Introduction into Shapes and Forms

What are shapes and forms?

Shapes and forms are the most important parts when creating artwork. Geometric and organic shapes can help to you to create complex drawings and paintings, affect composition and help to balance your artwork.


Shapes: In the visual arts, a shape is a flat enclosed area of an artwork created through lines, textures, colours or an area surrounded by other shapes such as triangles, circles or squares.


Form: A form is an artist’s way of using elements of art and principles of design. Form means objects that are 3-Dimensional with length, width and height. Forms are either geometric or free-form.


Light, value and cast shadow

Light displays itself in a drawing through value. “Value” simply means how light or dark something is. Generally, darker values are used for shadowed areas, and lighter values are used for highlighted areas. Values that are in between are referred to as mid-tones.


Reflected light: Light bouncing back into the form shadow from the surroundings.


Shadow: The areas on an object/surface where light does not hit or exist.


Cast Shadow: This is a shadow that is left by the object but isn’t on the object itself.


How do I create a cast shadow?

To create a cast shadow you need to draw straight lines from the light source to the outside edges of the object. Continue that line until it hits the other object. You need to use the object’s same perspective points for the shadow. The cast edge of the object does not change vanishing points.

Tip:Many artists prefer to draw cast shadows the way they feel it makes sense, which you could try, and if it’s in the right position your drawing will begin to appear 3D. Learn more about shapes and forms with my in-depth step by step Masterclass of Drawing, Design and Creativity with Color Pencil and Pastel.

Scroll to Top