Negative Space

Negative space is the space around and between the subject(s) of an image. Negative space may be most evident when the space around a subject, not the subject itself, forms an interesting or artistically relevant shape, and such space occasionally is used to artistic effect as the “real” subject of an image.

Students will explore negative space through cut-outs.  Negative Space Rubric – or check after examples 1. Simple figure cut-outs.  2. 4 panel story cut outs with colors.  Final – Students will choose an emotion and generate a “monster” that represents that emotion. Color Background with 3 additional color cutouts. Fill the page with shapes around the Monster.



Anticipatory Examples Negative Space –






Shadow art  Tim Noble and Sue Webster – 


NobleGarbage art


Edward Tufte –

tufte negative space

What is not there is what is there.  Which is more important the shadows and space in the middle or the shape of the metal in the sculpture?


Picasso – Chicago  – Google Image cache   The time of day and the change in angle allows the negative space to be completely different although the metal sculpture stays the same.


Name: ________________       Date: _________      

Art 1 – Starting week of 01/05/14  Negative Space – Layering Collage

Essential Question: How do artists use negative space? How do artists use the principles of design and elements of art? Materials: Sketchbook , scissors, colored construction paper.


Assignment Time – Comments / Points
1. Students will sketch and cut a figure out of a white ½ sheet and paste both the figure and the remaining paper to a black piece of construction paper. Students will repeat the process with a more complicated and abstract figure and paste it on the back side of the same black paper. ~ 45  minutes /50
2. Students will tell a story with a total of 8 figures using negative space cut outs. Students will sketch 2 figures each on 4 separate colored squares of paper and cut the figures out while saving the remaining part of the colored squares. On one side of black construction paper, students will paste the 4 colored squares in a design that tells a story. On the other side of the same construction paper, students will paste the cut out figures in a design that tells a story. ~ 90  minutes /100
Final Design: Layering and Negative Space.Choose an emotion and make a “monster” to represent that emotion.

1. Students will use no more than 3 colors (not including black) to cut out figures and paste together a design that covers the entire page of 1 of the colors used. Students must use the concept of negative space as they use complex figures to layer their final design.

~ 110 minutes /200

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