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Visual Elements: The Grammar of Illustrators by a0z144mx


									                                                                      EECE 441
                                                                       C. Sibley

      Visual Elements: The Grammar of Illustrators
1. Line

Line—“path made by a moving point” (Reynolds 1).

“Artists use line to suggest direction, motion, energy, and mood” (Norton
128). Lines control the movement of your eyes across a piece of artwork.
“Lines can direct our eyes around and through a composition” (Katz 62).

Line shows framework, patterns, and textures.

Contour line: defines and describes the edges or outlines of a subject.

Gesture line: quick, rough line capturing shape, form, and movement
(Reynolds 1). Randolph Caldecott was a master at drawing gesture lines.

Line can be imagined.

Five main types of line:
 Vertical
 Horizontal
 Diagonal
 Curved
 Zigzag

Words to describe line:


      Contour lines—outlines the shape but also shows surface lines, such as
      folds of clothing and lines of facial features

      Crosshatching—crossed lines for shading

    expresses movement in a graceful, flowing way
    amount of movement in a curve depends on how tight the curve
    the less active the curve the calmer the feeling
    change direction gradually to form curves, spirals, and circles
    sense of sweeping, turning, and bending
    graceful
    softness
    less definite and less predictable than straight lines


           restless energy
           slanted
           loss of balance and uncontrolled energy
           may appear firm and unmoving if holding something up, as a
           appear to be either rising or falling
           action, movement, tension, drama, excitement

Edge—outline not used. Edge exists where one shape ends and
     another begins.

Fuzzy—suggest dreamy, mysterious mood


Hatching—shading with series of parallel lines


   parallel to the horizon and look like they are lying down
   suggests calm, rest, sleep, comfort, quiet, relaxed
   stability, absence of conflict

       security, peace

Implied lines—shapes suggest lines

Jagged—suggests a breaking down, destruction, danger



          refers to outer edge of a shape as if you traced around it
          seems to have little depth





Thick—boldness, strength

Thin—delicate, ephemeral

    move straight up and down, perpendicular to the horizon
    Static, potential energy (if the lines would fall)
    Stability, height
    Lack of movement
    Strong
    May give impression of dignity, stiffness, formality because
      they stretch toward heaven.
    Often connected with religious feelings
    Can make objects look tall


       Combination of diagonal lines that connect at points
       Creates confusion, excitement, nervousness

   Two vertical lines connected by horizontal line at top suggest something
     solid, safe, stable.

2. Color

   Color—“element of art comprising hues produced through the reflection
   of light to the eye” (Reynolds 36).

   Color is an extremely important element in book illustration. Combining
   line and color is perhaps the most common way in which artists convey
   mood and emotion in picture books.

   Color appeals directly to our senses and emotions

   Consider how colors match the mood or content of the story:
   Black—unknown, fears, death, evil, sophisticated

   Bright—loud, may create happy upbeat moods

    Blues, greens, purples/violet
       Associated with air, water, and plant life
       Suggest emotions ranging from tranquility to melancholy
       May be mysterious or depressing
         Blue—sea, sky, soothing, restfulness, coolness, constancy, truth,
            ice, cold
         Green—spring, hope, restfulness, coolness, rebirth, serenity.
            Negative connotations—poison, jealousy, decay
         Violet—royalty, puzzling

Dark colors and shadows—may suggest fear and danger

Earth tones—comfortable and friendly

Gold—royalty, luxury, power

Gray—humility, penance

Hue—pure color

Intensity—brightness or dullness of a hue

Monochrome—color scheme that uses only one hue in all its tins and shades


Natural colors—browns, greens, yellows, oranges—suggest nature and are

Neutrals—black, white, browns, grays

Pastel and muted colors—calm and quiet mood

Primary colors—red, blue, yellow—suggest excitement, happiness, and action

Secondary colors—orange, violet, green



Value—lightness or darkness of a hue


          Purple
               Justice
               Royalty

        Depression
        Suffering
        Church
   Reds, yellows, oranges
     Warm or hot connotations
     Associated with fire, sun, and blood
     May suggest friendliness
     High energy
     Anger
     May have religious overtones—Buddhist monks wear orange
   Red
     Warm, bold, flashy
     Strongest color
     Danger
     Vitality, passion, love
     Blood
     Fire
     Anger
     Provacative
     Gaiety
     Martyrdom
     Revolution
     Royal color for China
   White
     Brightness, hope
     Death (as noncolor)
     Cold, unemotional
     Purity, peace, faith, joy, good
     Cleanliness
   Yellow
     Sun, warmth, bright
     Exciting
     Cheerfulness
     Fruitfulness
     Renewal & growth
     Spring & summer
     Jealousy

3. Shape

  Shapes are two-dimensional areas with a recognizable boundary.

  Shapes are enclosed areas. A shape is solid matter that defines an

  “Lines join and intersect to suggest shapes, and areas of color meet to
  produce shapes” (Norton 133).

  Different shapes have different connotations depending upon line and
  colors used.

  Shapes are another way to emphasize mood of a picture and story.

  “Shapes that lean toward the protagonist feel as though they are
  blocking or stopping forward progress, whereas shapes leaning away give
  the impression of opening up space or leading the protagonist forward.”
  (Bang 26).

  Two basic shapes
     Organic (free form)
        Natural
        Irregular and curving
        Uneven
        Common in nature and handmade objects
        Pleasing or soothing to viewers
        Comfortable
     Geometric
        Exact and rigid
        Often rectangular
        May have mechanical origins
        May connote complexity, stability, assertion, severity
        Unemotional or express total lack of feeling
        Pure shapes may express spiritual ideal
        5 basic geometric shapes—circle, square, triangle, rectangle,

Angular—suggest strength

Asymmetrical—unbalanced, irregular, dynamic


Curved—secure, comfortable, graceful

Diagonal shapes—imply motion or tension

Dynamic shape—leaning, swirling


Horizontal shapes—sense of stability and calm


Pointed—danger, fear, threatening



Smooth shapes



Static shapes—peaceful, vertical & horizontal shapes

     Rectangles, squares, ovals
         Suggest calmness and solidity

Textured shapes

            If three equal sides (equilateral) or on a flat base, represent
               stability, balance
            If triangle placed on diagonal, gives sense of movement

     Vertical shapes
            Exciting and active
            Imply energy and reaching toward heights or the heavens

4. Texture

  “Book illustrators manipulate such visual elements as line, color and shape
  to create textural imagery that satisfied curiosity about how something
  feels” (Norton 135).

  “Texture is the element of art that refers to how things feel, or how
  they look as if they might feel on a surface” (Ragans 175).
      Tactile quality














5. Space

  Space—refers to the area within, around, between, above, or below

  Overlapping shapes create feeling of depth.

  When values are closely related, space appears to be flattened.

  Positive spaces or figures—areas of a surface occupied by a shape or

  Negative spaces—empty spaces within or surrounding the shapes or

  Ambiguous space—reflections, mirrors

  Bottom half of picture
      Objects feel more threatened, constrained
      Objects are heavier and sadder
      Objects feel more grounded, more attached to the earth and less

  Center of page
      Center of attention

      Point of greatest attraction

Upper half of picture
   Place of freedom, happiness, triumph
   Spiritual
   Feeling of being lighter and happier
   Give sense of floating or flying
   Objects placed on upper half of page have more emphasis, greater
      pictorial weight

Space may appear
    Open
    Closed
    Congested
    Deep
    Shallow
    Narrow
    Wide
    Large—larger objects in picture feel stronger
    Small—smaller object in picture appears vulnerable, faces danger

Depth—“sense of depth accomplished by arranging pieces so that the
thinner they are, the higher up on the page their bases are placed” (Bang

Edges and corners of a page
    Closer the object is to edge or corner, the greater the tension

Focus—more detail appears in closer objects, less detail in distant

Intensity & value—use of colors that are lower in intensity and lighter in
value for objects in the distance

   Perspective—“use of size variation, overlap, value, and converging lines to
   create the illusion of three-dimensional space (depth) on a two-
   dimensional surface” (Reynolds 31).
       Linear perspective—slanting lines cause objects to seem to come
         together in the distance

       Distant objects placed higher in picture
       Closer objects places lower down in picture

   Point of view—looking at, up, or down at things

   Shadows—consider how shadows appear within illustrations

   Size—distant shapes appear smaller than closer ones

6. Value/Dark & light
   Value refers to the degree of darkness or light.

   Chiaroscuro—“Italian word for light and dark. In painting, a method of
   modeling form primarily by the use of light and shade” (Janson 794).
       “method of arranging light and shadow to create the illusion of
         form: also called shading or modeling” (Reynolds 8).
       A famous example of the use of chiaroscuro is in da Vinci’s “Mona

   Crosshatching—technique of using crossed lines for shading.

   Dark values
       Have black added
       Often associated with evil, fear of unknown, death

   Light values
       Have white added
       Used to symbolize truth, hope, new life
       Feel safer than dark values

Value contrast
    Light values placed against medium or dark values
    Dark values placed against medium or light values
    Center of interest may be area with the most extreme contrast.
       Place where lightest light and darkest dark come together.

                              Works Cited

Bang, Molly. Picture This: Perception and Composition. Boston: Little,
      Brown, 1991.

Gatto, Joseph A., Albert W. Porter, and Jack Selleck. Exploring Visual
      Design. 2nd ed. Worcester, MA: Davis, 1987.

Hawley, Suzanne W., and Carolyn V. Spillman. Literacy and Learning: An
     Expeditionary Discovery through Children’s Literature. Lanham,
     MD: Scarecrow, 2003.

Hobbs, Jack, and Richard Salome. The Visual Experience. Worcester,
     MA: Davis, 1991.

Janson, H.W. History of Art. 3rd ed. New York: Abrams, 1986.

Katz, Elizabeth L., E. Louis Lankford, and Janice D. Plank. Themes and
      Foundations of Art. Minneapolis: West, 2000.

Norton, Donna E. Through the Eyes of a Child: An Introduction to
     Children’s Literature. 3rd ed. New York: Merrill, 1991.

Ragans, Rosalind. Arttalk. Lake Forest: Glencoe, 1988.

Ragans, Rosalind, and Jane Rhoades. Exploring Art. Lake Forest:
      Glencoe, 1992.

Reynolds, Nancy Walkup. Art Lessons for the Middle School: A DBAE
      Curriculum. Portland, ME: Weston Walch, 1992.

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