The basic idea of negative space drawing is to draw all the shapes that ARE NOT your subject. If you draw these shapes accurately you will have in essence drawn your subject correctly.
(All the blue shapes in the image to the right are negative spaces)
Got it? Still confused? Let’s break it down.
A negative space is the area around the subject you are drawing. Take a look at the photo below. The subject is the vase and flowers. All the white areas around the subject are negative spaces.
It can be hard to see the negative spaces or shapes at first. We have to use the Artists Eye to focus in on them. But when you can SEE them they are just abstract shapes like everything else.
Let’s try an exercise. Draw a picture plane of 6” inches x 6” inches on your paper. This will match the proportions of the image below. Now focus in on the negative shapes and draw only those shapes as best you can on your paper. Ignore the subject matter, make the negative shapes the subject matter.
Now that we have a handle on what negative shapes are, how can they help our drawing?
Negative space drawing will help your drawing in three very important ways.
The more you focus on negative space drawing the better your drawings will become. And pretty soon you will start seeing the world as a complex tapestry of positive and negative shapes.
This concludes the first section of Drawing Fundamentals. In Level 2: Basic Drawing, we will get into block-ins, comparative measurement, and some great tools to help make your drawings more accurate.