What Is Visual Arts?

Visual arts or studio art refers to art experienced primarily through the sense of sight. Read this article to learn more about visual arts and the topics you can expect to see in this area of study. Schools offering Acting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Visual Arts

The term visual arts encompasses several different art forms, including both fine arts, such as drawing, painting, photography, and sculpture, as well as handicrafts, such as basketry, ceramics, textiles, and jewelry. Many undergraduate visual arts programs at colleges, universities, and technical schools offer a basic overview of studio arts and encourage students to explore a variety of art forms before deciding on a specialty. Students then begin to focus on techniques that apply to the media of their choosing. Graduates often go on to become professional artists or teachers. The remainder of the article examines the various types of visual art topics covered in most visual arts programs.

Important Facts about This Area of Study

Common Courses Visual development imaging, history of visual development, model and character design, visual elements of story, fundamentals of environment, visual styles
Programs Undergraduate, graduate
Online Availability Many select schools
Possible Careers Artist, photographer, sculpture, programmer, teacher, font designer, digital lab technician, webmaster, exhibitions designer
Job Outlook (2016-2026) -6% (all photographers)
Median Salary (2018) $34,000 (all photographers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

2-D Art

Typical courses include drawing, illustration, sketching, painting, and collage. All are two-dimensional or 2-D forms of visual art, in which the final product is created on a flat surface. Printmaking and photography are considered 2-D arts even though the images they portray may appear to be 3-D. Most collages and many mosaics are also 2-D, although there is some overlap with 3-D art depending on the media the artist uses.

3-D Art

Three-dimensional or 3-D art courses include sculpture, metalworking, jewelry design, ceramics, pottery, woodworking, architecture, and landscape design. Students create 3-D visual art pieces by starting with 2-D tools, like graphite pencils or charcoal, to sketch their designs. They then use the media specific to the final 3-D product, such as clay, wood, metal, stones, precious gems, glass, and other materials.

Computer Art

Examples of computer art courses include digital photography, Web design, animation, video games, graphic design, sound design, and 3-D computer modeling. Tools include computer hardware, software, and capturing and storage media, such as CDs and DVDs. Courses also cover new ways of displaying visual arts, such as digital frames, plasma screens, and other hardware that reduce computer artists' dependence on traditional computer monitors.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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