The visual elements

Overview of the visual elements

A basic understanding of the visual elements is essential to purposeful teaching in the visual arts. The following visual elements are the basis of two-dimensional and three-dimensional composition:

  • Line
  • Shape
  • Form
  • Colour and tone
  • Pattern and rhythm
  • Texture
  • Spatial organisation

The teacher should be aware of the visual elements and informally draw attention to them as they arise in the children’s work, in the work of artists and in the observed environment. Awareness of the elements and their interplay is essential to quality design in both two and three-dimensional work, including craft. A developing visual vocabulary and a growing ability to think visually and spatially help to focus children as they strive for visual expression.