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SHAPE is a familiar concept to most
of us. We all used to draw shapes when
we were children.
Shape is the area that something
takes up. It’s the outline, or the contour
of all the pieces in the drawing.
A more formal definition for SHAPE is:
The quality of a distinct object or body in having an external surface or outline of specific form or figure.
SHAPES –the flat enclosed area-
have got two dimensions:
length and width
FORMS have got three dimensions:
Length, width and HEIGHT
As said, basic
can be used to create
Most shapes occurring in the physical world are
Complex shapes combine parts or all of simple
These complex shapes include polygons and other shapes
that may include parts of
circles, squares, triangles, ellipses, and rectangles.
As organic elements are complex shapes, when drawing a natural landscape we need to simplify the
shapes in the early stages. When simplifying, think about geometric shapes –circles, squares, triangles…
For example, this complex
shape of a leaf can be
simplified in the first stage of
the drawing and then the
details can be found in the
Simplifying in the early stages is important so we can focus on the composition of the big picture.
Working BIG TO SMALL is usually a good idea.
3. Add details to
4. Add texture
5. Add shading
Getting distracted by the smaller details too early can hurt us in the long run.
A DYNAMIC SHAPE is the one that represents
movement and displays force or energy.
A STATIC SHAPE shows no change. It is characterized
by a lack of movement, animation, or progression.
SHAPES can be REGULAR or IRREGULAR
A REGULAR shape is a shape in
which all the sides and angles are equal.
An IRREGULAR shape is a shape whose sides are
not the same length or whose interior angles do not all
have the same measure.
GEOMETRIC SHAPES come from geometry, which is the math of shapes made of points and
lines. So, geometric shapes are made out of points and lines -including the triangle, the square and the
circle-. They are man-made and their perfect sides can be made by tools.
FORMLESS SHAPES don’t have a definite shape.
GEOMETRIC SHAPES are the opposite of ORGANIC SHAPES.
ORGANIC SHAPES are formless –typically irregular or symmetrical-
and more natural, with a flowing and curving appearance.
Organic Shapes include clouds, animals, people, trees, lakes,
flowers…. You name it! It is impossible to name all the organic shapes.
Geometric shapes glossary
GEOMETRIC SHAPES are man-men and have
perfect sides that can be made with tools.
ORGANIC SHAPES come from nature and
have no exact sides or perfect lines.
Henri Matisse, ‘Polynésie, la mer’, 1946.
Matisse gives us
shapes that stand out
thanks to a
composed of 10
geometric shapes –
Galatea de las esferas- Dalí
Dalí uses a geometric form –
spheres- to portrait his wife,
who is an organic shape.