As my artist's statement explains, my work is utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance. -- Calvin and Hobbes

Sunday, March 14, 2010

#12 Negative Space; 31 days of Rhinos

"Look, I'm trying to be positive, but you're in my negative space!"
#12 Negative Space; 31 days of rhinos
Pencil and Ink

If you haven't ever heard of drawing negative space, it's probable that you haven't taken an art class.

This should be one of the fundamental exercises for a beginner. In fact, I remember first drawing negative space in an 8th grade art class. My teacher made us draw from our desk, the view around his head, as I recall. Then, the space around other objects, like chairs, and some more organic shapes. It was eye opening to find that I could render an image by drawing the space around it! The important thing he was always telling us was, "Stop fretting over not being able to draw a chair!! Drawing is about shapes, the shapes that make up the subject, and the shapes that make up the background. The Subject is your positive space, and the rest is your negative space. So, just draw the shapes around your subject, and you will have the chair you are trying to draw! Eventually, you will begin to understand how a given subject is formed and it will become easier and easier!"
[wiki excerpt "
Negative space, in art, is the space around and between the subject(s) of an image. Negative space may be most evident when the space around a subject, and not the subject itself, forms an interesting or artistically relevant shape, and such space is occasionally used to artistic effect as the "real" subject of an image. The use of negative space is a key element of artistic composition. The Japanese word "ma" is sometimes used for this concept, for example in garden design.[1][2][3][4]
In a two-tone, black-and-white image, a subject is normally depicted in black and the space around it is left blank (white), thereby forming a silhouette of the subject. However, reversing the tones so that the space around the subject is printed black and the subject itself is left blank causes the negative space to be apparent as it forms shapes around the subject, called figure-ground reversal.
Elements of an image that distract from the intended subject, or in the case of photography, objects in the same focal plane, are not considered negative space. Negative space can be used to depict a subject in a chosen medium by showing everything around the subject but not the subject itself. Usage of negative space will produce a silhouette of the subject.
The use of equal negative space, as a balance to positive space, in a composition is considered by many as good design. This basic and often overlooked principle of design gives the eye a "place to rest," increasing the appeal of a composition through subtle means. The term is also used by musicians to indicate silence within a piece."]
When I went surfing to see what was online, I found lots of great articles, blogs, tutorials, and the lot on drawing negative space. Here's just one: Using Negative Space Drawing

The inspiration for the sketch came from a photo by the remarkable photographer, Nick Brandt!
I found his site through a neat blog called Nothing Relevant (which by the way, has lots of relevant on it!)

Although my cold is gone, I'm still fighting a very bizarre fatigue that has been making me nearly unable to function. I taught a little workshop on Saturday and did a fun run with a friend on Sunday. These are the only activities I have been able to accomplish, literally. I hope to be back on track tomorrow.

See you then!

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  1. I think this one is my favorite Rebecca!

  2. Love it Rebecca, we did a few weeks of drawing lessons in my watercolor class and besides gesture drawing we drew negative space, I loved it. It really was quite eye opening.

  3. Very fun - really enjoying your series =)


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