Have you ever marvelled at a painting that looks just like a photo, and wondered what the artist had done to trick your eyes? Why does a cube look more realistic than a square, and what goes through a sculptor’s mind when he or she creates a new work?
The answer to all three questions is the use of form. Read on to discover this exciting element of art!
Let’s warm up with a quick exercise of “I spy with my little eye”—what makes Picture A and Picture B different from each other?
The objects in Picture A are shapes. They are flat, with length and breadth.
Those in Picture B are forms. Like shapes, they have length and breadth. What makes them different from shapes is their depth.
Depth is what gives forms their three-dimensional appearance.
Have a look at Picture C again: While the square only has one side, you can see different sides of the cube because of its depth. This causes the cube to pop out and seem more realistic than the two-dimensional square. Can you see that in the picture above? This is exactly what happens when you see a painting that appears realistic!
Now that you’re getting the hang of it, give your understanding of form a try in this quiz!
How did you do? Do you know a little more about form now? Awesome! Let’s move on to the next step and find out about the different types of form and how to tell them apart. Yes, there are different types of form, so let's find out more!
Did you know that you can express yourself using a few types of form in art. The most basic two are geometric and organic forms. Find out about their main traits and differences!
a. Regular and precise
b. Static and stiff
c. Almost every side looks the same.
d. Often found in a man-made environment. Think about tall skyscrapers, streetlamps and bridges.
a. Irregular and unpredictable
b. Curvy and flowy
c. Each side can look very different from the other.
d. Often found in nature. Think about rocks, animals, or even your own body!
Grab a sketchbook and pencil the next time you head out for a walk or when you want to do something fun at home. See if you can find five organic or geometric forms around you, and record them through drawings.
Many artists have displayed artworks with geometric and organic forms at Esplanade over the years. Are you able to spot which is which?
An artist who focuses on form and has shown her artworks at Esplanade several times is Han Sai Por. She is one of Singapore’s most celebrated sculptors. Find out more about her life and inspiration in this quiz.
Han Sai Por and the World of Form
Now that you've learned a little more about form and how it helps to make paintings look realistic and sculptures playful, it’s time to explore the world of art with our knowledge of forms in depth! Download the two activity sheets below to discover more about Han Sai Por’s artworks and make your own pinch pots.
Awesome! You did it all by yourself! Great job for getting through the basics of form. Now that you have come to the end, take this fun quiz to find out which type of form you are before impressing your friends and teachers with your newfound knowledge.