The Elements of Shape, Form, & Value

Before we get started there are a few things you need to know. . . .

What is shape?

In simplified terms, shape (one of the elements of art) is a flat area defined by enclosed edges or an outline. The main thing to remember is that shapes are 2D, they only have height and width, whereas forms are 3D. Forms are a whole other element of art on their own, but we’ll get to that. Artists use shape in all kinds of ways, whether it’s to build up forms or to create shape language. Shape can be divided into two simple categories to explain -- geometric and organic.

Lesson 1--Shape (Organic/Freeform & Geometric)

What you will need for today:

Step #1

Watch the videos above about the element of Shape.

Step #2

Print off worksheets and complete directions on each sheet. 

Step #3

Turn completed work into Google Classroom 



gouache on paper

Beasts of the Sea

Henri Matisse



gouache on paper, cut and pasted on white paper, mounted on canva

Lesson 2 --Notan, Positive/Negative Shapes

Positive and negative shapes

All shapes can be described as either positive or negative:

The way positive and negative shapes act together creates the atmosphere of a composition.


Notan Positive/Negative Shapes

Lesson 3 --Value

What is Value?

The definition of value, also known as tone, is how light or dark an image is, and how those lights and darks are organized. It’s much easier to understand and visualize them when put into a scale or a gradient. When a color is lighter, that means it has a lighter value, white being the lightest value you can have. When a color is darker, that means it has a darker value, black being the darkest value you can have. 

What you will need for today:

Shading PPT.pptx

Step #1:

     View the video. 

Step #2

Go through and view the PowerPoint. 

Step #3

Once you are familiar with the element of Value you will complete the Value Activity Sheet(click below and print). 

Lesson 4--Creating Forms

What is Form?

Form as an element of art is an enclosed 3-dimensional space. Like a shape, a form has height and width, but it also has depth. The main thing to remember is that while shapes are 2D, forms are 3D.

Artists use forms for a wide variety of things like perspective and foreshortening. Forms can be broken down into two categories just like shape -- geometric and organic.

What you will need for today:

Step #1

Today you will practice shading. You will be creating the illusion of three-dimension in your drawings. Watch the videos about Form and Shading. 

Step #2

Once you are familiar with the concept practice using the Shading a Form activity Sheets. (Clicking the button above then print)

2-Shapes to Forms Poster.pdf

Lesson 5--Shading Layer

What you will need for today:


Step 1:  Watch the instructional videos and go through the PPTs below. 

Step 2:  Use the instructions on the assignment sheets below to create Shading Layers creating different values to create the illusion of depth. 

Copy of Copy of Instructions for a Layered Value Study
Shading Assignment handout page 1.docx
Shading handout page 2.docx

Lesson 6--Paper Airplane Drawing

Paper Airplane

What you will need for today:

In this drawing activity,  you will be drawing from life. You will create a paper airplane from lined notebook paper and draw the airplane. Then you can get creative by adding a fun theme or design in the background.

Step 1:  You will make an airplane out of lined paper. Sit your airplane on the table. Then draw a contour line drawing from direct observation of your paper airplane in the center of the 12"x18'' drawing paper. Then shade to make it look 3-D and appear to be sitting on your paper.

Step 2Add blue and red lines to your airplane with colored pencils. Make sure your drawn lines follow the lines of your notebook paper airplane. Make them look realistic. 

Step 3: Trace a sheet of copy paper behind the airplane.

Step 4: Choose a theme for your drawing. 

Step 5: Add at least 2 objects to the drawing from direct observation that appear to be sitting on the paper. Don't forget to add shading to make them appear to 3-D/sitting on top of the paper.  Example: Pencils, pens, keys, erasers, basically anything that works with the themes you have chosen. 

Step 6Add a background design/theme to the piece of paper you drew behind your airplane. You MUST add color.  


Value Drawing Paper Airplane

Chloe M.

Issabella M. 

Elana T. 

Karry L. 

THANK YOU to the following site for their info:

Julianna Kunstler

Drawing & Painting - The Virtual Instructor


Mrs. Zotos