Some notes on Line, Shape, Size, Proportion and Movement

Garden restaurent

 Here I am not going for theoretical discussions or definitions, rather I would like to give simple clarifications.

 We all knew what is Line.

 When we were children, we used to draw vertical and horizontal lines in our exercise book to put our writing in order.

 As children, even though we didn’t know what is drawing, we used to draw pictures with pencil. These lines are not vertical or horizontal rather more they are curves. To draw a head, to draw a tree or to draw an animal we have to use mostly curved lines. Children draw mountains with diagonal lines.


  These are the lines used in art with little bit refinement as we grow.

  Vertical and horizontal lines show order and stability along with calmness. Curved lines will bring beauty. Beauty lies in curves. Female form is more beautiful than its male counterpart, because it has more curves. Diagonal lines express energy and dynamic movement. Remaining all the lines will be created by these three varied lines.

   So lines can be used in many ways. Art students have to understand the functioning of different lines.

  Some lines thick, thin, sharp, blunt, zigzagging, wave like, curved and many more varied lines we use and create depends upon our purpose.

  What is this purpose? It is what we want to tell… what we want to express.

  This expression can be anything from creating beauty to ugliness, pain to pleasure, passion to detachedness….whatever it may be … the line will be a powerful tool to express them.


  It is not just expression, Line will be used to capture the shapes, sizes, and their proportions.

  In nature we won’t see lines. We see only shapes. The trees, houses, clouds, animals and people …all are shapes. But they are having edges. Because of these edges their shapes, sizes and proportions will be decided. We call these edges as boundaries. These boundaries will be marked with lines.

  Here the lines can be used as measuring scale. This measuring scale will decide the sizes of shapes and their proportions.

  Without the help of measuring scale of line we won’t capture three dimensional illusion of space on our two dimensional picture space.


  Another important function of the line is …Movement.

It will make our eye to move from one place to another place. It will push us to see the whole scene, if it is in visual order. All great artists used this visual order in their work to push the viewer, to see their work as a whole. This visual order is …Composition and design.

Finally one thing we all have to remember…Line is only a tool to create a structure. So we have to understand the structure with its character. Then the ‘ line ‘ will be useful to us with its power.


  Form, Space, Pattern and Texture

  Form is three dimensional.  It requires some space to exist. In real world we see varied forms existing in actual space. Sculptors, Architects use this real space to create forms. They are three dimensional.  We can see them from different angles.

But when it come to the art, artist has only two dimensional picture plane. By using design principles he has to create three dimensional illusion on that two dimensional picture plane. To create this illusion he has to use elements of art and principles of design.


    Once again I am telling, I am not interested to go to detail descriptions of these  elements. What I am explaining here is simplification of their functions. Art students has to put intensive labour hours to practice to understand them.


  When form occupied certain space, we call that space is positive space. Whatever space is not occupied by forms on the picture plane that is negative space. These positive and negative spaces are very powerful tools to understand and measure the size and proportion of the shapes.

   Taking these shapes, creating volume and making them as forms, placing them in spatial arrangement is a part of creating depth of picture space.