Good representative dictionaries is the most critical part of the BoVW: Bag of Visual Words scheme, used for such tasks as category identification. The paradigm of learning dictionaries from datasets is by far the most widely used approach and there exists a plethora of methods to this effect. Dictionary learning methods demand abundant data, and when the amount of training data is limited, the quality of dictionaries and consequently the performance of BoVW methods suffer. A much less explored path for creating visual dictionaries starts from the knowledge of primitives in appearance models and creates families of parametric shape models. In this work, we develop shape models starting from a small number of primitives and develop a visual dictionary using various nonlinear operations and nonlinear combinations. Compared with the existing model-driven schemes, our method is able to represent and characterize images in various image understanding applications with competitive, and often better performance.