Positive and Negative
Artists talk about space in two different
Can you think of what the definitions for
positive and negative space might be?
Positive Space Positive space is the space that an object
On the left hand side picture, the positive space
is the area that the bottles take up.
On the right hand side picture, the positive
space is shown as the black objects.
Negative Space Negative space is opposite of positive.
Negative space is the space around an object.
On the left hand side picture, the negative space
is the white area around the bottles.
On the right hand side picture, the negative
space is shown as the black area surrounding
What images take up positive
space? Negative space?
"Notan" is the term used by the Japanese to express
"light-dark" as an element of design.
We use the terms positive space and negative space,
dividing the idea of light-dark into separate components.
Dark shapes cannot exist without a surrounding area of
white. White shapes cannot exist without dark to define it.
The two elements are really one. This is an eastern
concept of yin-yang that each IS what the other IS NOT.
Notan: Design in Light and Dark
Planning Theme or Motif
Think of a THEME or MOTIF
BE SPECIFIC when it comes to broad themes.
If you choose nature break it down in to a subcategory.swamps or
desserts or jungles have more
specific images to choose from nature.
Look up some ways to stylize the objects you want to create in
your notan. Focus on simple lines and
Theme or Motif1. Brainstorm all the different images that help
tell the story about your
chosen theme.for example, if my theme is Swamp, I know I want
alligator, vines, snakes, bog trees, cattails, etc. the more
ideas the better.
2. Find references on the computer. Copy and paste them into a
document and save them into your H:/ Drive.
3. Print out your references and put your name on it.
4. Get a pieces of newsprint paper and create a stylized version
pictures and draw them. They should be simple line drawings
should be able to use an exacto knife to cut them out
Tip= Draw your images large that way you wont have tons of tiny
1. THINK how it would look in terms of placementhow would you
entire piece of paper? Where would you flip out the positive
ensure the composition is balanced?
YOUR GOAL: to create a
composition where both positive
and negative spaces are made
interesting. Think out of the box
Expand of the square.
Student's work was complex, detailed. The work seemed to almost
because of high contrast. There is NO focal point and your eye
moves in an
around the design, which means great use of the positive and
concepts.you understand NOTAN.
Students work was innovative showed originality. (No use of
hearts and advertising symbols)
Immaculate detail, clean; student showed extreme care when
Includes Double and Triple cuts on most pieces.
Immaculate neatness and care when gluing. (No missing
Great effort set forth and student was enthusiastic and showed a
attitude when working on this art project. (NO is this good
BE PREPARED FOR THE TASK AT HAND Lessen distractions and do not
be afraid to ask your table mates to help
(or be more quiet).
Pay attention to what you are doing or YOU WILL GET CUT
INSPECT KNIFE CAREFULLY Make sure blade is secure
GO SLOWLY No rough cuts please
ONLY CUT ON THE MAT Let the blade work for you
UNDERSTAND the sharp is real!
CUT WITH AWARENES OF NON-SLICING HAND CARE Wheres your other
HANDLE WITH CARE as you return it
YOU can do a super job if you follow rules!
TIPS(So you dont cut the tip off of your fingers, or worse)
****Clean up after yourself. DO NOT
leave ANYTHING out, it will get
Lets make a folder, shall we?