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Element of Design: Shape

Shape is a two dimesional area confined by a actual line or implied line (an edge for example). In drawing shapes are created when the ends of lines are joined to enclose areas.

Types of Shapes

There are two general categores that are use to describe shapes.Geometric and Free-Form or Organic Shapes

Geometric Shapes

  • Can be described using mathematical terms
  • They are very regular or precise
  • They are more often found in man-made things because they are easier to reproduce and make things with
  • Examples of geometric shapes are: squares, rectangles, triangles, circles, oval, pentagons and so on.

geometric shapes

    Free-form or Organic Shapes

  • are difficult to describe using definitons
  • are irregular or uneven
  • are more often found in nature
  • example coule include the shape of clouds, puddles, trees, leaves, rocks and so on.

free form shapes

Positive and Negative Shapes

In most forms of art shapes may be considered positive or negative depending on how they are used. Positive shapes are usually those which are the subject matter withing a work of art. Negative shapes (or space) are those in the background or around the positive shapes. By viewing images as silohouettes, it is easier to understand what the positve shapes and the negative shapes are. See if you can identify the positive and negative shapes (space) in the silhouette images below

 
to line unit      
to shape unit
to value unit
to space unit
to color unit
to texture unit
to form unit
 
 
   
  positive and negative spaces examplepositve and negative shapes examplepositive and negative shapes example