Positive and Negative Space

In many basic drawing classes, students learn that there are three basic elements of a composition: the frame, the positive and the negative space. The positive space is easiest to understand. Generally, it is the space occupied by your subject. Conversely, negative space is the space that is not your subject.


The negative space is defined by the edges of the positive space and the frame or border (our third element). So, part of our negative space is bounded by the frame and another part is bounded by the positive space. Sometimes the negative space is completely bounded by the positive space. What it important also to note is that the negative space also defines our subject.



The positve space is masked in black in the second photo.

The negative space is masked in black in the third photo.








Here is another example by artist Victor Vasarely on the difference between positive and negative space:


Enhancing Your Art with Negative Space:

As a designer and artist, it’s easy to concentrate and attach ourselves to the main objects of our work — So easy in fact, that we can easily forget about a part of our work equally important: The Negative Space.

Negative Space is the space between an object, around an object, but is not part of the actual object itself. It is the opposite of an identifiable object which can at the same time be used to help define the boundaries of positive space. (click title to read more)


Notan Design

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