About Richard Kaer
I have always been an artist. I have always taken great joy in drawing and this led me to get a degree in art. I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Illustration from Southern Utah University in 2001. After graduating I took a bit of a detour from art and became a teacher, graduating with my Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from New Mexico Highlands University. Now, ten years later I am graduating this year with a Master’s of Fine Arts from the Academy of Art University. I currently teach Computer Graphics and Digital film at a local high school and I also teach Reading at the local community college.
Basic Shapes: It’s all about DESIGN!
During my first year in art school I had a professor present an assignment requiring us to create art using basic shapes. I often reflect back on that experience and how much I was able to learn about design from that simple, yet essential, lesson. It was at this time that I was introduced to the artist Piet Mondrian. Although many people don’t know of Mondrian, it is hard to do an Internet search on basic design principals without finding items that seems to have been inspired by his art. Mondrian is famous for his use of simple shapes and the golden ratio to create thoughtful designs. You can read more about Piet Mondrian at the following sites.
In this assignment you will be creating digital art like that of Mondrian. You will be using simple shapes and basic design principals to create works of art. This assignment will aid you in layout and design techniques and will help you to understand both symmetrical and asymmetrical design.
For generations mankind has been using mathematical formulas to help them generate aesthetically pleasing art. I am fond of telling my students, “It is all about design!” If you want to do well in the arts you have to understand what makes good design. In this lesson we will focus on the golden ratio. For those who read the information found in the first link above, Samuel Obara talks about design and how one of the elements that can be used to make a good design, the golden ratio, goes by many names. Below, in the vocabulary list you will see that several words deal with the golden ratio as well. I strongly encourage you to do an Internet search for those words and gain a general understanding of where they come from and what they mean. In this lesson, you are encouraged to use the golden ratio to aid in your designs.
Read the whole assignment before you begin so you can see what you will be doing.
elements of design
Assignment: Create 3 pictures
Use basic shapes to make three pictures. In the first image, you will break down one of the “Old Masters” paintings into basic shapes so you can see how the picture was created. The second and third images will be made using basic shapes. One picture will be symmetrical and the other asymmetrical. To complete this assignment it is expected that you will have a basic knowledge of Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator.
Picture 1: (Learn from the masters)
Essential Question: What does good art look like?
Research a famous “Old Master” (e.g. Rembrandt, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, etc.) you like. Find an image you think the artist did well with and find the basic shapes within the picture. Using Photoshop or Illustrator, recreate these basic shapes so you can see the general format used by the artist. (By basic shapes I mean that you are meant to use circle, square, triangle, and/or rectangle.)
Use either Photoshop (300 ppi) or Illustrator.
Image size should be the same as the picture you have selected from the “Old Master”.
Elijah Martine (2011)
Raphael: The School of Athens (1509)
Picture 2 and 3: (Make your own)
Essential Question: What do the words symmetrical and asymmetrical mean?
- Follow the 4-step creation process to create a piece that represents your choice of topic.
- Using 5-7 shapes (squares, rectangles, circles, or triangles), draw at least 10 thumbnails to generate ideas for each of the pieces you will be creating, one symmetrical and one asymmetrical.
- Use only black and white for the first picture and if you choose, you may use color in the second image.
- Choose the best thumbnail for each of the two areas and recreate it using either Photoshop or Illustrator.
- Draw thumbnails
- Gather reference images
- Create the product
- Verify the following before turning the piece in:
– Art elements
– Focal point
- Rule of thirds
- Go “off the page”
- Placing all shapes in the center of the page
- Placing odd shapes in corners
- Making recognizable objects with the shapes (people, additional shapes etc.)