Day 25: Negative Space

Our brains get in the way when we’re drawing figures, because they think they know how figures should be drawn and they often don’t. But they don’t have these annoying ideas about negative space, so we can see negative space fresh without interference from pre-conceptions. So that’s great, but how do you use negative space to actually help you during a drawing? 

Negative space is the space around what you are drawing. This is negative space for example. As with most other shapes, especially in short poses, you don’t need the details of the shape, but the big, simplified picture.

When you’re doing your figure drawing, every now and then observe the negative space and see if your drawing has it about right. Very often you might not see problems in the drawing of the figure until you check the negative space.

Look for some basic information about its overall shape, not the details. Is it wider than it is tall? What are the big important angles in it? Very similar things that you look for in the figure. 

Also, negative space doesn’t have to be just the areas where you can see the background behind the model. It’s the shape of the space around any part of the figure that you are trying to understand. The negative space doesn’t have to only be the contained shapes either. When drawing the jaw and chin for example, you can look for the shape created underneath it. 

After a while, these checks on negative space will be automatic and will happen without consciously thinking about it too much. 

So, during the session today, see if you start to get into the habit of checking that negative space every now and then. Is the overall basic shape of it about right? Good luck with your practice, and I’ll see you back here tomorrow.


Day 25 Croquis Cafe practice session

Day 26 Tutorial

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