Learn to Draw - drawing and seeing space




Using and Drawing Space

The past few exercises helped you to use line to express your drawings. Now, we'll use what might be thought of as the opposite of line - space. A single line on the paper segments the drawing plane into "that area" and "this area", in addition, a single line also represents the outside of an object that you are attempting to depict. Line may be the single most important element in drawing because it's what defines it as a drawing, But the SECOND most important element would be space and the shapes created by the combination of space and line.

A contour drawing.

Space is the white area on your paper that isn't marked by the pencil. It's the old "yin and yang" idea; good and evil, left and right, positive and negative, and in drawing: Line and Space. The part of your drawing surface that you DON'T mark tells just as much of the story as the part that you DO mark. A true contour drawing (a single line that follows the outside edge of a simple object) illustrates the point of negative and positive space best because, with no detail at all inside the object, you are still able to determine what the object represents. So, in the next few exercises we will be concentrating on what artists call the white spaces on a drawing - negative space. The next few exercises will help your creative mind to further confound your logical mind. Your logical mind will not be able to identify what it is you're drawing because you're not going to be drawing the object itself but the empty shapes around the object. What we'll be creating is sort of a "white shadow" of an object. A shadow only shows the contours of the object it's a shadow of, there's no interior detail in the shadow. That's what we'll be doing: only depicting the contours, no interior detail.

Can you see the Name or just the lighter wood shapes?

Here's a real world example of space and shape: Have you ever seen those wooden plaques that say "Jesus" on them? Actually, it DOESN'T say "Jesus", it's just a bunch of wooden shapes glued to a plaque. The spaces between the wooden shapes are what form the name "Jesus". The spaces that form the name are the "negative" spaces in the plaque, the wooden shapes are the "positive" forms. What makes this plaque fun to look at is that the negatives and positives are reversed, what you'd normally expect to be positive is negative and vice versa. In the next exercise you will be drawing the "wooden shapes" of an object or the "negative spaces".

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