BLOGFree Tutorials

Drawing with Training Wheels: Positive and Negative Shapes

posted by Misfit July 30, 2015

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his is part 2 of a 4 part mini series.  If you want to check out part 1 click the image below to check it out.  Otherwise, read on my friend…Read ON

Making a GRID


In order to use the grid, we created in the preview Post, to it’s Highest potential, let’s review some basic rules about shapes.   In school we learn about triangles, squares, rectangles, and circles.  All the basic shapes.   As we get older, we also learn about polygons, or closed shapes that really have no name.   In art we deal with ALOT of these nameless or “misfit shapes.”  

Basic Shapes Review

We also learn in art that there are positive and negative shapes.   Positive shapes are things you can touch or grasp, where as negative shapes are the shapes typically created by positive shapes but we can’t grasp or touch them.  A great example of this is with a coffee mug.  The handle of the coffee mug is a positive shape that we can touch.  However, the hole inside the handle next to the mug is a negative shape.  We can’t touch it or grasp it but it still has a distinct shape.  


As you study these negative and positive shapes, we can see that as our perspective changes these shapes also change.  Going back to the mug, let me ask you the question “Is the rim on the mug a circle?”   The answer might surprise you.  

Sometimes the rim of the mug appears like a circle, yet if we tilt the mug slightly away from ourselves it can appear more oval.  If we lift the cup above our eye level the rim can appear similar to a curve or even a straight line.   

By using the grid, we can further break down this process by looking at one particular square and studying a single line.  Is the line curved, maybe it’s curved and then becomes a jagged straight?   


The exercise we will be doing in step 3 is great for removing what we think we see in front of us (such as with the rim of the mug) and actually paying attention to what is right before our nose.  


Want to Read more… Proceed to Part 3 of the Drawing Mini Series.   The next step we actually use the grid.  

Using the Grid


Lots of love on your art journey,


Carrie Luc


Leave a Comment

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons