• Abstract

    A style of art that is not realistic. Unusual lines, colors, and shapes make the subject look unrealistic. It is often characterized by the use of geometric lines and shapes and bold, bright colors.


    Ideas about what makes a work of art beautiful or satisfying.


    the means of building up a surface by adding, combining or building up materials.

    Analogous colors

    Colors that appear next to each other on the color wheel. Analagous colors have one hue in common. For example, blue, blue-green, and blue-violet all contain blue. Also called related colors.


    Creating a motion picture that consists of a series of drawings, each of which shows a slight change from the drawing before it. When the drawings are photographed and projected in rapid succession, the figures seem to move.


    A person who creates animation.


    A curved shape in a building. An arch can frame a doorway and window or it can support a wall or ceiling.


    A person who designs buildings and supervises construction of the building.


    The art and science of designing buildings and other structures.

    Art criticism

    The process of looking at, thinking about, and judging an artwork.

    Art history

    The study of art created in different times and cultures.

    Art media

    The materials used by artists.


    A 3-dimensional work of art made by joining materials and objects together.

    Asymmetrical balance

    A type of balance in which the two sides of an artwork are not exactly alike, but are still visually balanced.


    The part of an artwork that seems the farthest away.


    The arrangement of the elements, in a work of art, to create a sense of equilibrium. Balance is a principle of art.

    Bird’s-eye view

    A point of view looking down from above.


    Clay that has been fired once and is unglazed.


    To mix or rub colors together.


    In printmaking, a piece of flat material, such as wood, clay, or metal, into which a design has been carved. It is also known as a plate. The block is used to print the design.


    A frame-like edge around a shape or image.


    In printing, a rubber roller used to spread ink over a surface.

    Brush stroke

    A line, shape, mark, or texture made with paintbrush.


    A strong, closely, woven fabric, which is often used as a surface for painting.


    A person’s job or profession.


    An artwork that shows people or things in ways that are funny. Cartoons often have words that go with them.


    To cut away parts from a block of wood, stone, or other hard materials.

    Center of Interest

    The part of an artwork that you notice first.


    The art of making objects from clay and hardening them with fire.


    Artwork that gives a view of a city.


    A soft, moist material used to create artworks such as sculpture and pottery.


    A very near or close view of an object or subject.


    A rope-like shape that has been rolled from clay or other such material.


    Artwork made by gluing bits of paper, pictures, fabric, or other materials to a flat surface.


    What is perceived when waves of light strike the retina. Color is an element of art.

    Color wheel

    Colors arranged in a certain order in the shape of a circle.

    Complementary color

    Colors that contrast with one another. Complementary colors are opposite one another on the color wheel.


    To design or create something by arranging different parts into a whole.


    An arrangement of the elements of art using the principles of art to express the artist’s idea.


    To make something by joining together materials.


    The effect of showing the difference between two unlike things, such as a dark color and a light color.


    The outline of a shape.

    Contrasting colors

    Colors placed opposite one another on the color wheel. Also called complementary colors. For example, orange and blue are contrasting colors.

    Cool colors

    The family of colors that includes greens, blues, and violets. Cool colors bring to mind cool things, places, and feelings.


    Skill, knowledge and neatness resulting in expert workmanship.

    Crayon etching

    A picture made by rubbing wax crayon onto paper and then scratching a design into the wax.


    Having a skill or talent for making things in a new of different way; showing originality and imagination.

    Credit line

    The information that is given with a picture of an artwork. A credit line usually tells the artist, title, date, medium, size, and location of an artwork.


    The process of using description, analysis, interpretation, and judgment to evaluate a work of art.


    A method of showing value by using parallel lines at different angles that get darker as they are drawn closer together.

    Cultural style

    A style of art that shows something about the culture in which the artist lives or lived.


    The customs, beliefs, arts, and way of life of a group of people.


    The apparent distance from front to back.


    A plan for the arrangement of the art elements (lines, spaces, colors, shapes, forms and textures in an artwork. Also, the act of arranging the parts of an artwork.


    A small part of an artwork.


    A slanted edge or line


    The sense of depth or space between objects in an artwork.


    An artwork consisting of lines and shapes/forms sketched on paper with materials such as pencils, pens, chalk, pastels.


    A stand used to hold a painting while an artist works on it.


    The outside line of a shape or form.

    Elements of art

    The basic parts of an artwork. Line, color, value, shape, form, texture, and space are elements of art.


    It is the importance given to certain object or areas in an artwork. Color, texture, shape, and size can be used to create emphasis. Emphasis is a principle of design.


    Creating a design that is larger than the original.


    Showing something in a way that makes it seem larger or more important than it is.


    A special look that communicates strong feeling. A smile is an expression of happiness.


    A group of artists who use simple designs and brilliant colors to express feelings. Artists began using this style in Germany in the early 1900’s. It gained interest in the United States in the 1940’s and 1950’s.


    The outer part of a building or other form.


    Cloth made by knitting or weaving threads together.


    Something that reflects the imaginary.

    Fiber Artist

    An artist who creates artworks by sewing, weaving, knitting, or stitching fibers together.


    The threads that made up yarn, string, fabric, and other such materials.


    Heating clay to the required temperature to harden.

    Focal Point

    The area in a work of art that an artist emphasizes.

    Folk art

    Art made by people who have not been formally trained in art. Folk art usually reflects the artist’s culture or tradition.

    Folk Artist

    Artists who have not been formally trained in art.


    The part of an artwork that seems the closest to you.


    Shortening lines or objects in an artwork to create an impression of depth and distance.


    A three-dimensional object, such as a cube or a ball. Form is an element of art. Form may be depicted on a 2-D surface.

    Found object

    Something that an artist finds and uses in an artwork such as a scrap of metal or a piece of wood, etc.


    Designed with a useful purpose in mind.


    Places where artwork can be seen and bought.


    A thin, transparent, glassy coating on ceramics. (Not generally used in elementary grades in Cy-Fair)


    A word describing shapes and forms such as squares, circles, cubes, and spheres.

    Gesture Drawing

    Quick scribbles to show movements of the body that quickly records an entire image.


    Unfired clay.


    A principle of art that combines elements of art in a composition to stress similarities of separate but related parts.


    Areas of direct light on an object.

    Horizon line

    In an artwork, the line where the ground and sky appear to meet.


    Moving straight across from side to side rather than up-and-down. For example, the top edge of a piece of paper is horizontal.


    Another word for color.


    An image that tricks the eye or seems to be something it is not.


    A picture used to help explain something or tell a story. An illustrator creates pictures for books, magazines, or other printed works.


    To have the power to visualize and build mental images; dream about things that have never happened; feel intuitively; and to reach beyond sensual or real boundaries.


    Suggested, but not actually shown, as in an implied line.


    A group of artists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries who paid special attention to light and its effect on subjects in their paintings.


    The brightness or dullness of a color.


    The inside of a building or another hollow form, such as a box.

    Interior Design

    Is the art of planning and creating indoor spaces such as rooms.

    Intermediate Colors

    Colors that are a mixture of a primary and a secondary color. Blue-green, red-orange, and red-violet are examples of intermediate colors.


    Fourth step in an art criticism process in which you formulate your own opinion on the success or failure of the artwork.


    The furnace in which clay is fired to harden it.


    A drawing or painting that shows outdoor scenery such as trees, lakes, mountains, and fields.


    Clay that is partially dry, no longer plastic. In a state ready for turning, burnishing, or building walls with slabs.


    A mark on a surface. Lines can be created by a pen, pencil, brush, stick etc., on a variety of surfaces. Line is an element of art.


    A frame or machine used to hold yarn or other fibers for weaving.


    An artwork made to be placed over a person’s face for decoration or disguise.


    Paper or cardboard cut to form a frame around an artwork.


    Materials used to create an artwork, such as clay or paint. The singular of media is medium.

    Middle ground

    In an artwork, the part between the foreground and the background.

    Mixed media

    Artworks that are created from more than one medium.


    A type of sculpture in which objects are suspended and balanced so that they are moved by currents of air.


    Someone or something an artist uses as an example when creating an artwork. Also a small copy of something.


    A color scheme using only tints and shades of a single color.


    A print made from a plate that can be used only once.


    Combining parts of several photographs or drawings to produce a new single image.


    The feeling created in a work or art.


    An artwork made from small pieces of colored glass, stone, paper, or other materials.


    An element that is repeated often enough to be an important feature of a design.


    A sense of movement or action in an artwork.


    Adhere an artwork to another larger paper or cardboard to form a border.


    The sense of motion or action created in an artwork. Also, a trend in an art is called a movement.


    A large artwork, usually a painting, that is created or placed on a wall or ceiling, often in a public place. A muralist creates murals.


    A place where works of art are cared for and displayed.

    Negative space

    The empty space around and between forms or shapes in an artwork.


    A word used for black, white, and tints and shades of gray. (Some artists use tints and shades of brown as neutrals.)


    An artwork or other object that serves no useful purpose but is appreciated for its beauty alone.


    A style of art that does not represent real objects.

    One-point perspective 

    The graphic system in which all diagonal lines converge to a singular point on the horizon line.


    Not letting light through; the opposite of transparent


    A word describing shapes and forms similar to those in nature and the opposite of geometric.


    The line that forms the edge of any shape or form. Also called the contour.


    To partly or completely cover one shape or form with another.


    An artwork created by using a brush or other tool to apply tempera, watercolor, oil, acrylic, etc. to a surface.


    A flat surface (palette, boards, etc.) on which an artist holds and mixes colors.


    A process of creating forms by covering an armature or other base with strips of paper that have been soaked in watery paste, and then molding the strips. The form hardens as it dries.


    A crayon made of either chalk or oil.


    Repeated colors, lines, shapes, or textures in an artwork. Pattern is a principal of design. Also, a plan or model to be followed when making something.


    A way of making a flat artwork look as if it has depth. In a painting, an artist creates perspective by making far-away objects smaller and nearby objects larger.


    A photograph made by placing objects directly on light sensitive material and exposing it directly to light.


    Ancient drawings, often found on cave walls, that tell stories or record a culture’s beliefs and practices.

    Pinch method

    A way of shaping a ball of clay into pottery by pinching, pulling, and pressing it with the hands.


    In printmaking, a piece of flat material, such as wood or metal, with a design on the surface. The plate is used to print the design.


    A work of art created to show a person, animal, or group of people, usually focusing on the face.


    The way subjects sit or stand while an artist paints portraits of them.

    Positive space

    Shapes, forms, or lines that stand out from the background in a work of art.


    An artist who makes pottery.

    Primary colors

    The colors from which all other colors are made. The primary colors are red, yellow, and blue.

    Principles of design

    Guidelines artists use as they create art works. Unity, variety, emphasis, balance, proportion, pattern, and rhythm are the principles of design.


    An artwork created by making an impression of a design.


    The process of making one or more prints.


    Something that is seen or shown from the side, such as a side view of a face.


    The relation of one thing to another with respect to size and placement.

    Radial balance

    A type of balance in which lines or shapes spread out from a center point.


    Art style which renders life in a life-like way.


    Showing something, such as a person or scene, as it might really look.

    Relief print

    A print made by covering a printing block with ink or paint and pressing paper onto the block. The areas or lines gouged out do not print. (Examples: woodcut, block print, linocut, styrofoam plate, etc.)

    Relief sculpture

    A kind of sculpture in which a design or image is carved into a flat surface. May be high relief or low relief.)

    Resist medium

    A material, such as wax, used to protect parts of a surface from paint or dye.


    The repeating of elements, such as lines, shapes, or colors, that creates a pattern of visual motion in an artwork. Rhythm is a principle.


    An artwork created by placing paper on a raised surface and then rubbing the paper with chalk, crayon, or a pencil.
    Sculpture- An artwork made by modeling, carving or joining materials into a 3-dimensional form. Clay, wood, stone, and metal are often used to make sculptures.


    An work that includes in the scene the sea, ocean, or shore.

    Secondary colors

    A color made by mixing two primary colors. The secondary colors are green, violet, and orange.


    A drawing, painting, photograph, or sculpture that shows the likeness of the artist.


    A color made by adding black to a hue. For example, adding black to green results in dark green. Also a dark value of a color.


    A way of showing gradual changes in lightness or darkness in a drawing or painting. Shading helps make a picture look more realistic.


    A flat area, such as a circle or a square, that has clear boundaries. Shape is an element of art.


    A quick drawing. A sketch can be used to explore a subject or plan an artwork.


    A book or pad of paper used for drawing and keeping sketches


    A method of making pottery in which a flat piece of clay is cut into shapes which are joined together to form an object.


    Watery clay in a creamy consistency used with scoring to join two pieces of clay.


    An empty surface or area. Also, the area surrounding something.

    Still life

    An artwork showing an arrangement of objects that cannot move on their own, such as fruit or flowers


    Technique of using patterns of dots to create values and value gradation.

    Story quilt

    A quilt showing pictures that tell a story.


    A room or building where an artist creates art.


    An artist’s own way of designing and creating art. Also a technique used by a group of artists in a particular time or culture.


    What an artwork is about. A person, animal, object, or scene


    A word describing sculpture that is made by taking away, or subtracting, material from a larger piece or block.


    The outside layer of a material, an object, or another form.


    The Twentieth Century artistic style that uses dreams and fantasy as subject matter.


    A letter, color, sign, or picture that expresses a larger meaning, For example, a red heart is often used as a symbol for love.

    Symmetrical balance

    A type of balance in which both sides of an artwork look the same or almost the same.


    Balance created by making both sides of an artwork the same, equal or almost the same.


    A texture you can feel with your hands.


    The way an artist uses art materials to create a certain type of artwork.


    The way human beings use machines and other tools to make or do something.

    Tempera paint

    A chalky, water-based paint. Also called poster paint.


    The way a surface looks and feels, such as smooth, rough, or bumpy. Texture is an element of art.


    In an artwork, the artist’s message about the subject of the work.


    Having height, width, and thickness. Forms are three-dimensional.


    A color such as pink that is created by mixing a hue with white. Also, a light value of a color.


    Something through which light can be seen.


    Having height and width; flat. Shapes are two-dimensional.

    Two-point perspective

    Perspective in which receding lines meet at two vanishing points.
    Unity- The quality of seeming whole and complete, with all parts looking right together. Unity is a principle of design.


    The lightness or darkness of colors. Tints have a light value. Shades have a dark value. Value is an element of art.

    Vanishing point

    A point on the horizon or eye-level line at which receding parallel lines meet in a perspective drawing.


    The combination of elements or art, such as line, shape, or color, in an artwork. Variety is a principle of design.


    Moving up and down rather than side to side. For example, the side edge of a piece of paper is vertical.

    Visual rhythm

    In an artwork, rhythm created by repeating elements, such as colors and lines. Visual rhythm might remind a viewer of music or dance rhythm.

    Warm colors

    The family of colors that includes reds, yellows, and oranges. Warm colors bring to mind warm things, places, and feelings.


    In weaving, the vertical threads attached to the top and bottom of a loom.


    An artist who creates weavings


    An artwork made of thread, yarn, or other fibers laced or woven together on a loom.


    A method of cutting and reforming (kneading) clay to make it homogenous. This helps to eliminate air bubbles from the clay.


    The threads woven back and forth, over and under the warp fibers on a loom.

    Worm’s-eye view

    A point of view from ground level.