Image Smart: Points and Lines

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When it comes to working with elements in a design we have two basic classes to work with. We have positive forms and negative space. The most basic form we can use is the abstract point or it’s concrete sibling the dot. We can build up points or dots so they become lines which is our second most basic element.

A point is a coordinate without any dimensions, without any area. Points are the simplest element of visual design. By definition we can’t actually draw a point, since to see one would require it have dimensions.

What we can draw is a dot. In fact dots are the building blocks of everything else. Any other mark we make can be seen as one or more dots in combination. Every shape, form, mass, or blob with a recognizable center is essentially a dot regardless of its size. The defining characteristic of a dot is that it’s a point of focused attention. Dots anchor themselves in space and provide a reference point relative to the other forms and space around it. While we often think of dots as circular in nature, they don’t have to be. What they are is points of focused attention. Dots are the focal points in our compositions.

A line is a series of points adjacent to each other. Where a point has no dimension, a line has one dimension. They have a length, but nothing else. In reality a line would need a second dimension to actually see it, but we’ll continue to call them lines and not something else here.

The fundamental characteristic of a line is to connect or unite. This connection can be visible or invisible. Two dots on a page have a connection even if that connection, that line between them, cannot be seen.

Where dots are about position, lines are about movement and direction. A line leads somewhere, your eye moves along it seeking one or both of its endpoints. This movement and direction makes lines inherently dynamic. A line is not attracting you to a point in space.



  • Concrete: Clear and certain, or real and existing in a form that can be seen or felt.
  • Blob: A large, round drop, usually of something sticky or thick.
  • Regardless:  Despite; not being affected by something.
  • Anchor:  Someone or something that gives support when needed.


Check more about the basics of art design here.


  • Can you make a draw only using dots and lines? Try it and tell us yours results.

Welcome to this activity created by Junior Advisor Mr. Noé Salvador Cuervo Carvallo from Narvarte Branch. Take note of all the pink words, read the text, watch the video and answer the question in the comment section below.

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