Creating Basic Shapes and Universal Symbols

The Lesson Activities will help you meet these educational goals:

  • Content Knowledge—You will create shapes and analyze universal symbols.
  • Inquiry—You will conduct online research, in which you will collect information and communicate your results in written form.
  • 21stCentury Skills—You will employ online tools for research and analysis and communicate your answers effectively.


You will evaluatesome of these activities yourself, and your teacher may evaluate others. Please save this document before beginning the lesson and keep the document open for reference during the lesson. Type your answers directly in this document for all activities.


Self-Checked Activities

Read the instructions for the following activities and type in your responses. At the end of the lesson, click the link to open the Student Answer Sheet. Use the answers or sample responses to evaluate your own work.

  1. Picasso Paintings

Click the link below and study Picasso’s paintings. Analyze the types of shapes used in these images. Where else do these shapes appear in your environment?

Picasso Paintings

Sample answer:

Analyze the types of shapes used in the paintings. Do you think the shapes are mathematically defined, or do they occur in nature? Check if only one particular type of shape appears in the paintings, or if Picasso used a combination of both geometric and organic shapes. Identify the positive and negative shapes used in the paintings. Analyze whether the artist created an illusion of depth by changing shapes with regard to size, placement, or color. Explore the figure-ground relationship in the paintings.

Study the different shapes and determine whether Picasso used concepts from nature (panoramas, mountains), human beings (portraits, human relations), representations (chairs, reservoirs, factories, bottles), or abstract information (still life, conceptual art).

  1. Creating Shapes

Create an imaginary picture of a place, scene, or any abstract representation by applying the basic shape concepts that you learned in the tutorial. You can use any digital art tool, or free online tools such as Janvas or Pixlr.

Sample answer:

To create an image using digital tools, you have to understand its components: the workspace, the toolbars, and the menus.

Let’s explore Pixlr and Janvas tools. (You can use any digital art tool.)

Pixlr OnlineTool

  1. Go to Pixlr OnlineTooland click ‘Create a new image’. It will display a New image dialog box.
  2. Enter the name and required details of the layout, and click OK. Pixlr will display a blank workspace along with various options.

  1. The interface has five sections: the Menu bar, the Tool options bar, the Workspace, the Tools bar, and the Right-hand Side pane (RHS pane).
  • The Menu bar includes options to create, open, save, edit, and print images. It contains options for the following:
  • Image editing (resizing, flipping, and rotating)
  • Layer styles (the effect applied on any image layer, such as bevel, out glow, and inner shadow)
  • Layer masking (to control layer transparency
  • Image flattening (to merge all the image layers together)
  • Color adjustments (bright, hue, saturation, and contrast)
  • Image effects (such as pixelate, diffuse, and emboss)
  • Viewing mode (in full screen or actual pixels)
  • Language options (English and other languages)

It also features Help for various queries and issues.

  • The Tool options bar includes detailed options for the selected tool from the Tools bar. For instance, if you select the Pencil tool, the Tool options bar will display various other options related to the Pencil tool, such as Type, Size, Opacity, and Amount.
  • The Workspace is the space where you create images. Right-clicking on images can pop up various image-related options.
  • The Tools bar includes a wide range of tools to create images, including:
  • Crop tool (to cut out an image portion)
  • Move tool (to move a selected area or an entire image anywhere in the workspace)
  • Marquee & Lasso tool (to trace images along their outlines)
  • Wand tool (to select an image portion based on colors)
  • Pencil tool (to draw images)
  • Brush tool (to create shapes with color strokes)
  • Eraser tool (to remove a portion or an entire image)
  • Paint bucket tool (to fill solid colors inside images)
  • Gradient tool (to give desired color patterns to images)
  • Clone stamp tool (to create customized duplicate design patterns)
  • Color replace tool (to tweak colors between image and foreground)
  • Drawing tool (to create geometrical shapes)
  • Blur tool (to create vague image effects by lessening the impact)
  • Sharpen tool (to enhance the contrast level of pixels)
  • Smudge tool (to smooth or smear an image’s edge)
  • Sponge tool (to alter color saturation of images)
  • Dodge tool (to lighten over-color or shadows in images)
  • Burn tool (to darken color or cast shadows in images)
  • Red eye reduction tool (to reduce the effect of red pupils in images)
  • Spot heel tool (to remove blemishes and other flaws)
  • Bloat tool (to expand or distort images)
  • Pinch tool (to squeeze or distort images)
  • Color picker tool (to pick a color of any image on the workspace)
  • Type tool (to enter text in images)
  • Hand tool (to scroll large-sized images)
  • Zoom tool (to change the size of images)
  • Color selector (to select the desired colors for images)
  • The Right-Hand Side (RHS) pane of the workspace allows you to view the Navigator, Layers, and History. The Navigator provides the co-ordinates, details, and zooming level. Layers provide a detailed view of all layers used in creating an image, and History provides a detailed list of tools that you used to create an image.
  1. On the standard Tools bar, click Drawing toolto create the basic shapes. The Drawing tool options will display on the Tool options bar.
  2. On the Tools bar, use other tools such as Paint bucket, Gradient, Blur, Sharpen, Smudge, Dodge, Bloat, and Pinch to give the desired effect to the shapes.
  3. On the menu bar, click Filter,and then select the desired option to give additional effects to the shapes.
  4. Click OK to save the changes.

Janvas Online Tool

  1. Go toJanvas Online Tool. It will display a blank workspace, along with various options.

  1. The interface has five sections: the Tool bar, the Tabbed Document bar, the Left-Hand Side section (LHS section), the Workspace, and the Library Panel.
  • The Tool bar includes a range of tool and sub-tool options, including:
  • Objects selection tool (to select an area orentire image and resize accordingly)
  • Points selection tool (to select an image or vertex of an image)
  • Pan tool (to scroll large-sized images)
  • Zoom tool (to change the size of images)
  • Pen tool (to create line art using image vertices)
  • Pencil tool (to create new images)
  • Draw tool (to create geometrical shapes and text)
  • Eye Dropper tool (to choose color of any image on the workspace)
  • Transform tool (to rotate and flip images)
  • Edit menu (to cut, insert, duplicate, group, mask, and give effects to design elements)
  • Bring to Front tool (to make a background design element appear in front)
  • Bring to Back tool (to make a front design element appear in the background)
  • Alignment tool (to align the images and text in the workspace)

It includes other options to undo, redo, delete, and trash images. Moreover, it includes an Archive menu to create, open, save, and preview images.

  • The tabbed document bar includes a list of all opened documents.
  • The left-hand side (LHS) section includes:
  • Google Drive (displays a file tree of the drive)
  • Properties inspector pane (displays the details of the document or image properties as per the selection)
  • Layers list panel (displays details of the layers used to create images)
  • Effects list panel (displays details of the various effects applied to create images)
  • Animation panel (displays details of the animations associated with images)
  • The workspace is the space where you create images. Right-clicking on images provides various image-related options.
  • The Library Panel includes an array of defined clipart, rich color spectrum, gradients (linear and radial), and colored patterns to create brilliant-colored images.
  1. On the Tool bar, click the Draw tool (seventh item from left) to draw the basic shapes.
  2. On the Tool bar, use options such as Pen, Transform, Edit, and Alignment to create desired effects on the shapes.
  3. On the Library Panel, select the desired gradients or pattern colors to give additional effects to the shapes.
  4. You can also create shapes using an existing range of clipart from the Library Panel to form various types of innovative shapes.
  5. Click Save in the Archive menu of the top-corner of the screen to save the changes.
  1. Figure-Ground Reversal

Here is an example of figure-ground reversal—the Kanizsa Triangle Illusion. Create the same pattern using any digital art tool.

Sample answer:

You can create the pattern with any digital art tool. Here’s how to do it using Janvas.

  1. Open the Janvas tool and create a new image. It will display a blank workspace.
  2. On the tool bar, click Draw, and then click Rectangle.
  3. Draw a square on the workspace.
  1. On the Tool bar, click Pen, and then click Add vertex.
  2. Click in the middle on the top edge of thesquare. An extra vertex will appear.
  3. Click thePen tool again and then click Remove vertex.
  4. Click the first and last vertices on the top edge of the square. The square will transform into a triangle.
  1. Click the Object selection tool to select the triangle.
  2. On the Tool bar, click Edit menu, then Copy and Paste the triangle. The program will duplicate and insert the image of the triangle over the original triangle.
  3. On the menu bar, click the Transform tool, and then click Vertical reflection. The duplicate image of the triangle will flip 180 degrees.
  1. Change the dimensions (size, position, and rotation) of the triangles by dragging the nodes as required.
  1. Select and right-click on the rear triangle. A list of options will appear.
  1. Click Stroke width, and then select 4 pt. The width of the edges of the triangle will thicken.
  1. Click the front triangle, and then click Properties in the LHS section. The properties of the selected triangle will appear.
  2. Select the surface and edge colors of the front triangle as white (#FFFFFF) from the color palette. The color of the front triangle will change to white to match the background.
  1. Again, click and change the color to black.
  2. On the Tool bar, click Draw, and then click Ellipse.
  3. Draw a circle. A solid, black-colored circle will form.
  4. Repeat step 9 to create two more identical circles.
  1. Click the front white triangle and then bring to front. The white triangle will move to the front.
  2. Click and drag the circles to change the dimensions (size, position, and rotation) as required. The Kanizsa Triangle Illusion will appear.

  1. Click the Archive menu, and then click Save. The Save dialogue will appear.

Enter the name of the document and then click Save. The program will save the document.

  1. Universal Symbols

Examine the following universal symbols used in different industries such as medicine, information technology, and food. Analyze and tabulate the message or information conveyed by these symbols.

Sample answer:

No. / Universal Symbol / Description
1 / / This symbol represents cardiology and related clinical and medical applications. For instance, it designates a place where doctors or hospitals perform diagnostic tests and procedures for cardiology.
2 / / This symbol represents dental and related clinical and medical applications. For instance, it designates a place where dentists perform procedures such as extractions, crowns, and fillings.
3 / / This symbol represents a laboratory. For instance, it designates a placewhere a college runs physical, biological, or chemical experiments.
4 / / This symbol representsa server on a computer network. For instance, this symbol representsa development server used by a software team in theinformation technology field.
5 / / This symbol represents a fax machine. For instance, it designates a fax number or differentiates it from other numbers such as those for a telephone or a cell phone.
6 / / This symbol represents locked files or folders on a computer-oriented logical network. For instance, a folder with this icon indicates that users cannot access it without permission.
7 / / This symbol represents dairy products such as eggs, milk, and cheese. For instance, a supermarket uses it to indicate that the product is from a dairy farm.
8 / / This symbol represents bakery products such as cakes, muffins, and pies. For instance, shops or supermarkets with this symbol indicate that they sell bakery items.
9 / / This symbol representsa coffee shop. For instance, shops, restaurants, or hubs with this symbol indicate that they serve coffee, tea, and other soft drinks.