The principles of design in art can be a little abstract which can make them tricky to introduce to kids. But once kids understand that these principles are just tools that artists use it all falls into place.
Here’s the thing about the element of shape- kids draw shapes all the time. Young children naturally draw in two dimensions. There are some elements like form and space that can be little more daunting for a student of any age to really understand and illustrate. But, shapes? Exploring types of shapes in art can be enjoyed by even the youngest artist.
Forms have length, width, and depth. This simple one page download is a great place to introduce the element of form and begin learning what form is and how to create the illusion of form in two dimensions!
The concept of value in art has many possible definitions. For most kids the element of value in art may bring to mind a valuable painting they saw in a museum or maybe even a good deal on a new set of paints.
The element of space is a pretty special one. It’s that secret ingredient that makes art go from coloring book outlines to art that looks like you could reach out and touch it.
As kids get older they tend to get a little more hesitant to create art. They begin to notice how their “ability” stacks up to the artist next to them. It’s not lost on them when their artwork doesn’t look much like the teacher example hanging at the front of the room.
The element of space helps kids create realism!
Using the tips included in the printable below gives kids distinct steps to create the illusion of depth in their artwork, and thereby create some realism! Having some tools to draw from gives kids the courage to keep making art!
Perspective is a great way to create the illusion of space!
I have to admit any kind of art that requires breaking out a ruler is not my favorite! But this book by Liron Yanconsky may make me reconsider my dislike of teaching perspective and try it again! Perspective Drawing for Kids: A Perspective Drawing Guide for Kids, Including Detailed Explanations & Step by Step Exercises is a great resource for both teacher and student! This book is especially good if you don’t feel extraordinarily confident in teaching your child about perspective but think your child would enjoy this side of art. It is something you can learn together!
While perspective is not my favorite art practice what I do love about teaching perspective is that it tends to appeal to a group of kids that maybe don’t love some of the more creative, loosey- goosey forms of art. These tend to be the kids that veer toward the logical; the ones that would make great architects and engineers gravitate towards this type of art making.
This is a great time to talk about the idea that not all “artists” sit around painting pretty pictures for a living. Art can be useful. And there are MANY ways to be an artist!
How to use this element of art printable
The goal of this printable is to give kids an easy way to record some basic ideas about how to create space. I would suggest limiting the subject matter in each “square” to something as simple as a circle. Using only a circle they can illustrate how to overlap, how to turn a circle into a sphere with shading, etc.
Using only circles (and maybe a horizon line) in each illustration will keep this exercise short and to the point.
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Looking for more elements of art resources…
I think that teaching the elements of art is the perfect place to start when teaching the elements of art! So much so that I created a huge vereis of printable element of art resources- all free! Check them all out here!
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Texture in art can be a tricky thing to define. It can mean how something feels (actual texture) or how something looks like it would feel (implied texture.) Use this free printable about the different types of texture in art to help explain this art basic to your student!
Line is an essential element of art and a great place to start with kids because it is so un-intimidating. Pointing out the element of line, types of lines in art, and uses of line in art is an easy place to start!
The element of line is an easy one. Start here….
As kid get older art can be intimidating. Making art can be something that makes kids clam up with an instant “I can’t.” I love introducing the elements of art to kids because it gives them an easy place to start. Everyone can draw a line, then another line, then a different kind of line. Before they know it they are making all kinds of marks; which is a great beginning to making art!
After being able to draw lines comes the next best thing about introducing line in art. And that’s being able to talk about art. Being able to identify a single element like line or color gives kids of any age a place to start when they look at art!
Books about types of lines in art….
As always art and children literature are an easy connection for me. Look! Drawing the Line in Art by Gillian Wolfe is a great resource for older elementary through middle school. I love that it uses famous works of art and points out how the element of line is used. It’s a great book to spark a discussion even if you don’t read it word for word!
Check out this list of books about all the elements of art for more easy ways to teach about the elements of art!
Making different types of lines…….
After reading this and chatting for a bit to get some ideas generating we moved on to this little handout. This handout will eventually be a part of a book for my older elementary homeschool co-op art class. We’re working our way through the elements of art one class at a time! See this post for a run down on all the free element of art printables!
I like to use only black Sharpies in this exercise so the element of line is really isolated! (If you’re worried about the markers bleeding through try these pens!) Using only black marks forces students to look at the differences in the quality and characteristics of the lines they make, not color.
I like to hand out this line printable out without students seeing an example done by me or anyone else. Ideally kids will have some space around them so their ideas are their own! If they cannot see their neighbors work it’s amazing to see how many different types of lines kids can come up with just given the directions to make lines with Sharpies!
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Do you want a copy of this element of line printable for your kids to use and learn from? This resource is free for Kitchen Table Classroom subscribers. Just use the form below to become a subscriber. Then check your email and confirm that you really meant to subscribe. Upon confirmation you’ll receive the PDF immediately!
As a subscriber you’ll also begin to receive my weekly newsletters. That means my newest fun projects and free printables will be delivered right to your inbox! You can unsubscribe at any time.
What if you’re already a KTC subscriber…
If you are already a subscriber- thank you! You can still go through this same process to grab this printable about the element of line in art. It’s quick and easy! You won’t be sent duplicate emails- I promise.
After you become a KTC subscriber you’ll also receive a password to my Free Resource Library where you can browse all the free printables! You’ll find this one page printable about the element of line in art, dozens of other elements of art resources, and SO much more! (I’m talking hundreds of free pages!)
Lines can vary in length, width, and direction…..
Start with discussing and making lines that vary in length, width, and direction. This is a concrete idea that is easy for kids to grasp. If you have reproductions available this is a great place to point out how these different types of lines in art are evident in great artwork. You don’t have to get fancy here. Show your kids a piece of artwork and talk about what they see or don’t see.
If you’re looking for great places to see art check out this list of museums with great virtual tours. You can discuss art from the couch!
Uses of lines in art…..
Why do artists use all these different types of lines in art? Besides using lines to direct the viewer’s attention or suggest a shape, pattern, or form lines can have an emotional impact in an an artwork. Introduce the idea that lines can illustrate feelings. This is a more abstract idea. It can help the kids to get this if you can let loose and be silly a bit. Creating lines with feeling can be fun to demonstrate on a large surface like a roll of paper, a chalkboard, or a large whiteboard!
If your kids feel comfortable it’s fun to do a little show and tell and take a look at all the types of lines that the kids came up with!
Learn more about line…
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Christmas can be unbearably exciting when you’re a kid. The presents, the traditions, the food, the parties can cause a near painful amount of anticipation. How about channeling some of that excitement in a positive way and making something? This little printable Christmas book is the perfect answer! These free Christmas printables make memory making easy!