Abstract Art

The abstract art piece I tried to mimic using Adobe Photoshop is Roy Lichtenstein’s Modular Painting with Four Panels III.


Lichtenstein’s piece is symmetrical and uses circles and rectangles to create depth and three dimensions. He uses various methods to create depth. For example, the red half-tone circles Lichtenstein creates using tiny red dots, all have drop shadows to make it appear that the circles are floating in some areas, and sunken in others. In Professor Ewa Callahan’s blackboard lecture, she describes a method used to create depth perception called superposition. When used, closer object partially covers distant object, according to Callahan. The drop shadows Lichtenstein creates with the black spaces appears to be cast shadow.

According to Robin Landa, the author of the sixth edition of Graphic Design Solutions, the formal elements of two-dimensional design are lines, shapes, color and texture (chapter2). Lichtenstein uses everyone of these elements. He uses lines to create a horizon across the middle of the piece. Circles and rectangles are used to fill up the space. Red, Blue, Yellow and Black color the shapes while polka dots are used to create half-tones. Lichtenstein is known for his comic-book looking art, which traditionally uses the dots to create lighter colors.

The shapes are all stacked onto one another, creating even more depth, regardless of whether the other shapes have drop shadows like the red circles. Some of the circles are sliced by other shapes, but they appear to be whole. There are also segments of rectangles representing larger lines that are understood to be continuous, creating continuity. The white lines going through the art, combined with the horizon, create a flat-top that adds even more dimension. When drawn, the vertical lines are thicker than the skewed diagonal lines, giving the perception of that flat area.

The abstract piece I created uses many of the same elements Lichtenstein used, though he did a much better job.

I tried to create a symmetric piece by having the same elements on each side of the screen, though catty-corner from one another. Like Lichtenstein, I created red spheres with black drop shadows, and used a horizon through the middle of the space to create a three-dimensional playing field.

Unlike Lichtenstein, though, I played around with rectangles and used a similar approach that was used with the spheres but giving the box a black outline. I don’t think it really works in creating a drop shadow, though. But maybe I need to step away and look at it another time.

I used the same colors as Lichtenstein in my piece, though I could not find the same half-tone effect. The half-tone I found created more of a knitted look on the spheres and blue rectangles.

The exercise was eye opening for me. I was not only forced to create art, I had to really analyze what Lichtenstein did to understand how to approach my piece.

ROY LICHTENSTEIN Modular Painting with Four Panels III by Roy Lichtenstein, Abstract Geometric


Landa, R. (2018). Graphic Design Solutions, Sixth Edition. Boston, MA: Cengage.

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