Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Diagrammatic Structure Analysis > Basic Shape

Instructional Strategy
  • Identify Similarities & Differences
Learning Activity


As an art student, I will understand and be able to...
  • Develop a learning process that nurtures awareness of compositional structure.
  • Learn to evaluate composition as a viewer.
  • Communicate my visual perceptions and knowledge with others.
  • Learn to integrate effective composition into my own visual creations.

  • Visual images can be reduced to diagrammatic shapes and lines in order to extract and clarify the compositional and proportional structure.  

New Information:

Awareness to the composition of a visual image enables us to assess whether it is arranged, organized or structured well enough to support the content (meaning) and intent of the artist.

The best way to learn the importance of composition and to recognize and evaluate it is to analyze a variety of visual images.  

An effective learning method is to make diagrammatic sketches using tracing paper or digital overlays on top of visual art reproductions.  In doing these diagrammatic analyses, we learn to extract and clarify the compositional structure.


  • Analysis = Identifying and examining separate parts as they function independently and together in visual creations.
  • Composition = the arrangement, organization and structure that supports the relationships between the visual elements into a unified whole.
  • Structure = the given relationships of forms and energies.

Analyze > Basic Shape Analysis Activity:

  • Perform a diagrammatic analysis of composition using basic shapes.
  • The basic shapes reveal structures that affect balance, symmetry and stability.

Extract > Structural Basic Shapes:

  1. Copy an art reproduction into an online image editor.
  2. Create a new empty layer on top of the art reproduction.
  3. On that layer, outline the format (the outer edge).
  4. On that layer, divide the art into basic shapes, (triangles, rectangles, circles).  

Analyze > Composition:

  1. Explain > proportion.  
    1. How do the size of the shapes relate to one another within the format?
    2. Does anything seem out of place?
  2. Explain > balance.  
    1. How are the shapes distributed within the format?
    2. Would this visual tip over?
  3. Explain > dominance/subordination.  
    1. Which shapes are foreground and which are background?
    2. Which shapes seem more important?
  4. Explain > Unity.
    1. Are the shapes well placed within the format?
    2. Do the shapes appear to ‘go together’ - is there a sense of coherence?