Exercise Three: Negative Space and Positive Space
In Exercise Two we focused on shapes and values. We observed how composition can be altered by even slight changes of shape and by using value to combine shapes to create a totally different shape. We also experienced how the choice of value for shapes can create the illusion of form or turn an object into a flattened abstract design. If you missed one or more of these observations, make a mental note to return to Exercise Two again at some future time.
The focus is again on shape in Exercise Three, shapes created by positive space and negative space. I consider shadows to be positive space. In the drawing above, the positive space shapes are the watch and the ribbon attached to the watch. (When the watchband broke I turned it into a pocket watch.) The positive space shapes are defined by green ink lines. The red ink lines define the negative space shapes. There are numerous positive space shapes and only two negative space shapes.
Choose on object and make several drawings being aware of all the shapes. Every shape should contribute to the drawing. If it doesn’t, why is it there? Do you need it? Can you describe your object without it? Every shape should interact well with its neighboring shapes. If you create a shape you don’t like ….. change it. Draw your object from different angles and from different distances. Pay as much attention to the negative space shapes as you do to the shapes describing the positive space (the watch and ribbon). Your eyes respond to shapes and values without discrimination between what is and what isn’t. It is the brain that interprets the shapes and gives them names.
Sketchbook Drawings: Drawn with red ink and green ink using a dip pen.