Shapes vs Forms
The concepts of shapes and forms are taught to kids very early in life when they are made to differentiate between a circle and a triangle (shapes) or a photograph and the real object (forms). We can draw shapes on paper in the form of a circle or a rectangle. However, the same shape of a circular object becomes a sphere in the real world, and we then have three instead of two dimensions such as height, width and depth instead of just height and width in case of shapes. Let us take a closer look at this dichotomy called shapes and forms.
If a kid is asked to draw a ball on paper, all he can do is to draw a circle that represents a 3 dimensional ball in real life. The form of the ball becomes a shape that is circular. This shape is expressed in 2 D while the form is expressed in 3D only. Shape is a concept that can be explained using lines only. On the other hand, form being 3D requires much more than just lines to be explained.
The basic difference between 2D and 3D as we know is the concept of depth that is hard to describe on paper; only artists can give an illusion of an object having a form on paper. Thus, form lies in real life outside paper while shape is dealt with mainly on a piece of paper. To demonstrate the difference between shape and form one can draw a circle on a piece of cardboard and then cut it along the circumference. Now a real ball can be made to pass through this cut shape, to show that the form is the real ball while shape is what one sees on the piece of cardboard. In daily life, we talk about a bell shaped flower or a circular headphone, implying how our mind tries to correlate objects in real life with our understanding of shapes that have been taught to us in art classes.
What is the difference between Shapes and Forms?
• Shapes and forms are used to describe objects on paper and real life respectively.
• Shapes are in 2D while forms are in 3D.
• Shapes require height and width only while forms require depth as well to be described.
• The concepts of shapes and forms are taught very early in our lives, and we tend to correlate the shapes that have been taught to us to real life objects.
• Circular shape corresponds to spherical form while cylinders in real life correspond to rectangles on paper.