Drawing Terms

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Cast shadow - The dark area that occurs on a surface as a result of something being placed between that surface and a light source.

Proportion - The comparative size relationship between the parts of a whole. For example, the size of the Statue of Liberty’s hand relates to the size of her head.

Scale - The comparative size of a thing in relation to another like thing or its ‘normal’ or ‘expected size.’ Scale can refer to an entire work of art or to elements within it.

Vantage Point - A point of view, or a place from which subject matter is viewed.

Silhouette - An outline drawing of a shape. Originally a silhouette presented a profile portrait filled in with a solid color.

Contour - The line that defines the outermost limits of an object or a drawn or painted shape. It is sometimes considered to be synonymous with “outline”; it indicates an edge that also may be defined by the extremities of darks, lights, textures, or colors.

Motif - A recurrent or dominant theme in a work of visual or literary art.

Perspective - A visual formula that creates the illusion of depth and volume on a two-dimensional surface. Perspective also infers a particular vantage point or view.

Gesture sketch -A quickly rendered, simple sketch that captures the energy of the past, present, or potential movements of living beings.

Portrait -An artwork depicting a likeness to the face and sometimes the entire body of a person or animal.

Realism -A style of art in which living beings and objects are represented in an artwork as they appear in real life without stylization or distortion.

Abstract -A style of art that may not depict a person, place, or thing. In some cases, the subject exists in reality but may be unrecognizable in the artwork. The subjects of abstract drawings are created with such elements as line, color, value, form, pattern, and shape.

Blind contour drawing -slightly unconventional method of contour drawing in which artists look only at the subject and not at their drawing paper as they work. By visually following the edges of the subject while drawing, both memory and visual intelligence are enhanced.

Value scale - range of different values that are drawn in order from light to dark or from dark to light.

Values - The various shades of gray in an artwork. A broad range of values can be achieved by using various grades of a medium and by varying the density of the shading lines and the pressure used