"Nothing is more real than Nothing."~Samuel Beckett

Key Concepts
  • Negative Space
  • Using a Basic Unit
  • Relating to the Format

Using "negative space" to define composition

Read pp. 116-120 in DRSB. See especially Fig.7-2 on page 120, read what Dr. Edwards has to say on page 120 about how the format controls the composition. Find an object which you can trace repeatedly to create a variety of different compositions within the formats.


What should I draw? NOTHING

Using a viewfinder, try drawing a chair by only drawing vertical lines to fill in the negative space around the chair, not the chair itself. If it's easier, use scratch board instead of pencil.

The 'Basic Unit' Concept

Read pp. 123-126, beginning with "Choosing a Basic Unit." Answer questions on the following worksheet:

Here is a short video explaining sighting and measuring your subject when drawing from life by University of Georgia Art Major Sasha Stowers:

Sighting and Measuring Techniques from Sasha Stowers on Vimeo.

Your negative space drawing of a chair


After learning about choosing and using a "basic unit" to help with placement and proportion, and about how the "picture frame" and negative space help with composition, Drawing and Seeing students drew a still life of a chair on 18x24 newsprint pads. They had a full week to do this

  • Read the directions on pp. 127-132, draw a chair in your sketchbook
  • Draw 2 other objects in yoursketchbook, emphasizing the negative space
  • On 18x24" Newsprint pad:
    • Draw a large chair (still life)
  1. Give yourself a 2" margin all around the page
  2. Tone your page with graphite
  3. Choose/use a "basic unit" (see pp.123-126)
  4. Start by drawing the negative space around the chair, but...
  5. Fully finished, detailed, shading etc.