“A circle is a round straight line with a hole in the middle.” —Mark Twain
The Circle Reflects Wholeness
The most fundamental shape is the circle. As Mark Twain quoted, it’s easily created by connecting a straight line that is rounded with the center distance equal to the line from all points on that line.
You will find symbols that contain art within a circle throughout history. The movement of the shape gives a sense of unity, integration, and wholeness. They have no beginning and no end. A sense of completion, confidence, and harmony are at their core.
The yin/yang symbol is one of the most basic examples of the division principles of the circle shape.
The age-old image has a curved line dividing the graphic into a positive-negative design with reverse circles at the center of each side.
The Yin Yang symbol meaning represents opposites but interconnected forces.
Circle Division Examples in Timeless Art
Dividing a Rectangular Plane with Circular Shapes
The graphic bird within the golden rectangle, aka golden ratio or mean, provides a simple example of how the bird’s shape follows the circular movement.
The bird graphic is contained within a circle. Its shape follows circular proportions.
The mathematical perfection of the Golden Ratio creates the square, triangle, and rectangle best design division practices in harmonious proportion to one another. In this tutorial, we see it also applies to circles.
Supportive Reference Materials
A perfect way to build your art skill working with the circle shape is through viewing and creating mandala art. Below are a couple of good resources to get you started viewing and learning more about working with circular division principles. An added circle coloring reference book is fun as well as relaxing to experience. It contains a large variety of interesting patterns.
Mandala Practice Drawing Workbook: Mandala practice sheets, ornaments practice pad. Mandala art drawing template sketchbook for drawing mandala on special no bleed circular grid tracing paper.
Mandala Practice Book: 50 pages of blank templates for you to practice the art of designing beautiful mandalas.
Circle Coloring Book: Beautiful coloring pages for adults , amazing designs and patterns for relaxation and having fun.
It’s time to schedule a block of time for art play! While this lesson is fresh in your mind, grab your art journal containing your previous exercises and the reference materials on the Golden Ratio. The elements in the composition will flow with a sense of balance and harmony with some visual planning of the layout. Remember:
All basic shapes are divisible, and the space within the body has a natural spatial arrangement that follows the orchestration of its form and furthers with its relationship to the surrounding elements.
Continue reviewing your art and even graphic art layouts in magazines. Notice how the subjects follow division principles as they apply to the square, triangle, and now the circle’s spatial alignments in each design, illustration, or layout. Notice how “it just feels right” when artwork flows to the linear principles.
Another creative exercise is to create art within the boundary of the three basic shapes. The goal is to keep the graphic as close to the shape of a circle, square, or triangle as you are able.
Example of art created within each form.
An idea may be to create a circle mandala, a square tile, and a triangular quilt element to represent something meaningful in your life. The art could represent a time of year, favorite pet, feature in nature, or an image of an emotion that invokes a special memory. Playful practice is how best art practices become instinctual.
Downloadable Tutorial Guide
Our last tutorial in this series will describe 7 Continuous Vertical Patterned Designs found in design and a downloadable tutorial image.
To follow along, click > Art & Design Tutorial Table of Contents