Finding Negative Space

I’m afraid to admit I didn’t explain this project very well the first time around ..that or nobody was listening (that never happens). The second time I focused heavily on the demonstration even though it cut into our drawing time.

Negative space is the area around an object…meaning NOT the object. (Negative cyberspace is Twitter around election time.) Again, nothing that would be inside the object should be drawn.

Focusing on the negative areas really does help us draw better. I even think it helps re-wire the brain – try it. You can feel a mental switch take place as you look at not-the-object.

Little Bit of the Why

Negative space is an important element of all types of design, not just drawing. It can make a powerful statement if it’s planned and designed well. You can see the impact that it makes in buildings, monuments and certain episodes of Project Runway.

Here are some great examples of bad and good negative space: The Importance of Negative Space. It can be just as important as the main focus of a piece.

So Let’s Do This

Before letting them head outside to practice, I traced over an image to show them exactly what they’re looking for – the contour. Contour is just a fancy way of saying outline. It’s also important to include the gaps inside your subject. For example, a contour of Michael Strahan’s face would not be complete without that huge gap in his teeth.

Add a Shape and Color

Or just color….the shape wasn’t for everybody.

The last challenge of this project was to color the negative space but to also divide out some positive space with a simple shape.

Negative space = NOT the object

Positive space = the object

Neutral space = the space that your car ends up after you parked on the hill and left it in neutral

How Did We Do?