Cultural and Creative Arts Notes

Principles And Elements Of Art And Design


  • Meaning of Art Principles and Detailed Explanation on the Art Principles.
  • Meaning of Art Elements and Detailed Explanation on the Art Elements.


Principles of art are the guidelines or laws that moderate the artist in the effective use of the art

elements when creating works of art.

The principles of art are as follows

  1. BALANCE: This is the equal distribution of the art elements in any work of art in order to achieve equal status. The art elements should be given equal weight to achieve balance. For instance,before making a sketch of composed still life objects, bear in mind that the sketched still life objects should be centralized on paper in order to achieve balance.
  2. DOMINANCE: An art element is meant to dominate or attract more  attention than other elements in a work of art. For instance, a colour dominating other colours  ina decorative  pattern . The dominating colour in the work becomes the center of interest or the eye catcher. Also, the dominance in an art work can be a caption, headline, motif or illustration.
  3. VARIETY: Different materials or different elements like line ,colour and shape should be interchanged in a work of art to make the art work look more interesting and visually appealing and prevent monotony.
  4. PROPORTION: This is the proper relationship and distribution of one part of a figure to another with reference to size, form, shape and number. In figure drawing, the head being the unit of measurement should not be outstandingly bigger than the remaining part of the human body. Therefore, all the parts of the human body should be evenly distributed.
  5. HARMONY: Harmony is the unity of all the visual elements (shape, space, tone, colourand line) in a compositional design. Harmony is achieved by repetition of characteristics the same or related.
  6. REPETITION: Repetition is the process of allowing some art elements to feature several times on a surface. Rhythm and repletion are closely related .Rhythm is simply the result of repetition.
  7. RHYTHM: It is the flow achieved by arranging the various elements in a repeated manner. Rhythm in pattern design produces a continuous flow of movement of some elements.


  1. Define principles of art and design?
  2. List and explain any two principles of art and design.


Elements of art are the basic features or components that are observed in any work of art. The tools used to solve artistic problems are referred to as elements of art and design.

The seven elements of art and design are as follows:

  1. Line
  2. Colour
  3. Texture
  4. Value or tone
  5. Shape
  6. Form
  7. Space
  1. LINE: Line is the mark that spans a distance between two points. It is simply the distance between two points. Line is also the point or dot in motion. Line is one art element that encloses space in order to form a shape. Line is applied as a means of drawing the outline of things using various drawing media like pencil , charcoal, crayon and chalk pastel. Line is used to express the outline of objects on paper.
  2. COLOUR:The effect of colour is produced when light strikes an object and is reflected back to the eyes. The meaning of colour differs from artists and scientist. Artists view colour as the pigment or hue  while scientists view as the decomposition of white light observed through a spectrum. Colour is applied when using sable or hog brush to paint and design sketched objects including free standing artworks and relief artworks in various media.
  3. SHAPE: Shape is the outlined edge of an object. Shapes like triangle, square ,rectangle and the likes ,can be used to create beautiful patterns and also compose free standing objects using paper. Every object has a unique shape which serves a guide to the artist when drawing.
  4. TEXTURE: Texture is the surface feeling, surface quality or touch value of an object. It is the way a work of art actually feels when touched with the hands. The texture of an artwork can either be rough, smooth, coarse or fine. The artist creates pleasant effects on his or her artwork by making it either rough or smooth, coarse or fine.
  5. VALUE OR TONE: Value is the relation of one part of a picture or drawing to the other part with reference to the degree of lightness and darkness. The effect of value is applied in drawing and painting. After making a sketch of composed objects, shade or paint one part of the composed drawn objects in order to show effect of light and shade. In terms of painting, one part of the composed drawn objects should have a lighter hue and the other part a darker hue. It comes in various degrees of colour like dark tone, middle tone , light tone and highlight. Toning of colours can be achieved by making a colour either light or dark. For instance,you can make a colour light or bright by adding white to it. E.g. WHITE AND BLUE when mixed together will produce a lighter hue SKY BLUE(TINT), while disintensifying or reducing the visual quality of a colour is done by mixing black with another colour. For example, mix BLACK AND BLUE to produce a darker hue NAVY BLUE.(SHADE)
  6. FORM: Form is visible appearance of an object in space. It is the shape of anything that has mass or volume. For example, a horse has a real form which makes it unique. Form is viewed by the artist as a king of contour and visible structure of any perceived idea. Therefore, there is a close relationship between form and shape as they are sometimes viewed to be the same or as one being a substitute to the other.
  7. SPACE: Space is where the artist provides to create a work of art. The open area where a work of art is meant to occupy is called space. From another perspective, space is the open area where a work of art is created. In drawing, the artist should mark out the space of the surface of cardboard to create the border area  and centralize the sketched objects within a limited space so that  the drawn objectsdo not occupy the whole space of the cardboard.


  1. What are elements of art and design?
  2. State any five elements of art and design and explain.


  1. What element of art and design is applied when sketching the outline of objects on cardboard with pencil?
  2. What is the other name for the musical symbols trebleclef and bass clef?
  3. What is harmony in a design?
  4. Define lettering.
  5. What do graphic designers call capital letters and small letters in graphics?


Cultural and Creative Art (New Edition) by Peter Akinyemi& Co- Authors. (BOOK 2)


Pages 1-3, 5 – 6


  1. The equal distribution of art elements in a work of art is based on what art principle.

(a) Proportion (b) Balance (c) Rhythm (d) repetition

  • The process of allowing line, colour and shape (motif) to feature severally in pattern making is based on what principle of art and design.   (a) Balance  (b) Proportion

(c) Repetition  (d) harmony

  • The distance between two points usually associated with drawing is called ……………….(a) line (b) colour  (c) value  (d) texture
    • The surface quality of an object or any artistic piece is called …………..……(a) value  (b) texture  (c) colour  (d) line

5.   A dominant element among other visible elements in a work of art is based on what principle of art and design.    (a) Balance     (b) Proportion     (c) Variety (d) Dominance


      1.What is variety?

      2.How is line applied in art creation?

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