Following is a vocabulary the list of Elements and Principles I use for
students to critique their work. I can't find the critique sheet just yet.
Somewhere in my files. I'll look.
1. Elements of Art: The basic visual symbols used by the artist to create
works of art.
Line, shape, texture, and color/value are elements of design.
2. Line: An element of art that is a continuous mark made by a tool as
it is drawn
across a surface.
3. Shape: An element of art that is two-dimensional, and encloses space.
can be divided into two categories--geometric shape and organic shape.
4. Texture: An element of art that refers to the tactile quality of a
5. Value: An element of art that refers to the relative darkness or
lightness of an area.
6. Color: An element of art that refers to the character of a surface,
derived from the
response of vision to the light reflected from that surface.
7. Principles of Design: The means by which the visual elements are
integrated into a unified arrangement or composition. The basic
design are emphasis, balance, harmony, variety, movement, rhythm,
8. Emphasis: Principle of art by which the artist combines contrasting
colors or other elements to place greater attention on certain
areas in a work
9. Balance: Principle of art that arranges elements in a work of art so
that they seem
to be "weighted" evenly throughout.
10. Harmony: A way of combining elements to accent their similarities and
picture parts into a whole. It is often achieved through the use
11. Variety: The use of many different elements in a composition. An
of lines, colors, shapes, forms or textures in a work of art.
12. Movement: Principle of art that uses elements to create the illusion
13. Rhythm: Principle of art that uses repetition of visual elements in a
work of art
to create a feeling of movement.
14. Proportion: Relationship of elements to one another and to the whole
terms of their properties of quantity, size and degree of emphasis.
15. Unity: A principle of design that relates to a work of art whose many
parts seem to connect well to one another.
16. Gradation: A gradual, sometimes subtle change from light to dark,
smooth, or from one color to another.
>Somewhere out there, there is a list that fits on one page, that is
>helpful to anyone trying to learn how to discuss art. It has the art
>elements and principles listed, and below each one, there are
>descriptive words that can be used to discuss each element and
>principle. It gives kids a base to start from when they are describing
>E&P. Pretty soon they won't need the list any more. Chicago Art
>Institute has a list of questions to fit each category; describe,
>analyze, interpret, judge. Next time I'm back at school (yes, I'm
>off!!!!!) I'll look for mine and send a copy to Judy so she can post
>them on IAD. We have some great resources for our art a la carte parent
>docents to use to guide them along these lines.