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Balance, Symmetry, and Leaves- Podcast #50

This week I’m talking about balance, symmetry and how they’re related to leaves! Deanna’s unavailable, so it’s a solo episode this week!

What is Balance? What is Symmetry?

Balance is one of the Principles of Design

  • Principles of Design:  How to use the elements of art to make art (Emphasis, Movement, Rhythm, Contrast, Variety, Balance and unity
    • It’s what to put where- the things to consider as you plan your work of art
  • Balance: the equal arrangement of visual weight on each side of the work of art.
    • Size, color, texture, contrast, etc, can all play a role in balance and they all interact with each other.
    • Art is usually either balanced or unbalanced. 
    • Balanced art is either symmetrical, approximately symmetrical, or asymmetrical.
    • Symmetrical artwork is the same on each side of a central axis, typically vertical, but also sometimes horizontal, or radial (arranged around a center). 

(see the links below for all the examples mentioned!)

Why Teach Symmetry?

When students learn about symmetry is stretches their brain and helps them with related concepts like geometry, algebra, and a thorough understanding of what an equals sign really means!

Check out this great article about how symmetry helps students understand math: How Teaching With Symmetry Improves Math Understanding

Balance is also an important concept in art, helping us compose our works of art for full effect!

How are Symmetry and Leaves Related?

Symmetry is very important when identifying plants! In order to identify a plant, you’ll want to notice if the leaf is symmetrical and if the leaves are arranged on the branch symmetrical. This is all explained in our new drawing lesson plan:

Drawing leaves is a lot of fun and it’s a great quick win for students. Leaves are very recognizable and they’re simple enough that you can teach them in a short class period.

Once you feel comfortable with leaves, you’ll be able to draw them every time you open your nature journal. You can even start to work on adding color to leaves, using yellow for highlights and blue for shadows!

Things we Mention:

Here are some examples of off-balance sculptures. Their lack of balance creates a really unique effect!


The Great Wave by Hokusai- The lack of balance gives us the feeling that we’re being tossed in the waves!

The Parthenon is a great example of symmetrical architecture

King Tut’s Mask is nearly or approximately symmetrical

Stained glass mandalas are a great example of radial symmetry!

Birth of Venus by Botticelli is either approximately symmetrical or asymmetrical. What do you think?


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