If we are ever to begin to design our own art, we need an understanding of the various elements and principles of design, and how they combine to create an overall pleasing visual effect. So far, in previous posts, we have looked at Line and Shape, and how they contribute to art forms. This week, we focus on the element of ‘SPACE’ and find how it can assist to create a better design.
Week 3 – Space
Space as an element of art that refers to the area around objects: either Positive Space: that is areas occupied by an object or form and, Negative Space: the area in, between, around, or within objects. Every positive shape is surrounded by negative space.
You can further divide Negative spaces into: –
– Passive negative space – this separates visual elements, and includes things like margins and the spacing between letters, words, or lines.
-Active negative space – this draws the viewer’s eye to something, or help viewers focus on the objects that they should see, instead of making their eyes look all over the place.
I love art but I don’t feel I am artistic; I love to draw, but don’t feel I am adept; I love to design but don’t have any technical training. What to do about it? Thanks to the World wide web, we can learn a lot more about design techniques and apply them to our art.
Every artistic piece contains some, or all, elements of design. These elements are then combined with a number of design ‘principles,’ in order to bring together an eye-pleasing, cohesive visual unit. Knowing these elements and how to use them, can make all the difference between being able to produce an eye pleasing piece of art, or a disjointed, unattractive one.
Elements and Principles of Design*
Every visual piece is comprised of certain design elements or parts which may include Line, Direction, Shape, Size, Texture, Value and Colour – in that order. Design Principles, (which I will talk about later), are applied to the elements in order to bring them together into a cohesive unit. How the principles are applied, determines the overall effectiveness of a design.
Week 1 – SHAPE
Firstly, let’s look at the element: ‘shape’ and its role in design.
“A shape is defined as a two or more dimensional area that stands out from the space next to, or around it, due to a defined or implied boundary, or because of differences of value, color, or texture. All objects are composed of shapes and all other ‘Elements of Design’ are shapes in some way.”[Kovalik and King]
Mechanical Shapes or Geometric Shapes might be the shapes drawn i,n a design, using a ruler, compass or drawing template or tool. Mechanical shapes, whether simple or complex, produce a feeling of control or order.
Organic Shapes are freehand drawn shapes that are complex and normally found in nature. Organic shapes produce a natural freer feel.
Rangoli is a traditional and transient form of art drawn in chalk by Hindu women, in southern India, on the front steps and entrances of buildings as part of a daily devotional practice. The decorations use ‘shape’ in a variety of styles and motifs which vary according to different tribal groups and festivals. There is more information about Rangoli here.
The Acanthus leaves is an organic shape used prolifically in Norwegian Rosemaling: particularly Gudbrandsdal style. Os Rosemaling frequently uses mechanical shapes such as circles and diamonds.
I am currently running a Design Sketching Challenge in a Facebook group I admin, and I’d love to extend this invitation to you, to join a blogging version of this challenge here, on our blogs. The challenge is a great way to encourage those who would like to sketch, but don’t yet have the confidence or motivation, to try.
Seeing others strive for, and share, their artistic journey can increase inspiration and awareness of one’s design skills. You never know what you are capable of, unless you try! You can opt in and out as you wish. See more about joining in below.
Here are my sketches based on the first prompt: Shape
Using organic shapes of leaves and flowers I found, in my garden, I created this sketch:
It needs further adjustment and improvement, so I try another.
Still not satisfied, my final sketch for this first prompt, comprises circles, semi-circular arches, some natural elements in the leaf like scrolls and the heart-shaped flowers. I used a simple border to frame and hold together the design in one cohesive unit.
Would you like to join me in the Design Challenge?
What you Need to Do:
Draw a 15-20 minute sketch or sketches using your own idea, or the prompt ‘shape.’
Write a post about titled Design Challenge Week 1, upload your sketch and include a link back here to Something to Ponder About
Next week I will post links to those blogs that participated.
Leave a comment here on this post, so others can find their way to your blog.
Follow me to view each week’s prompt posted on a Sunday.
Something Creative to Ponder About
* N.B. I am not a tertiary qualified Art teacher and don’t purport to be one. I have based this information on my own research and experience. I am happy to take on board further input and or any corrections, deemed necessary, by way of comments on this post.