Exercise 1: Element of Art

Line and Color
In terms of art, line is considered to be a moving dot.  It has an endless number of uses in the creation of art.

Line can control an viewer's eye.  It can describe edges.  It can indicate form as well as movement.  It can also indicate value and a light source in drawing.i

When line is used for value or shading, we most typically see it used in the form of hatching or cross hatching. Although these are arguably the most common forms of using line for adding value, there is an endless number of ways that it can be used.

A simple way of thinking of a line is to imagine a point that moves...

Line is a moving dot

The most common use of line is showing where an object ends.  This type of line is called a contour line.  Contour lines are most commonly called outlines.

Line can show you where an object ends

Line can also create the illusion of form in a drawing. Line quality is the thickness or thinness of a line.  By varying the line quality an artist can show form in a drawing with just the use of line.

Line Quality

Line can also indicate shadow and form through the use of cross contour lines.  Cross contour lines follow the contours of the object.  Much like running your finger around the form of an object.

Cross Contour lines

Line- element of art.  In terms of art, line can be described as a moving dot.  Line is perhaps the most basic element of drawing.


Vertical lines - lines that move up and down without any slant
The Elements of Art- Line
Horizontal lines - lines that are parallel to the horizon
The Elements of Art- Line
Diagonal lines - lines that slant
The Elements of Art- Line
Zigzag lines - lines made from a combination of diagonal lines
The Elements of Art-Line

Curved lines - Lines that change direction gradually
            The Elements of Art-Line

Line Variation - adding interest to your lines is important in creating successful artwork

Length - lines can be long or short

The Elements of Art- Line

Width - lines can be wide or skinny

The Elements of Art-line

Texture - lines can be rough or smooth

The Elements of Art- Line

Direction - lines can move in any direction

Degree of curve - lines can curve gradually or not at all

Line quality or line weight - refers to the thickness or thinness of a line.  By varying the line quality artists can make objects appear more 3-Deminsional and more interesting

Hatching and crosshatching - using lines to create value

Hatching - lines going in the same direction
Crosshatching - lines that cross



Color is the element of art that refers to reflected light.  Color theory is defined as a theory because it cannot be proved. Theories are generally accepted, despite the fact that they cannot be proven. Laws are accepted because they can be proven. 

There are volumes and volumes of information available about color.  This page, while thorough, will present color theory in an "easy to understand" fashion. It is an exciting, ever-changing science.  Color has an affect over how we feel about objects, how we behave, and how our bodies react to circumstances.

What is color theory?

If color theory is simplified, it can be broken down into 3 parts- The color wheel, color value, and color schemes. Each part of color theory builds on the previous. Understanding each section of color theory fully, will help you better understand its importance in the creation of art. 
Color Theory Part 1- The Color Wheel
The color wheel was developed by Sir Isaac Newton by taking the color spectrum and bending it into a circle. If you follow around the color wheel, you will find the same order of the color spectrum- red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo(blue-violet), and violet.  Some remember it by the acronym ROY G. BIV.
The color wheel is made up of three different types of colors - Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary.
The primary colors are red, yellow, and blue.  They are called primary for a couple of reasons.  First, no two colors can be mixed to create a primary color. In other words, primary colors can only be created through the use of natural pigments.  Secondly, all other colors found on the color wheel can be created by mixing primary colors together.

The secondary colors are orange, green, and purple.  Secondary colors are created by mixing equal parts of any two primary colors.  Yellow and blue will give you green.  Red and blue will create purple(violet). Red and yellow will give you orange.
Tertiary colors are created by mixing equal parts of a secondary color and a primary color together.  There are six tertiary colors- red-purple, red-orange, blue-green, yellow-green, blue-purple, and yellow-orange.  Notice that the proper way to refer to tertiary colors is by listing the primary color first and the secondary color, second.
Color Theory Part 2 - Color Values
The second part of color theoery deals with color values.  Value is the darkness or lightness of a color.  When dealing with pure color (hue), value can be affected by adding white or black to a color.  Adding white to a color produces a tint...
Color Theory - Tints
Adding black to a color produces a shade...
Color Theory - Shades
When grays are added to the color, the intensity of the color is affected.  Intensity is related to value.
Color Theory Part 3-Color Schemes
Color schemes are ways colors are put together in an intelligent way
  • Monochromatic- literally means one (mono) color (chroma).  So a monochromatic
    color scheme is made up of one color and it’s shades and tints.
    Monochromatic color scheme
  • Analogous colors- are colors that are next to each other on the color wheel.
    When used as a color scheme, analogous colors can be dramatic. Ex. Blue, blue-green, green, and yellow-green; red, red-purple, purple, blue-purple
    ananalogous colors
  •  Complementary colors- are colors found directly across from each other on the color wheel.  Complementary color scheme provide strong contrast.  Ex. Blue and orange,
    red and green, yellow-green and red-purple.
    Complementary color scheme
  • Color triads- consist of three colors found on the color wheel that are equally spaced
    apart from each other. Ex. Red, blue and yellow or orange, green and purple.
    color triad
  • Split complementary- color schemes are made up of a color and it’s complements
    closest analogous colors. Ex Blue, yellow-orange and red-orange. Red-orange,
    red-purple, green.
    split complementary color scheme
  • Warm colors- colors that are usually associated with warm things.  Ex. Red, yellow,
    warm colors
  • Cool colors- colors that are usually associated with cool things.  Ex. Blue, purple, green

    cool colors