+
3 Tutorials that teach Creating Space and Volume in 2D Compositions
Take your pick:
Creating Space and Volume in 2D Compositions

Creating Space and Volume in 2D Compositions

Author: Ian McConnell
Description:

This lesson will explore how artists depict space and volume in works of art.

(more)
See More

Try Sophia’s Art History Course. For Free.

Our self-paced online courses are a great way to save time and money as you earn credits eligible for transfer to over 2,000 colleges and universities.*

Begin Free Trial
No credit card required

25 Sophia partners guarantee credit transfer.

221 Institutions have accepted or given pre-approval for credit transfer.

* The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE Credit®) has evaluated and recommended college credit for 20 of Sophia’s online courses. More than 2,000 colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs.

Tutorial

This lesson explores how artists depict space and volume in 2D compositions.

Source: Image of Veronica (and closeup) Public Domain http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ File:Veronica.jpg; Image of Charcoal Drawing Public Domain http://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/File:Charcoal_Drawing_of_Young_Girl_on_Toned_Paper,_Vanderpoel.jpg; Image of Juan Pareja Public Domain http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ File:Retrato_de_Juan_Pareja,_by_Diego_Vel%C3%A1zquez.jpg; Image of Thomas More Public Domain http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hans_Holbein,_the_Younger_-_Sir_Thomas_More_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

Video Transcription

Download PDF

Hello. I'd like to welcome you to this episode of Exploring Art History with Ian. My name's Ian McConnell. And today's lesson is about creating space and volume in two-dimensional compositions.

So this particular lesson will focus on the depiction of three dimensions within individual forms and on the space between forms. As you're watching the video, feel free to pause, move forward, or rewind as many times as you feel is necessary. As soon as you're ready, we can begin.

Today's objectives or the things you're going to learn today are listed below. By the end of the lesson today, you will be able to identify and define today's key terms; explain how artists use line, shadow, hatching, and cross-hatching to give the illusion of three dimensions. The big idea for today is that artists use line, shadow, hatching, and cross-hatching to depict the illusion of three dimensions in a two-dimensional composition.

The key terms as always are listed in yellow throughout the lesson. The first key term is modeling two dimensions, the use of line and shadow to create the illusion of roundness and depth. Hatching is the use of parallel straight lines, particularly in printmaking and drawing, to indicate shadow and depth. Cross-hatching is the use of lines that cross over, particularly in printmaking and drawing, to indicate shadow and depth. Negative space is the space between two objects.

So modeling is the term used to describe the use of shadow to make a form look rounded or three-dimensional. Now, shadow gives the impression of depth, without which objects appear flat. Let's take this charcoal drawing as an example. Now, notice how the use of shadow on her right side, particularly on her lower jaw and neck, gives the impression of depth and makes the image appear more realistic.

Now, shadow alone won't make an object appear natural and three-dimensional if it's used incorrectly. Typically a single light source for the painting is employed as a way to create more dramatic shifts in light to dark. And it's this contrast that gives an image visual depth. Too many light sources tend to remove shadows, and by extension flatten an image. So this portrait of the Spanish painter Juan de Pareja by another Spanish painter, Diego Velazquez, utilizes a single light source in the upper right-hand corner as a means of projecting shadow and adding contrast.

Now, in the last portrait, the background of the portrait was a single, flat color. This portrait of Sir Thomas More uses a curtain in the background as a backdrop. The light source is again in the upper right-hand corner and creates an area of shadow between Sir Thomas More and the curtain on the left and right above his shoulder here on the right.

Now, this suggests an area of negative space behind him, or space between objects. The negative space is between Sir Thomas More and the curtain. And the rendering of negative space is another tool used by artists to suggest depth.

Printmakers often use hatching and cross-hatching as a way of indicating shadow and depth. And one of the main reasons why is that because hatching and cross-hatching leave areas that will not transfer ink to paper, so gradients in light and dark can be achieved that wouldn't be possible otherwise. This etching by Albrecht Durer uses hatching, which are parallel lines, and cross-hatching-- there's hatching, parallel line-- and cross-hatching, which are parallel and perpendicular lines, extensively throughout the composition to give the impression again of shadow and depth.

All right. Well, that brings us to the end of this lesson. Let's take a look at our objectives and see if we met them. Now that you've seen the lesson, are you able to identify and define today's key terms? And can you explain how artists use line, shadow, hatching, and cross-hatching to give the illusion of three dimensions? The big idea is that artists use line, shadow, hatching, and cross-hatching to depict the illusion of three dimensions in a two-dimensional composition.

So that's it. Thank you for joining me. I'll see you next time.

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Negative space

    The space between two objects.

  • Cross- hatching

    The use of lines that cross over, particularly in printmaking and drawing, to indicate shadow and depth.

  • Hatching

    The use of parallel straight lines, particularly in printmaking and drawing, to indicate shadow and depth.

  • Modeling (2- D)

    The use of line and shadow to create the illusion of roundness and depth.