Seven Elements of Art


The elements of art are features used by an artist to communicate to the viewer in a work art. The seven elements in use are line, shape, texture, form, space, colour and value. They are tools used by an artist in creating a composition. Given below is a brief description of the various elements.

a) Line: Line connects two points they can be straight, curvy or angular, they can also be implied or abstract. Lines play an import part on the rest of the elements whether they are two dimensional or three dimensional. They are used to give a feeling of depth and structure and also in the creation of shape and form. The use of the different forms of the line to create art can impact the viewer.

b) Shape: It refers to geometric figures like square, circle, rectangle, triangle etc. Shapes are formed as a result of closed lines have height and width and are two-dimensional. Spaces like circles and square are geometric in nature while shapes which are curved and abstract are organic and they are derived from nature. For example, triangles help us to draw attention to a particular point while a circle symbolises continuity.

c) Colour: It is formed due to the scattering of light and is one of the important elements of art. There are three basic colours, blue, red and yellow. The three building blocks of colour are hue, intensity and value. The impact of a work of art is attributed to the colour used. It can be used as a form of contrast or to depict a mood.

d) Value: It is a reflection of the colour of the artwork in terms of lightness and darkness.
The lightest value corresponds to white and the darkest corresponds to black. The difference in values is termed as contrast. It is instrumental in changing the form and the mood of the artwork.

e) Form: It refers to the three-dimensional figure in the artwork. This effect is achieved by the use of shadows and perspective. A three-dimensional shape with depth is termed as form. Cylinders, pyramids and spheres are examples of the form. Shape plays an important part in sculpture and architecture.

f) Texture: It describes the quality of the painted area and is directed towards our sense of touch. Texture can be created by using synthetic material to give a sense of touch. Some of the textures are implied and two dimensional in nature. Some of the textures used are rough, soft, hard etc.

g) Space: The area surrounding the painted area is known as space. Space can be either positive or negative. Positive space is the area occupied by the object or form while negative space is the area between, around or through the objects. Artist often use shapes in their work to create the perfect composition.

These elements are the building blocks of an artwork. These seven elements are manipulated by artists and they are mixed with the principles of design to form an artwork. The principles of design used are contrast, rhythm, balance, pattern, emphasis, unity and movement. Artists mix these seven elements with the principle of design and create pieces of art. As a rule, a work of art may not contain all the elements but two are always present. Every work of art contains all of these elements, but at least two are always present. A sculptor needs to have both form and space in his sculptor as they are three dimensional. Art would be incomplete without a line also known as the moving point. It is essential in depicting objects and symbols. It is also used in defining shapes. Texture like form and shape is another element that cannot be ignored. Colour appeals to people who are visual learners and thinkers.

Mark making and Materiality

Mark making provides the artist’s interaction with the materials used. It gives the user a visual image of the creation of the work of art. The choice of materials used and the impact they have on the artwork is covered by Materiality.

Why Are the Elements of Art Important?

They are important for many reasons as an artist cannot create a work of art without making use of them. The benefits of elements of art are they help us to understand and analyse the work of art. It also provides a channel to communicate our thoughts. In the world of mathematics, the use of an algorithm makes it easy for the layman to understand that it is a procedure which is used in computations. Another instance is botanists who will use the word Rosa Rugosa rather than the word shrub rose. These are examples of language used in communicating. This analogy can be used with the elements of art as they help you in explaining your work in the art world.


The elements of art are both useful and fun. The knowledge of these elements will help you to analyse and appreciate a work of art or else create a work of art. This will be rewarding when you visiting art museums or galleries.