Elements of Art/Shape

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CoverIntroLineShape2D & 3D


Shapes are created with lines in a given space, either real or imaginary. Shapes can be endlessly rotated. There can be organic shapes or geometric shapes.

Different shapes[edit]


A circle is a shape with only one side created from a single, continuously curved line which encompasses the whole of the shape.


A triangle is a shape comprised of three straight lines which meet at three endpoints - the bottom side is horizontal, and the other two sides are diagonal, meeting each other at a point.


A square is a shape which is made of four straight lines which intersect at four points at 90 degree angles: the top and bottom lines are parallel to one another, as are the two lines comprising the sides of the square. In a square, each of the sides is the exact length of the other sides (a rectangle is a different shape where the opposing sides are equal in length; thus, all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares.)


A shape with 5 sides. The bottom side is horizontal, there are two vertical sides that are parallel and the two top sides are diagonal.

A common use of the pentagon is to draw a house.


A shape with six sides. 4 sides are diagonal and 2 are horizontal.


Three-dimensional shapes[edit]

Three-dimensional shapes are not flat; instead, they create depth which creates form and the shapes appear touchable.


A round figure where every point on its surface an equal surface from the center.

Examples: ball and globe.



A solid or hollow object that tapers from a circular base to a point. It is a geometric shape formed from the base with lines that connect to one common point.

Examples: funnel, traditional ice cream cone, traffic cones, and classic party hats.



A cube has 8 endpoints, 12 edges and 6 faces. At every endpoint 3 lines intersect, and at an intersection any two edges are perpendicular to each other. Everything about the cube (edges, faces..etc) are equal. Think of a square with depth.

Examples: Rubik cube and classic ice cube.


A shape with two identical ends (often a shape) and flat sides that connect the ends. There are two common prisms: triangular and rectangular. However, a prism could be any shape as long as it is a polyhedron which means all faces are flat and all edges are straight This rules out a cylinder because it is curved.

Putting shapes together[edit]

Most shapes in art are combinations of the shapes described above. They may be expressed (that is, they have a clear outline) or implied (the viewer has to seem them for his/herself).

Also, different shapes can be put together for interesting results.

Rotating shapes[edit]

Effects of shapes[edit]




Weight can capture the viewers eye by creating two-dimensional shape(s) that has a force that an element applies and attracts the eye.

When it comes to shapes, you will notice that when you have shapes that are irregular, like an irregular triangle or quadrilateral, it will appear lighter than that of a regular shape. The reason for this being, is because irregular shapes make is appear as though part of the mass is taken away.

When you put more elements into a space you are giving that space more weight.


Height has an effect on both two-dimensional forms and three-dimensional shapes. It related to how tall the shape can be made or stretch too. By having a variety of heights with shapes you are able to have all different types of proportions with how tall each shape is, one could be extremely tall while the other is shorter.

Chapter summary[edit]