OCAD Studio: Negative Space

Negative space drawing is a way of working that will help you to ignore preconceptions about what you’re drawing, and see things more visually.

It is a very simple concept; you just draw all the space around your subject rather than the subject itself. This approach can be used when drawing anything.

As we have seen in previous lessons, one of the most common mistakes made by people learning to draw is that they draw what they expect an object looks like. We expect a chair will look a certain way, so we draw our expectations rather than what is visually there. By focusing on the empty spaces that surround and fill the chair shape, we can ignore these preconceptions entirely and just focus on the abstract negative spaces.

In essence, we’re trying to fool our brains into letting go of the desire to draw a chair. As a consequence, you will get much better at drawing what is actually there, rather than what you think is there.

Once you’ve understood how negative space drawing works, you can use it as a method to make finished pieces of art (see the clever designs that make use of negative space on the right) or use it as a way to check shapes in your other drawings and paintings. The most important thing to remember, is that it teaches you another way of seeing your subject, or to be more accurate, not seeing it 😉

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART