The Importance of Form

This month, we are discussing form, the third of the seven elements of art, which are the visual tools artists use to compose their work. Two dimensional artists have the challenge of displaying the third dimension on a flat surface.

Think back to our earlier newsletter when we discussed value. Highlights and shadows are necessary to create form. Once an artist paints or draws a subject, form begins to appear through the strokes and marks. When drawing or painting an apple, one needs to create the illusion that it is ready to pick or eat. Portraiture, on the other hand, leans on lights and shadows to exhibit the complexity of the human face.

So, if realism is important in your art, then your items will need to incorporate highlights and shadows to bring out the essence of form.

-Look for form in this line illustration of mushrooms. Can you see a receding edge in each mushroom indicating roundness?

-Look for the lights and darks which show clues for facial features. Without these strokes, the profile would look flat.


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