Shape in Art

what is shape in art?

Shape in art can be better understood when compared with its counterpart, which is form, one of the other art elements. Shape is based on two dimensions, namely, it has width and length. Form is three-dimensional, namely, it has a width, length, and height. Shapes are flat in appearance due to their two-dimensionality, and they are usually described as “enclosed” lines.

building blocks

Shapes are often described in terms of being building blocks; we can start an artwork by first drawing the main shapes that will be needed and expanded on.

shape and space

Positive and negative spaces can also be utilized to determine shape in art. This is done by looking at the subject matter that takes up the positive space and the negative space.

types of shape in art

organic shape

Organic shapes are often referred to as other terms like “free form”, “irregular”, “asymmetrical”, and “biomorphic” or “natural”.

organic shape

It is important to note that organic shapes can also appear angular, but without the precision that they would have when it is more measured. 

geometric shape

Geometric shapes are typically measured by mathematical tools. These shapes are often associated with terms like “man-made” and “predictable”.

geometric shape

Kazimir Malevich was famously known for his work in the art style called Suprematism, which gave the most basic shapes like squares the prominence of new art, without representational meaning.