The visual elements

Colour and tone

Colour in art is referred to in terms of hue, tone, intensity and temperature. The basic characteristic of pure colour is called hue, for example yellow, red, blue. Tone is the lightness or darkness of a hue. Intensity refers to the relative strength or weakness of a hue. Temperature in art terms (but not in precise scientific terms) refers to the warm and cool halves of the colour spectrum. Developing awareness of colour and its impact on everyday life is vital to developing children’s visual awareness and awareness of the effects they can create with colour in their own work.

Tone in art refers to the range of values from dark to light usually represented in a scale from black through grey to white. It can depict light and shade, make objects in two dimensional drawings appear three dimensional. Tone can be made by line or areas of colour. Tone can create mood and atmosphere e.g. a haunted house.

Colour can transform, be limited, change moods and opinions.  It is both natural and man made – complimentary and contrasting.  It can be mixed, matched and blended.  Some colours have a special meaning that evokes images and ideas e.g. a blue mood.

Each child handles materials, thinks feels and imagines in an individual way which we as teachers must foster and encourage.  The thinking and expressing of new ideas, the recording and responding to what is seen are all important as are the exploration and control of media and the sharing and appreciation of their own work and that of others.  Drawing activities should be planned in such a way to foster, encourage and develop these in a progressive non threatening way.