What is (and is not) "Negative Space"? (And how do you use it.)

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
stevo23 Forum Pro • Posts: 22,405

lilBuddha wrote:

stevo23 wrote:

lilBuddha wrote:

stevo23 wrote:

lilBuddha wrote:

, they can be chaotic. That most are not is a function of basic design and not arabesque in itself.

Chaotic in what way? They are arabesques - curves that run through an image/painting that tie elements together and create a sense of movement.

They do not have to tie elements together. The basic definition is

No, they don't have to, but more often than not, they do. Because of what they are, our eyes naturally follow them.

Not because of what they are, but because good design uses technique. You are describin technique creating good design and that is not how it works.


And to be fair, most of the muddy confusion I find about negative space comes from photographers who think they know something about composition as in rule of thirds. Rule of thirds isn't a thing either, but photographers grab onto it like it's life itself.

The rule of thirds is most definitely a thing. What it isn't is an absolute. Like any other compositional technique, it is a guide that is often, but not always, useful.

its dead and static. If/when people design to it, if they are successful, it is in spite of the rule of thirds.  Decoding the masters should yield something very different.

*I'd not heard the term before. My art instructors were either more simple** or less pretentious as they merely called it the relationship between subject and background.

It is the relationship between foreground and background, at it's simplest. But I would say that the "ground" doesn't always have to be "back" ground although that is getting picky.

**They were professional fine artists, retired commercial artists and retired architects.

So it's pretentious to have a term for it? Is that condescending on purpose?

Not condescending, just accurate. There are terms in any given field that are essentially code for the in-crowd.

Oh, okay.  But you apparently knew the “in” crowd, so what are you saying?  I have a hard time not hearing a bit of cynicism here.

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