Elements of Modern Art

The elements of art are the visual tools that the artist uses to create a composition. These are line, shape, color, value, form, texture, and space. The principles of art represent how the artist uses the elements of art to create an effect and to help convey the artist’s intent. The principles of art and design are balance, contrast, emphasis, movement, pattern, rhythm, and unity/variety. The use of these principles can help determine whether a painting is successful, and whether or not the painting is finished. Concept boards is still important in all elements of modern art.

Line: A mark made with a tool or brush moving across a surface. Lines can vary in width, direction and length.

Shape: Shapes are flat areas defined by edges; geometric (e.g., squares and circles), natural/organic (leaves or rocks), biomorphic (shapes that appear to be generated by living things). All shapes are either two-dimensional (flat) or three-dimensional (has depth).

Color: Used in art to create emotions; warm colors (reds yellows) advance while cool colors (blues greens) recede.

Value: Refers to lightness or darkness of a color; can be used to show depth in an image.

Elements of Modern Art

The elements of art are the building blocks used by artists to create a work of art. Line, color, shape, form, space and texture are the main elements of art. Together they are used to create a composition. Artists arrange these basic components in different ways to create different types of art.


Line is a mark made with a tool. It can be straight or curved. Lines can be horizontal, vertical or diagonal; thick, thin or various shades of gray; implied (suggested by other things) or real (actual). Lines can be used to define shape, make patterns, suggest movement and influence the mood of a work. They can also be used to divide space.


Shape is an area defined by lines or edges. Shapes can be geometric (mathematically precise) or organic (irregular). Shapes are considered positive (black) or negative (white), depending on how they are used in a composition. Positive shapes fill the space and negative shapes define the space around them and between them.


Form is a three-dimensional object having volume and depth.

As a website design gets more complex and closer to being complete, the elements of art and design become increasingly important.

There are seven elements of modern art: line, shape, color, texture, space, value, and form. They are the building blocks that artists use in their work.

Line is a mark with greater length than width. Lines can be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal; straight or curved; thick or thin. Artists use lines to help define shape in a work of art and to suggest mass and volume. Lines can also indicate movement, speed and direction. They can be used to create texture within a drawing or painting. Lines are also an important element in photography and graphic design as they can add depth to a composition or help lead the viewers eye through an image.

Shape is defined as a two-dimensional area that is defined by other elements of art (i.e., color, value, lines). Shapes are everywhere you look! Artists use shapes to create images that represent real objects (such as a fruit still life), imaginary objects (such as the head of Medusa), or abstract images that do not resemble anything we see in the natural world (such as Piet Mondrian’s Composition with Red Blue and Yellow).

Artists use the elements of art to build a visual language that communicates the meaning and message of their work. In turn, viewers use the elements to understand and interpret the artist’s work.

The elements of art are used by artists and designers as a means of organizing visual information. They are the building blocks of a work of art—the tools an artist uses to create an image or design.

Artists can express and communicate ideas through representation, abstraction, or non-objective art. The elements of art can be used individually or in combination with each other. Artists can arrange different combinations of the elements to produce pleasing works that achieve their intended purposes. Book now for our free online colab with some artist.

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