Element of Art: SHAPE
Notes and Examples of How to Illustrate Shape
A shape is a flat, two-dimensional area with height and width. It may have an edge or an outline around it.
Artists think of shape as being a flat area created when actual or implied lines meet to surround a space.
Shape can be geometric or organic.
Geometric shapes: precise, mathematical shapes. The basic ones are the circle, square and triangle. All other shapes, like the oval and rectangle, are variations of these basic shapes. Most geometric shapes can be drawn with a ruler.
Organic shapes are also called “free-form” shapes. They are irregular and uneven.
Organic shapes are often found in nature. They form natural curves or zigzags.
Examples: shapes of leaves, flowers and clouds.
Historical Example 1
Henri Matisse, Ivy in Flower, 1953. Colored paper and pencil, 112 inches X112 inches. Dallas Museum of Art.
Historical Example 2
Pablo Picasso, Three Musicians, 1921. Oil on Canvas, 79 inches X 88 inches. Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Some Good and Not so Good Examples
What makes one more successful than another?