Positive / Negative Space

Discuss idea of positive/negative space – the subject(s) vs. the space around/between; shapes not lines; idea of a silhouette; layered objects in space become one on the page.


Be mindful that object creates interesting design as opposed to a big black or white blob.

Discuss examples of corn and ladder on the board and link to these ideas.

Sketchbook practice – find a small magazine image that would create an interesting pos/neg space drawing. Keep image next to drawing – draw and colour in the negative space, leaving the positive space blank.

Assignment – Create a multi-object composition that explores positive/negative space through layering. Combine 2-3 objects into an interesting positive /negative space composition.  Lightly draw the negative space around/between the objects. Carefully cut away negative pieces so that the positive space is one single, connected object from black paper.  Mount on to another piece of white/coloured paper. Students may paint their white background if they wish to make the project more colourful. Or mount white on to black if they wish.

Student Examples: see binder for more…