8 Values, Principles, And Elements Of Art

Art is a field that may not be as sophisticated as science, technology, or IT, but it still has a lot of laws and principles that need to be followed. If we observe nature, we will see patterns and color combinations that follow certain criteria. 

These elements make them aesthetically appealing. Similarly, while making art, even the most abstract of pieces, artists follow guidelines and composition principles that make their final design appealing.

8 Values Of Art

These eight values of art lay the foundation of any art piece.

  • Expression

Artistic expression showcases the artist's feelings through their work. By looking at the art, you can tell what the artist might be feeling while creating it or what emotions the artist tried to portray in their art.


  • Creativity

Every art piece in the world depicts the artist's creativity through the art. Along with so many other factors, one can easily see the creative elements instilled in the art by the artist. This is the top value that artists care about. 

  • Aesthetic Value

How does the painting make you feel? Every artwork has an aesthetic value attached to it. This value is relative and changes for every person. Someone might find aesthetic value in an abstract piece, while someone else might deem that same piece complex.

  • Communication

Art is a great way to communicate. Every art piece in the world that's ever been made communicates something to the audience. Some pieces communicate the artist’s intended information, while others are dependent on how the viewer interprets that piece of work.


  • Cultural Reflection

Art and culture go side by side, as they both have a strong connection and both affect and depend on each other. Throughout different periods in history, different types of artwork have emerged, serving as reflections of the culture of that time and conveying the intentions of the artists in portraying their messages.

  • Skill Mastery

Every artwork is the product of its makers’ skill and proficiency. Some artists, like Leonardo da Vinci, had unmatchable skills in making people's portraits, while others, like Pablo Picasso, took a more abstract approach to their artistry. Miguel Camarena, on the other hand, excels at portraying the cultural aspects specific to a particular region, showcasing a high level of precision in this art.

  • Originality

Originality is one of the most important values in any trade. No one wants a second-hand copy of something. The world doesn't need another Michelangelo.

However, the need for original creativity and intellect will never end. Original content has an element of superiority attached to it because it's a result of your uniqueness, and there's only one such piece in the whole world.

  • Critical Thinking

From the viewer’s point of view, critical thinking is analyzing and evaluating art in order to provide a way to improve it. Again, like communication and significance, critical thinking is subjective and opinionated.

Critical Thinking

8 Principles Of Art

Following are some certain design laws that every artist must consider and follow before and during their art design.

  • Balance

Just like the word implies, balance in art means an equal distribution of the visual elements in the final art piece. Balance makes the art feel vertically and horizontally aligned, resulting in a more stable final product.

There are two types of balance in art: symmetrical and asymmetrical balance. Symmetrical balance means that both sides of the art piece mirror each other and are equal in length and appearance. Think of a butterfly; it’s the perfect example of symmetrical art.


On the other hand, asymmetrical art means that both sides aren't mirror images of each other but still balance out. Another type is radial balance. Here, the artwork balances out on all sides of the frame, starting from the center, just like a sunflower.

  • Proportion

In simple terms, proportion refers to the size of one object relative to another. Another word for proportion is scale. Imagine a boy sitting on a sofa. The most realistic proportion will have both the boy and the sofa in an accurate proportion to each other.


  • Emphasis

Emphasis is where the artist throws the spotlight on his artwork. It's the focal point where the artist gives all the importance. It's also the main center of attention in the art piece around which everything is arranged and depicted.


  • Variety

Variety means adding unexpected and diverse elements or colors to the artwork to change its monotony. It could be a sharp change in colors or other artwork elements. The variety makes the artwork dynamic.


  • Harmony

Just like music, where a single out-of-beat rhythm can disturb the whole tune, harmony makes the artwork intact and cohesive. It creates a smooth unity among all the elements of the artwork that all combine to give a feeling of togetherness.


  • Unity

Similarly to harmony, unity is the fact that all elements in the artwork have one main purpose: to work toward the final mission of the artwork, i.e., to portray whatever it is to be portrayed.


  • Movement

Movement is a way in which the artist showcases an action or a happening inside the artwork. Because it's still that action shown midway, it's not as easy as it sounds to create a moving effect in an artwork, and it requires a lot of art proficiency to do that.


  • Rhythm

Rhythm creates flow inside the artwork through patterns and repetition. Rhythm gives the artwork a heartbeat, bringing it to life even though it's still a stationary end product.


What is Composition In Art?

In art, composition means putting together the various visual elements in an artwork. Composition showcases the use of elements with regard to the principles of art.

Composition is an important element in most forms of art, such as music, photography, and writing. In art, an artist conveys stories and emotions through composition within a singular arrangement. There are many types of compositions in art.

8 Elements Of Art

Art composition consists of the following elements that collectively work toward making an art piece. 

  • Line

A line in art could be a dot or a series of dots. A series of dots makes a line, which can have variable characteristics. They can be angular, curved, organic, or straight. A line can be just 2D, or if given mass and volume, it could be portrayed as 3D.


  • Shape and Form

Shape in art means anything that has an outline. Shapes can either be geometric shapes (circle, square, or triangle) or organic free-form shapes. An example of a free-form shape could be the petals of a flower. 

Shape and Form

Form is the depth given to a shape. The form makes the shape look 3D. In sculptures, there is 3D form, while in paintings, there can be the appearance of form. The form can be simple/complex, organic/geometric, or abstract/figurative. 

  • Color

Color is what is perceived by the human eye when light strikes something. The basic color wheel consists of primary colors (red, yellow, and blue), which further form secondary and tertiary colors.


Color has characteristics such as hue, value, and saturation. Hue is the color itself, whether it’s purple, orange, or turquoise. Value is the brightness or dullness of a color. Saturation is the purity and sharpness of a color, i.e., how sharp or light it appears. 

  • Value

Value is an element in art where adding black or white makes the color dull or bright. Through value, an artist can input gradients into their work, which can be used for shading or highlighting. Value can also portray depth and perspective in an artwork.


  • Texture

Texture can either be felt through touch or sight. Using texture, an artist depicts their artwork or a portion of it as rough or smooth. Through texture, an artist can make an object look real.


For instance, a piece of wood, rock, or fabric has details that make it look real and accurate. The texture is added to things like landscapes and buildings with the skill of brushwork and layers of paint to give an excellent final product. 

  • Space

Space is all the surrounding area of an artwork around the focal point. The surrounding area can be positive/negative, shallow/deep, or open/closed, depending on what the artist wants to portray. 


Positive space is the space consumed by the focal point, while negative space is all the remaining area. Together, they both take up all the space on a canvas.

  • Contrast 

Contrast in art is where the artist utilizes various elements to create effects such as light, shadows, color, and composition. Through contrast, an artist intensifies the various elements in their work. 


  • Pattern

The pattern is a repetitive design that uses elements like shape, line, or color. It can be used to create various artistic depictions in an artwork. Patterns can be created using geometric designs with shapes or more complex ones incorporating organic elements.


Placement In Art

Placement in art means where the artists place different elements in their work. Placing an object of the right size in the right position in the artwork is fundamental to creating an artwork that is uniform and looks appealing to the eye. 

No matter how beautifully the subject and the objects are made, if they are not of the right size and placed accurately, they will not work as efficiently. Placement in art is foundational to creating any artwork.

What Does Subject Mean In Art?

The subject is the main focal point in the artwork, around which everything else is drawn or depicted. A subject is the title or the main topic of a painting. Subjects could be a singular entity in one portion of the painting or distributed throughout the canvas, like in the case of landscape art.

What Does Subject Mean In Art

Final Thoughts

Contrary to popular belief, art is a field that is more mathematical and logical than many. Many principles and laws need to be followed in order to create artwork that is perfect and appealing to the eye. An ideal mix of colors, shapes, and textures needs to be used to create the desired effects. A lot of research and learning should be put in before making an artwork. 

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