The Beauty of Negative Space in Art

A negative space in art is the space between and around the subject of an image. The negative space is usually evident when the space surrounding a subject forms an artistically or interesting relevant shape.

The resulting space is occasionally used to artistic effect as the “real” image’s subject. Examples of negative space in art can appear in the area between flower’s petals; a cup and its handle; and between an object and edges of a canvas.

 

In painting and drawing, a negative space in art is a real shape sharing edges with a positive shape (the object you are painting or drawing), consequently creating an outline of your subject. When composing your painting or drawing, it is important to keenly check both the positive and negative space in art between them in order to accurately assess their relationship and proportions.

Occupational Conversation Series by B4Abraham

To know more about layout and composition check out our article: How to Make Your Art Tell a Story

There are several ways in which you can use negative space in art despite the type of art you are creating. Here are some of the ways you can effectively use negative space in art especially if you are looking to improve balance.

Good Omens movie poster by Aecel Acuña

Composition

Try creating a drawing that is dominantly negative space art. Rather than place your main subject in the center, you can try placing it in one of the edges and leaving a wide area of the page blank. It worth’s noting that the negative space drawing does not necessarily have to be white.

James Bond movie No Time to Die by Jaime Araneta

Try 3D shapes on 2D surfaces

Practice drawing negative space in art around an object rather than the object itself. For instance, if you are drawing a flower figure, it’s simpler to draw blank spaces between and around flower parts than the actual parts. This is due to fewer preconceived notions regarding what shapes blank spaces should be.

The Crimes of Grindelwald movie poster by Islam Abdallah

Overlapping negative and positive space

Overlapping the negative and positive space is a technique that you can use to create eye-catching designs. Experiment with using positive and negative space art in different ratios until you hit a balance. For digital art, try experimenting with different aspect ratios when cropping to find an ideal balance.

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Prisoners & Jailers by B4Abraham

“Alcohol addiction” by Boris Zhitko

Trigger inquisitiveness 

Adopt a design that will get more attention and which viewers are likely to retain in their minds. If your art is focused on a campaign or advertisement, you can focus on an image that tells a story or one that can paradoxically challenge viewers to recognize the other side of your art.

Batman Movie The Dark Night Rises teaser poster

The Dark Tower poster art by Rico Jr.

Conclusion

Utilizing negative space design in a clever way may be difficult, but can send a powerful message when done right. Arts speak a lot and utilizing every aspect can really communicate much about your design.

We’ve compiled more examples of creatively executed negative space in design for your inspiration.

Check them out below.

Godzilla – The king of monsters by Pablo Iranzo Duque

Bad Boys for Life: alternative movie poster by Ram Gore

“Where ability meets agility” by Patrick George

Batman Villains – The Joker by Benedict Woodhead

Dog & Cat by George Bokhua

Jane Austen’s Emma movie poster by @nowheregirling

The Lobster movie poster by Joseph K. Roman

Gorilla Fix Logo by Raymond Mantilla

Jessica Jones poster art by Rico Jr

What do you think about negative space in design and art? Did you find this article helpful? Please comment below.

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B4 Abraham

Hello! I'm a graphic and concept artist located in Dubai, UAE.