Weekly Exercise – Exploring Positive and Negative Space
Using objects in your surroundings to see the world as a pattern of positive and negative shapes is an excellent way to warm up your eyes and brain for a good day at the easel. This was one of my students’ favorite exercises from my old lesson book.
Using a permanent marker or ink, make simple drawings of any object. Draw from life, not from photographs. For the first drawing, draw the object as the dark value, focusing on the shapes of the object as Positive Space. Make a second drawing, repeating the shapes you designed in the first drawing. This time, focus on those shapes as Negative Space, leaving them white. Repeat the exercise each morning for a week. With each day, attempt to simply the shapes. For example, eliminate the detail of small branches. Try to look for the basic, most important shapes. Try to find small shapes that function well in the design of your drawing, not just to show detail. Keep in mind that you are creating a design, not just describing the object.
Sketchbook Drawings: drawn with black marker on tissue paper.