Negative Space as a Positive Tool

In This Chapter

^ The virtues of negative space ^ Learning how to use negative space ^ Drawing negative space ^ Getting negative

I have learned that what I have not drawn, I have never really seen, and that when I start drawing an ordinary thing, I realize how extraordinary it is, a sheer miracle.

—Frederick Frank, The Zen of Seeing, (New York: Vintage/Random House, 1973)

Let's be positive about this. In space, "negative" is not a bad thing. This chapter is about shape and space. Really seeing both of them is a great step in learning to draw. In fact, from a drawing perspective, you should think of shape and space as interchangeable:

Positive Shape = Negative Space

Positive Space = Negative Shape

Your brain speaks to you constantly, reminding you of what you know about everything. That's fine for tasks that require verbal skills and linear, logical thinking. But seeing and drawing are visual skills, requiring relational, visual processing of information. And seeing a concept like negative space is definitely a job for the right side of the brain.

In Chapter 4, "The Picture Plane," you tried drawing a complicated object in a foreshortened view (fingers pointing at you) on the plastic picture plane. On the surface of the plastic, the 3-D shapes and space of your hand were condensed into two dimensions, and were

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