Unit Industry Sector
Arts, Media & Entertainment

Unit Originally Created By: Shawn Sullivan

Intro to Art Theory and Fundamentals

Part of Course: Animation Model

Unit Overview / Details

Lessons in this unit will teach students about the art theory of animation, from the elements and principles of art to the philosophy of Aesthetics.  

Instructional Hours

Art Fundamnetals
24 Hours


Content / Concepts

  • Setting
  • Plot
  • Conflict
  • Character
  • Point of View
  • Theme
  • line
  • shape
  • space
  • value
  • color
  • texture  
  • unity
  • harmony
  • balance
  • rhythm
  • contrast
  • dominance
  • gradation
  • Rule of Thirds
  • 180 Rule
  • Golden Section Rule
  • Diagonal Rule
  • Aesthetic Principles

Lessons in this Unit

  • This lesson will introduce students to the preliminary process of creating a very basic frame animation through the creation of a flipbook. The lesson will also reference three early animation techniques and artists; Muybridge, Winsor McCay, and  the invention of the Zoetrope. The students will utilize basic drawing and shading skills to produce movement and frame by frame animation. An optional addition to this lesson is digitizing the animation, adding sound, and creating a final QuickTime movie.

    Instructional Time
    30 Minutes
    Student Activity Time
    90 Minutes
    Reflection Time
    20 Minutes
  • Of all the design elements, color is the most fascinating and powerful of the elements of art. Color excites emotions and enriches our lives. Color is a tool you can use when you are designing and creating your art.

    In this lesson students will explore color theory with online interactive websites.

    30 Minutes
    Color in Motion Video
    25 Minutes
    Interactive web sites
    1 Class Period
  • Students will study and practice a variety of analog drawing skills in order to increase their potential for creativity and to improve their work as 2D artists and as animators. Gesture drawing will help the students develop realistic actions, movements, and life in a character or inanimate object and they will be able to apply the practice to their animations.

    Instructional Time
    40 Minutes
    Student Activity Time
    40 Minutes
    Reflection Time
    10 Minutes
  • Like all languages throughout the world there is vocabulary that must be understood before one can fully use and understand a language. This also holds true for the language of the Visual Arts. You must understand the Elements and Principles of art so that you are able to use the language to communicate your ideas to others.

    In this lesson students will become familiar with the Elements of Art, these are the foundation for all visual images. 


    Introduction to Elements of Art
    2 Class Periods
  • In this lesson students will become familiar with the Principles of Art. This is overview of the Principles of Design used in art and animation. Awareness of these principles will help students understand the images seen in animated art. This vocabulary will also help students communicate their ideas through art.

    The class will view several short animations that illustrate the Principles of Art. 

    These short videos will introduce students to the vocabulary in a visual format. The videos will introduce students to the ways artists communicate and combine the Elements of Art in animated compositions. These short animation examples will open the class for an in-depth discussion about the Principles of Art.

    Introduction to the Principles of Art
    1 Class Period

    In this lesson students will apply their knowledge of the Elements and Principles of design to create an animated presentation. 

    Students will use Prezi, a dynamic presentation tool. Prezi is a excellent format for showing relationships among ideas and for providing an interesting way of arranging the vocabulary and concepts.

    A deeper understanding of the Elements & Principles will help students further their awareness of the images seen in animated art.  

    Introduction to the Prezi
    1 Class Period
    Planning & Production
    2 Class Periods
    1 Class Period
  • This lesson will introduce students to the basic elements of a story. They will break down story structure by viewing animated shorts, recreating an existing story, and finally developing their own. Along with learning about story structure they will also practice writing skills and complete an original short story for an animation of their own. The final story will require proper grammar and story elements.

    Instructional Time
    50 Minutes
    Student Activity Time
    90 Minutes
    Closure and Reflection
    50 Minutes