The Expressive Powers of Negative and Positive Shapes


1. Use positive and negative space in an interesting way.

2. Use 4.5 x 4.5 squares of black paper and all the negative cuttings to create two Notan Designs.

3. Understand and use elements of art: space & shape (positive and negative).

4. Understand and use principles of art: contrast & balance (symmetry and asymmetry).

You are going to make two collages which will express the concept of Notan. The first design is practice, to figure out what you are doing. The second design should be spectacular. This is the one that is graded.

For each collage you will use one square sheet of black paper and glue the design neatly into your sketchbook.

  • You must make at least 5 cuts and there should be at least one cut out of each of the four sides.

  • You might consider using a colored pencil to draw your idea lines on the black paper. If you do this, be sure to cut outside the colored lines, so the pencil gets flipped and glued down instead of being visible on the inside positive shapes.

  • You must use all your paper, the positive and the negative cuttings (you might want to avoid teeny shapes).

  • Please try to cut non-objective, unrecognizable shapes.

  • Please keep your work flat and unwrinkled. You may use scissors or an x-acto knife for this assignment. Glue shouldn’t be visible, yet all papers should be well-glued. Please do NOT glue on top of the cutting boards.

  • Use facing pages in your sketchbook so that you can see both designs at the same time.