7 junio, 2024

The 10 elements of drawing and their characteristics

The drawing elements are combined to achieve a figure. All the elements are in the mind while drawing, but as you practice, they become almost immediate and involuntary.

The necessary elements are line, shape, proportion, perspective, light and shadow. The combination of all these allows the final result to be achieved.

These skills build on each other. That is, understanding what a line is leads to understanding shape, which leads to understanding proportion, and so on.

When drawing the right hemisphere is used, the artistic part is activated. You look at the world in terms of lines, shapes, and colors, and the relationship between these elements.

Main elements of the drawing

1 point

Most basic element. It is formed from the moment the drawing tool (pencil, brush, crayon, marker, digital pencil, etc.) is placed on the area intended for drawing.

2- Line

It is the base element of the drawing. The line separates one area of ​​the drawing plane from another. A simple line segments the piece of paper in two.

The more lines are added, the more complex and numerous the separations become. A line can be uniform, and all the same width or different widths.

3- Shape

The shape starts when the first line is drawn. Form is the information that is presented between two or more lines, it is an element enclosed by a line.

The shape defines the object to be represented. Incorrect use of the shape results in a drawing that does not look like what it is supposed to.

4- Proportion

It is the size of one figure in relation to the size of another. Proportion is what dictates that, in humans, the legs are longer than the arms, the middle finger longer than the index finger, and the nose the same length as the width of the eyes.

If the ratio is wrong, the drawing doesn’t look right.

5- Perspective

It is the illusion that things further away appear smaller. To make something appear to be further out of the plane, it is drawn smaller than the object that is furthest in front.

Perspective drawing gives a three-dimensional feel to an image. In art, it is a system that represents the way objects get smaller and smaller as they get further away from the scene.

Simple or one-point perspective is the simplest method of making objects look three-dimensional.

6- Volume

Similar to perspective, except that in the case of volumes it alludes to the extension and magnitude of the drawn body (length, width and height). Like perspective, through light and shadow a three-dimensional perception of the body is obtained.

7- Light and shadow

Light and shadow are used to create depth and atmosphere in a drawing. To make a realistic drawing you need to add a shadow to it because everything in the real world has a shadow.

A drawing without a shadow appears to be flat, two-dimensional, and unrealistic. Adding a shadow adds a bit of perspective to the drawing, because it indicates that there is something in front of or behind the object that casts the shadow.

8- Structure of the complete drawing

Before starting to draw, the elements of the drawing must be located on the paper. The size of the paper surface is taken into account and the elements of the drawing are placed on it.

For example, to draw a human body from head to toe, you would mentally place the head at one end of the paper to make room for the rest of the body to fit.

The shape of the drawing plane determines the composition of the drawing.

9- Texture

Texture is a two-dimensional technique that, based on strokes, establishes a series of perceptions about the drawing, giving it more or less realism. When a drawing lacks texture, it is flat, while if it does have it, it must generate sensations that can be felt in reality, that are tactile.

10- Color

The drawing may or may not be colored. However, it is one of the most important aspects of plastic and visual arts, being in many cases subject to form. Its application can radically change the perspective of a drawing, influencing the psychology of the observer.


Editor (2006) Drawing Basics, modes of thinking. 12/07/2017. Learn to Draw. learntodraw.com
John Ruskin (2014) Ashmolean: The elements of drawing.07/12/2017. John Ruskin’s Teaching Collection at Oxford. ruskin.ashmolean.org
Editor (2016) The Design elements of composing drawing. 12/07/2017. Dummies. dummies.com
L. Menezes (2000) Three-dimensional numerical simulation of the deep drawing process. 12/07/2017. Journal of Material Processing Technology.
M. Kaufmann (2003) Drawing graphs: methods and models. University of Tübingen, Germany.

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