2D (Shape) vs 3D (Form)

Shape and form are both Elements of Art, respectively. But what’s the difference between a shape and a form? Shapes are flat, and therefore, 2 dimensional (2D)… essentially, a shape is a line that encloses itself and creates an area. Shapes only have 2 dimensions (length and width). Forms, on the other hand, are not flat… they’re 3 dimensional (3D). Therefore, forms have a length, width and height. They take up space in a way 2D things can’t. They also have volume. Who said art isn’t related to math?

Examples of 2D shapes… square, rectangle, triangle, circle
Examples of 3D forms… cubes, rectangular prisms, pyramids, spheres

In art forms can be “implied” or “actual”… when forms are implied in an artwork, the artist creates an illusion… an artist may paint a cylinder for example, and it may look 3D dimensional… but it’s still not real. At least not in the same way an actual cylinder is. That is, it’s still flat. It’s just drawing 🙂 On the other hand, if you made a cylinder out of clay… now you’re talking actual form. Real form

Examples of 2D Art… a painting of a self portrait on canvas, a pencil drawing of a cat on paper, a colored pencil design of your name on cardboard

This value drawing of Spongebob is an example of 2D art. It’s a drawing on a flat surface.

Examples of 3D Art… a paper mache mask, a clay bowl, a wire figure

In constrast, this cardboard figure of Spongebob is an example of 3D art. It’s not a flat surface.

Can you think of other examples of 2D and 3D art?

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