
• Texture
• Value
• Distance
• Movement
What are the different types of Lines?• Straight Line
• Curved Lines
• Horizontal Lines
• Vertical Lines
• Diagonal Lines
• Zig Zag Lines
• Horizon Lines
• Orthogonal Lines
• Contour Lines
• Implied Lines
• Hatching & Cross Hatching Lines
What are the Characteristics of Lines?• Line Weight
• Line length
• Line Texture
• Line Color


The Elements of Art Shape is another element that can be used to create visual interest. Shapes can be geometric or organic, two-dimensional or three-dimensional. And like lines, there are endless possibilities when it comes to shapes.

In art, shape refers to the property of an object that indicates its outline or form. Shapes can be either two-dimensional (flat) or three-dimensional (solid). Artists use shapes to create visual interest and a sense of balance in their work.

Organic shapes are those that are not based on geometric forms. They are often found in nature and are usually irregular in shape. Many artists use organic shapes to create representational artworks that depict things like flowers, animals, and landscapes.

Geometric shapes are those that are based on mathematical formulas. They are often regular in shape and include forms such as circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles. Many artists use geometric shapes to create abstract artworks.

Three-dimensional shapes are solid objects that have length, width, and height. They include forms such as cylinders, cubes, spheres, and pyramids. Artists often use three-dimensional shapes to add depth and dimensionality to their work.

An artist uses shapes to create visual interest, balance, and a sense of rhythm.

What is the definition of Shape in Art?A Shape in Art is an enclosed area created by a line on a two-dimensional surface.
Why do we use Shapes in Art?• Planning
• Communication
• Symbolize Idea
• Convey meaning
What are the different types of Shapes? Geometric Shapes
o Triangle
o Square
o Rectangle
o Rhombus
o Trapezoid
o Parallelogram
o Pentagon
o Circle
o Oval
• Organic Shapes
• Positive Shapes
• Negative Shapes
• Implied Shapes
• Biomorphic Shape
• Amorphous Shape
• Abstract Shape
• Representational Shape
What are the Characteristics of Shape?• Shape Length
• Shape Breadth
• Shape Area
• Shape Color
• Shape Texture


The Elements of Art Form is a three-dimensional shape. There are both organic and geometric forms. When we talk about form in art, we refer to an object’s shape, volume, and appearance. It can also refer to how elements are arranged within a piece of art.

Organic forms are free-flowing and natural, while geometric forms are more precise. Common forms include spheres, cubes, cylinders, and pyramids.

Artists often use form to create the illusion of depth or space.

The three-dimensional form can be achieved using overlapping shapes, shading, and perspective.

two-dimensional drawing can take on a three-dimensional form when viewed from different angles. The form can also create a sense of movement within a piece of art. For example, a dancer’s body creates all sorts of shapes and patterns.

The actual form of an artwork is determined by its physical properties, such as its size, shape, and volume. However, how the viewer perceives form is determined by its visual properties, such as lines, shapes, and colors.

While it’s one of the more basic elements of art, an illusion of form is essential for creating a successful composition.

What is the definition of Form in Art?A form in art is a three-dimensional representation of an object having length, breadth, and depth.
Why do we use Form in Art?We use Forms in art to
• Create Mass or volume
• Create reality in art
What are the different types of Forms?• Geometric Form
• Organic Form
• Three-Dimensional Form
• Eliminated Form
• Constructed Form
• Positive Form
• Negative Form
• Abstract Form
• Implied Form
What are the Characteristics of Form?• Form length
• Form Breadth
• Form Volume
• Form Color
• Form Texture
• Form Light


The Elements of Art Color is another crucial element that can make an artwork pop. As any artist knows, color is one of the essential elements of art to make artwork visually appealing. It can set the mood of a piece, create contrast, and highlight certain features.

The benefits of using color in art are numerous, but it can be tricky to get the hang of color theory. To help you, we’ve compiled a list of everything you need to know about color in art.

The first thing to understand is the color wheel. This tool shows the relationship between different colors and can be used to create harmonious color schemes. The three primary colors are blue, red, and yellow. They cannot be created by mixing other colors and are located at equal intervals on the color wheel. The secondary colors, green, orange, and purple, are created by combining two primary colors. And the tertiary colors, which are yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green, and yellow-green, are created by mixing a primary color with a secondary color.

Now that you know the color wheel’s basics, let’s understand complementary colors. These colors are opposite on the wheel and create stark contrast when used together. For example, purple and yellow are complementary color pairings. Complementary colors create tension and interest in your artwork.

Elements of Art Infographics showing 7 Elements of Art with descriptions

Another way to use color in your artwork is to create analogous color pairs. These are two colors that are next to each other on the wheel. Analogous pairs usually create more subtlety and harmony than complementary pairs. For example, red and orange are analogous pairings. Experiment with different combinations to see what kinds of effects you can create!

There are also cool colors and warm colors. Cool colors include green, blue, and purple, while warm colors include red, yellow, and orange. As a general rule, cool colors create a more calming effect, while warm Colors tend to be more energizing. You can use this knowledge to control the mood of your artwork. 

Finally, keep in mind that you can also control the brightness or darkness of a hue by adding white or black. The procedure is called tinting or shading, respectively. By playing with these different variables, you can create endless effects in your art.

What is the definition of Color in Art?Color is the residual reflection of light from an object emitted at a different wavelength.
Why do we use Color in Art?We use Color in the art to
• Create mood
• Create harmony
• Create vibrance
• Enhance the picture
• Show realism
What are the different types of Color?• Primary Color
• Secondary Color
• Tertiary Color
• Warm Colors
• Cool Colors
• Neutral Colors
What are the Characteristics of Color?• Hue
• Value
• Saturation


The Elements of Art Space is the element that ties everything together. It creates a feeling of depth and distance between objects in a work of art. Without space, a piece would feel flat and two-dimensional.

Space in art can be defined as the emptiness or area between, around, above, below, or within objects. It is often considered an integral part of a work of art, as it can affect the balance, mood, and overall design.

Many artists use space intentionally to create a specific effect. For example,

Positive space is the area that contains the main subject of a piece and creates a feeling of warmth or comfort.

Negative space is the empty area around it and may be used to create a feeling of tension or mystery.

In some cases, the artist may use both positive and negative space to create a sense of movement or energy. They can also use space to create a sense of harmony or discord, depending on how they arrange the elements within it.

Ultimately, space is one more tool artists can use to express their ideas and visions.

What is the definition of Space in Art?Space in art depicts the length, breadth, and depth in and around an object in the artwork.
Why do we use Space in Art?• Depth
• Realism
• Distance
• Perspective
What are the different types of Space?• Foreground Space
• Midground Space
• Background Space
• Positive Space
• Negative Space
• Two-dimensional Space
• Three-dimensional Space
• Shallow Space
• Deep Space
• Cluttered Space
What are the Characteristics of Space?• Emptiness
• Occupancy
• Overlapping
• Transparency
• Illusion
• Distance


The Elements of Art Texture is an element that deals with the surface quality of a work of art. Texture can be added to an artwork using various techniques and can also be implied through the choice of materials.

Texture can significantly impact the overall feel of a piece, and it’s one of the elements of art that can help bring a work to life.

Art has two main types of texture: actual texture and visual texture.

Actual texture is the natural feel of a surface when you touch it, so if something is bumpy or smooth, that’s the actual texture.

Visual texture is what we see when we look at a piece, regardless of whether we feel it. For example, if a painting looks made of fabric, that’s visual texture.

Tactile texture is another term you might come across; this means felt textures. An illusion of texture is where an artist uses techniques to create the appearance of texture, even though the surface is smooth. The illusion could be done using light, shadow, line, or color. So if a sculpture has raised bumps, that would be tactile texture.

Physical texture is an important category where actual textures meet visual textures. So if a painting looks like it has actual bumps and ridges, that’s physical texture. If an artwork looks like it has physical texture because of how it’s been painted, that would be visual texture.

Textures can help to bring your pieces to life and make them more interesting for viewers. Plus, using textures can be fun, so get creative and see what you can come up with. In short, there are many ways to add texture to your artwork, an element worth considering.

What is the definition of Texture in Art?The Texture is the feel and visual look of an object on the surface when seen or touched.
Why do we use Texture in Art?• Fills Space
• CreatesVValue
• Creates Uniqueness
What are the different types of Texture?• Tactile Texture
• Fictive Texture
• Contradictory Texture
• Repeated Texture
• Implied Texture
• Organic Texture
• Artificial Texture
What are the Characteristics of Texture?• Uniqueness
• Values
• Surface Hardness


The Elements of Art Value refers to a color’s lightness or darkness. This element is essential for creating contrast and adding dimensionality.

Values can be used to create depth and interest in a painting and can also be used to convey a particular mood or atmosphere. Value is an essential element of art and can be achieved through light and dark colors.

For example, a lighter value for the sky will create a sense of space and distance, while a darker value for the ground will make it seem closer.

Values can also be used to create contrast and visual interest. For instance, using light values for the background and dark values for the foreground will make the objects in the foreground appear to pop out.

In addition, values can be used to convey emotion. For instance, dark values may give the impression of sadness or despair, while light values may create a feeling of hope or happiness.

Values are versatile tools in many ways to create exciting and beautiful artworks.

What is the definition of Value in Art?Value is defined as the darkness or lightness of any hue or Color.
Why do we use Value in Art?Value in art is used for
• Show Shades
• Show Intensity
• Show the Direction of Light
• Show Base
• Show Light
What are the different types of Value?• Dark Value
• Light Value
• Intermediate Value
• Bright Value
• Dull Value
What are the Characteristics of Value?• Lightness
• Darkness
• Shades
• Hue

Why are the Elements of Art so Important?

Elements of Art are very important; you cannot create visual art without using at least one of the elements. The elements are the foundation for all visual art and must be used to create a successful work of art.

Each element has its rules and guidelines, which, when followed, will result in a harmonious and balanced composition. When composing a piece of art, it is necessary to consider all elements and how they will work together.

For example, if you are using color to create a particular mood, you must also consider how the other elements will affect that mood.

The same goes for value; if you use light values to create a sense of space, you must also consider how the other elements will affect that space.

All the elements must work together to create a successful and cohesive composition. Art is all about balance, so it is important to remember that each element has its weight and importance. Without them, art would be incomplete and unbalanced. They are all essential and must be used together to create a harmonious composition.

The elements of art are essential for creating visual art. So, next time you create something, keep the elements in mind.


The Elements of Art provide a foundation for understanding and creating artwork. These seven elements jointly form the art fundamentals and are essential to understand as an artist, regardless of your preferred medium.

By learning and applying the principles of these elements, you will be able to create more expressive and sophisticated pieces of art.

Have you tried using any of these elements in your work?


  1. PBS Learning Media
  2. National Gallery of Art

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What elements of art refer to the emptiness or area around the objects?

    Emptiness or area around the objects can have a few different terms, like negative space, periphery, and context. Negative space is the vacant area of an image that is not occupied by any objects and is the space between them. Periphery refers to the edge of an image or object and is the area that surrounds the object but is not part of it. Context refers to all the elements surrounding an object that help provide information about it.

  2. What element of art can be applied to any subject matter?

    The first element is a line, which creates shapes and patterns. Next is color, which can add mood or emotion to a scene. Third is value or the lightness and darkness of colors. Lastly, texture can give a three-dimensional feel to a two-dimensional image. All these elements can be used in any medium, oil painting, photography, digital art, etc., and with any subject matter.

  3. What element of art is derived from reflected or absorbed light?

    A few different elements of art can be derived from light Form, color, and texture, whether reflected or absorbed. Many artists rely on how light interacts with their work to create an effect or mood. Some even use light as their primary medium.

  4. What elements of art have Positive and Negative areas?

    A few elements have positive and negative areas, such as line, shape, and space. The line creates both positive and negative shapes. The shape has an inside and an outside; hence can be used to create either positive or negative space. And finally, space is the area around and between objects, so it can be used to create both positive and negative forms.

  5. Why is it important to use different elements in art?

    We use different elements in art because they can create a more exciting and diverse visual experience. Multiple elements can help convey a message or idea more effectively. Each element has unique properties and characteristics that express an idea or emotion in a painting, sculpture, or other work of art. By using a variety of elements, artists can create more nuanced and complex pieces that are richer in meaning and expression.

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