Background image of stainless steel forms and shapes with tint added with foreground saying Elements of Art Form

What is Form in Elements of Art?

A Form in Art is a three-dimensional defined space that has defined depth.  In Visual Arts, a Form is a three-dimensional representation of an object drawn on a two-dimensional plane. The Form has length, breadth, and depth to give a realistic look to the object.

Everything around us or in the art world is a Form or Shape. 

In Art, world form has two meanings. The first aspect to consider is the literal meaning, which pertains to the overall form of the artwork. That can be like painting, drawing, clay modeling, etc. 

The second one is based on the elements of Art, which is the three-dimensional image or object inside an artwork.

In this post, we are focused on the second type.

There are seven elements of Art, and one of them is the Form. Check out the complete list below.

  1. Elements of Art Line
  2. Elements of Art Shape
  3. Elements of Art Form
  4. Elements of Art Color
  5. Elements of Art Space
  6. Elements of Art Texture
  7. Elements of Art Value

Work Your Craft Until it Becomes an Art Form


When you see an Artwork, you do not break it into individual elements, but you see it holistically as an artwork. An artist uses few or all the elements to create his piece.

What are Elements of Art Form?

A Form in Art is a three-dimensional object depicted on a two-dimensional surface to give an illusion of realism to it. 

Shape in Elements of Art has Length and Breadth alone, and when we add depth to the shape, it becomes a Form.

We can see some two-dimensional shapes become three-dimensional when we add depth.

How do other elements of Art define form?

Other elements of Art also define the Form. It is impossible to create a form in drawing or painting unless we add other elements of Art to it. Form by itself is one element, and in addition to its other elements like line, value, Color, or textures get added. Let us see how this is possible.

Cube, Sphere, cone, Cylinder showing how other elements of art can be used to create forms
Other Elements of Art Create Forms

Form defined by Line

A drawing of a cube on paper can fit into this.  Here, the cube is a three-dimensional object having length, breadth, and depth, and we draw it using a line in addition to elements of Art, which is his line; the concept of perspective is added to it, creating a cube form.

Forms defined by Value

The concept is like a form defined by a line. Instead of lines, an artist can use values to create an implied three-dimensional image.   Let us take the example of a cone instead of a triangle when the bottom part is curved and adds value to one side of the triangle, giving a feel of light falling on the other side. It creates a three-dimensional illusion of a cone.

Form defined by Color

Forms can also be defined by Color.  An object drawn with a positive form having color contrast and a plain background can create a form.  Here the Form is created using a color plus shape with depth. 


Forms defined by Texture

Forms can also be defined by texture.  An object with various textures can create a beautiful form.  A simple negative form with a different texture can create a beautiful form.  In this case, the Form uses texture plus shape with depth.  We use dark textures to create a shadow effect.

Form categorized based on appearance

Like Shapes, forms can be Geometric forms and Organic forms.

What is Geometric Form?

Geometric form in Art is a term that encompasses the use of geometric shapes to create structure, symmetry, and other visual order. Geometrical forms are three-dimensional images or figures strictly guided by mathematical calculations and formulas. 

These forms have length, breadth, and height or depth in it.  Looking at a Geometric form, one can immediately say it is a cube, cylinder, pyramid, etc. 

Geometric forms are often used for their aesthetic value as well as being an effective way to convey complex messages without words.

Since ancient times, geometric forms have been around but were not considered part of fine arts until the Renaissance era. Geometry existed even before written language, the first form of visual communication.

From prehistoric cave paintings to Roman mosaics and Islamic architecture, geometrically patterned art can be found worldwide.

How does Geometric Shape become a Geometric Form?

A geometric shape only has length and breadth and is two-dimensional.  When depth or height adds to the two-dimension, it becomes a Geometric Form.

By adding depth and volume to the shapes, the shapes turn into forms in Art.

  1. A Square becomes a Cube
  2. A circle becomes a Sphere
  3. A Triangle becomes a cone
Image of Square, Cube, Circle, Sphere, Triangle, Cone and in organic form Leaf, Mountain and tree are drawn depicting Geometric Form Vs Organic Form
Geometric Form Vs. ORGANIC FORM

What is Organic Form?

An Organic Form in Art is an element of design consisting of organic shapes. Organic means growing, and organic Art is drawing images of hand-made free-form shapes. It does not follow a strict geometric pattern.  

Organic forms are free, do not follow any formula or pattern, and are easily found naturally.

An example of Organic Form is animals, humans, flowers, trees, or plants. 

The key element of organic form is that it does not follow a rigid structure or geometric or linear pattern.

An organic form in Art is an essential design element, creating visual interest and beauty. It can be described as curvy, fluid, or free-form shapes.

The act of drawing is organic because you are using your hand to create an image, which can be organic.

Organic forms sometimes are a mixture of several geographical forms.  However, it cannot be identified individually but can be holistically called a dog figure, human figure, etc.

Forms based on Dimensions

Dimensions of any form are its length, breadth, and height. Forms can be categorized based on two or three dimensions.

What is a three-dimensional form?

An example of Form in Art is Sculpture.  A Sculpture is a three-dimensional art form that we see from all sides. In ancient churches and palaces, sculptures were made as remembrances, and famous personalities, gods, or kings’ sculptures were carved and kept.

These are made of stone, bronze, casting, clay, plaster, plastics, metals, or mixed media.  It occupies the physical space in terms of volume.

Is there a two-dimensional form?

No, there is nothing like a two-dimensional form; a two-dimensional object can only be called a shape.  We can draw on a three-dimensional surface, have depth in how we draw, and have a realistic look.

It will have an illusion of three-dimension on a two-dimensional surface.

Forms based on the creation method

Eliminated or Subtracted Form

Sculptures usually have eliminated Forms or subtracted Forms. The artist chips the stone to create the sculpture and, in the process, removes the substances to give the required Form.

Added Form

A clay modeling is done using the added Form.  An artist creates the clay model and keeps adding certain forms to improve.  The artist uses clay to create a human form and adds the body, limb, head, fingers, etc., to complete the Form.

Constructed or Built Form

A plaster or casting comes under the category of built Form.  The Form is built in the form of mold, and the main Form has no addition or subtraction. The artist may smoothen certain areas of the Form, but that’s it.

As civilizations progressed, many new forms of sculptures were made by artists, and these were not getting restricted only to stone. Artists use unconventional materials to create abstract forms expressing artists creativity and innovations.

Forms Based on Other Factors

What is Positive Form?

A Positive form in drawing or painting is a three-dimensional subject or object with length, breadth, and depth other than the surrounding space.  There can be more than one positive Form inside the frame.

A positive form in a real-life sculpture is the sculpture itself, and it is viewed from all directions, and all other surroundings or backgrounds cannot be considered positive forms.

It can also refer to the solid piece of items in the art space.

What is the Negative Form?

A Negative form in drawing or painting is the background or the surrounding space around the positive Form, a subject or an object which is three-dimensional visually.  Like the positive Form, the negative Form will have its length, breadth, and depth other than the surrounding space. 

A background of a portrait eliminating the subject in the portrait can be called a negative form.

In real life, the surroundings in and around the sculpture or an abstract artwork using mixed forms can be called a negative form.

In art, both positive and negative forms work in conjunction with each other.

What is Abstract Form?

An abstract form of Art does not represent any specific objects but conveys some inner meaning. 

The forms can be either geometrical Forms or organic Forms.

Modern-day exhibits have abstract art forms. Abstract Art, in addition to Form, will use Color, textures, and shapes.

Abstract forms are used mainly in Modern Art and architecture and are found in many art galleries nowadays.

The doctrine that states that the aesthetic qualities of a work of visual art derive from the visual and spatial properties

Branko mitrovic – philosopher and architect

What is Implied Form?

An Implied form in Art is a form that is created using different techniques to give an illusion of depth, height, extension, or contrast.

We understand it may not be present, but other elements supporting the object or artwork create an illusion. Shapes get converted into form using different drawing elements, resulting in an implied third dimension.

In a two-dimensional painting or drawing, an artist can create implied Form using depth and perspective in his picture.  We can separately see how different elements in Art can create an illusion.

Study every Form in nature and artwork. They are beautiful. The more you learn, the more you will know, and it improves your ability to recreate it in your painting.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why is Form an element of Art?

    Form as an element of Art creates a sense of order and unity within a composition and helps to convey emotion or feeling. Forms can also be used to give depth and create illusions of space.

  2. What is the use of forms in Art?

    Forms in Art can create a sense of order and stability and draw attention to specific elements of a composition. In addition, forms can create focal points drawing the viewer’s eye toward the artist’s intended point of interest.

  3. How do you describe shape and Form in Art?

    Shape and Form are two of the most essential elements of Art. The shape is a visual perception of a form, whereas Form refers to the physical shape of an object. The shape is an area enclosed by other shapes or lines, while the Form is defined as the three-dimensional quality of an object.

  4. Why is Form important in Art?

    The Form helps create a sense of three-dimensionality and realism in an image. It can be used to create emphasis or focal points within an image. They can also be used to create unity or variety in an artwork.

  5. What elements of Art should you use to create a form?

    Forms are created with one or more of the elements of Art. Some elements that can be used to create Form are line, shape, space, value, and texture. Each element caN be used in various ways to create different forms. The important thing is the intention behind the creation.

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