Some important art ideas and links collected for my digital art lessons and used in my CS and CSTEM classes.
Most of this is written quickly for student use.
Art Elements and the computer
Art elements is the basic vocabulary of art. Most artists agree with this list. These elements can be found in any kind of art.
Line: all drawings begin with a line. Lines can be very expressive when used alone. When lines are closed, they form shapes.
Computers are very good at drawing perfectly straight lines. The Pen drawing tool in vector drawing tools gives complete control on the line. Each node can be moved to change the line.
Shape: art work is made of different shapes. Varied or repetitive shapes can be found in most artwork.
Computers are very good at drawing perfect shapes as well as duplicating shapes.
Color: this is the fun part of art. The use of color and the relationship between colors often decides the success of the artwork.
Computers are very good at filling in shapes with color and creating the exact shade of color. Computer uses ‘Red, Green, and Blue’ as the basic colors as represented by the RGB values. See more below on color on the computer.
Texture: refers to the ‘feel’ of the artwork. It can be actually bumpy with thick paint or implied paint, or looks shiny for example. This can be done on computer painting applications that try to create the effects of oil paint and other conventional art medium.
Space: How space is used or not used in the art is important. Space is defined by areas of light and dark values or by lines.
Some add form, value, direction and size to this list
More on Art elements can be found at :
Design Principles are the many ways of working with the art elements. Not all artists agree on the exact set of principles, these are some of them
•Emphasis or center of focus
•Unity or Harmony
What colors mean : fun facts about what color means around the world.
Color Matters: why is a school bus yellow and much more from a color expert
Optical illusions : do not believe what you think you see.
Drawspace: good site on actual drawing lessons. You need paper and pencil for these!
We have many fonts to choose from when we create any text on the computer. Most people just pick any font and sometimes several fonts in one project. Is there a method to pick these fonts? Does any combination work?
A good design involves the careful selection of font or fonts. This is a complicated subject but here are some important tips
• If multiple fonts are used in one project, they should not be too similar. Make sure they come from different font families – a simple way is to use serif fonts in the body text and a sans serif for headlines. (See below on serif and non serif). These two broad font types are so different that there will be enough contrast to make it look good. A contrast in size, weight, structure, form, direction or color is another way to make it work.
•Whenever possible use fewer fonts, too many fonts is just confusing and difficult to get right
•Use fancy fonts or script fonts sparingly…
Font Families serif/non serif
Serif is the little extra stroke at the end of letterforms. These make the type more readable and serif is used mostly when readability of text is important, e.g in the body of a document. examples
sans serif : are fonts that do not have a serif. These can be used for headlines or when there is less text to be read. examples
- Gill Sans
- Fancy or Script fonts
These are fonts that must be used sparingly… they are good in headlines, cards and where there is little text to be read. Examples
- Brush Script
- SchoolHouse Cursive
Artists with some obvious 'STEM' connections
Leonardo da Vinci : definitely the most famous and renowned artist and scientist. He was a genius and the perfect example of a person who easily moved between the worlds of art and science. He showed us all that you can not really do one without the other. Some sites that showcase his work
M.C.Escher : famous for his amazing creations combining art and mathematics. He is known as the father of tessellations and showed us the connections between art and math.