Elements & Principles of Art

Elements of Art

(building blocks of visual art)

Example of a line.


Line is the path of a point moving through space.

Example of shape/form

Shape / Form

Shape implies spatial form and is usually perceived as two-dimensional. Form has depth, length, and width and resides in space. It is perceived as three-dimensional.

Example of color


Colors all come from the three primaries and black and white. They have three properties – hue, value, and intensity.

Example of value


Value refers to relative lightness and darkness and is perceived in terms of varying levels of contrast.

Example of texture


Texture refers to the tactile qualities of a surface (actual) or to the visual representation of such surface qualities (implied).

Example of space/perspective

Space / Perspective

Space refers to the area in which art is organized. Perspective is representing a volume of space or a 3-dimensional object on a flat surface.

Principles of art

(use or arrangement of the building blocks of visual art)

Example of pattern


Pattern refers to the repetition or reoccurrence of a design element, exact or varied, which establishes a visual beat.

Example of Rhythm / Movement

Rhythm / Movement

Rhythm or movement refers to the suggestion of motion through the use of various elements.

Example of Proportion / Scale

Proportion / Scale

Proportion is the size relationship of parts to a whole and to one another. Scale refers to relating size to a constant, such as a human body.

Example of balance


Balance is the impression of equilibrium in a pictorial or sculptural composition. Balance is often referred to as symmetrical, asymmetrical, or radial.

Example of unity


Unity is achieved when the components of a work of art are perceived as harmonious, giving the work a sense of completion.

Example of emphasis


Emphasis refers to the created center of interest, the place in an artwork where your eye first lands.