What are the Fundamentals of Art?

In the words of Michael Jordan, “Get the fundamentals down, and the level of everything you do will rise.” Abstract art, oil painting reproductions, impressionist artworks are all results of honing the fundamentals of art. They are the building blocks for creating any masterpiece. Without grasping the concept of basics, one can never reach the pinnacle.

The art fundamentals consist of form, anatomy, value, color, brushwork, composition, and perspective. They remain constant throughout different techniques and mediums, but the method of assimilating them might differ. Anyhow, understanding the application of these fundamentals and applying them through numerous art tools is paramount. 

Let us understand the primary five fundamentals of art that should be imprinted in every artist’s mind: 

Anatomy and Form

Anatomy refers to the practice of understanding the structural science of any living organism, particularly muscular and skeletal structures. The feathers of a bird, the paw of a cat, and a woman’s fingers are all anatomy’s parts. In artistic terms, it is the merger of art and science which results in a creative expression of the constructional form of life. 

Forms involve the breaking down of three-dimensional structures into various shapes to paint them on a flat surface. For example, subjects like rivers or a sky are fragmented into squares, spheres, and cylinders which can simplify drawing them on paper. Shading, blending, and contouring are techniques that make painting these complex subjects possible. 


The color theory of art stands for the way we see and comprehend color. These have three essential components: hues, saturation, and value. Hues are the different colors that an artist uses. Saturation is the intensity and vividness of the paint; a high saturated color is vivid, and a low saturated color is dull. Finally, value concerns the darkness and lightness of any color. High-value colors are light, while low-value colors are dark.

Furthermore, color blending and color combination is a significant part of producing good artwork. The combination should be harmonious and synchronized. The outcome of mixing varied colors should please the eyes. There should be a balance between contrast colors and a sense of understanding of how one color behaves concerning the other. 


Composition is the arrangement of all the artistic elements unified and comprehensive to produce a counterbalanced final picture. The visual elements such as shape, line, color, texture, and value combine to form the final product or composition. Another significant factor that affects the decision is whether the subject would be in the background or the foreground.

To balance the symmetry of the artwork, consider the intersections of the painting into horizontal and vertical focal points. The size of the artwork should be in proportion with the quantity of the subjects. A perfectly polished artwork will still undermine the work if the composition is weak. Therefore, it needs a lot of practice to master the skill of design eventually exquisitely. 


Brushstrokes decide the volume, texture, intensity, and depth of any painting. The background of a masterpiece requires smooth, blended brushstrokes, and straight, detailed brushwork is suitable for main subjects. Broken colors painted with scattered brush strokes are perfect for painting natural objects such as rivers or grass. 

Precise and short brush strokes are helpful when drawing an animal. Brush with sharp edges exudes a sense of energy and turbulence, and meetings with smooth edges carry a feeling of calm and smoothness. Vincent van Gogh, for example, used bold strokes to amplify the emotions of his subjects. Likewise, the brushstrokes of Pierre Auguste Renoir capture the movement of light in his painting. 


Perspective is the ability to paint three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional surface so that the distant objects appear closer and more petite. It is apt to capture the relative position, size, and impression of the thing. 

Linear and atmospheric perspective are the two essential components of it. Linear perspective refers to drawing an imaginary line that converges at a point to determine the shape and positions of objects. This technique is most useful in architectural drawings. 

Atmospheric perspective is the process of creating an illusion wherein the objects seem to recede into the distance. This illusion is created by stimulating changes in color and shape that are affected by the atmosphere. These changes are seen in the color saturation and value of the object, which fades as the distance increases. 


The elements and fundamentals of art are the cornerstones of every painter’s artistic journey. Replica paintings at the 1st Art Gallery will give you some much-needed examples and references if you are a beginner. It is the world’s most prominent curator of handmade oil paintings and fine art reproductions. So pick up your canvas and brushes and gauge through the different artworks to better understand the fundamentals of art!