Positive/Negative Space Collage #1

Cut paper col­lage is a great way to teach the con­cepts of positive/negative space and sym­me­try. This les­son is inspired by the art of Japan­ese ‘Notan’, which empha­sizes the con­trast between light and dark. Each student’s project will look unique, every­one will feel suc­cess­ful, and it’s not even messy! You can’t beat that com­bi­na­tion! 

1. Each stu­dent will need two pieces of con­struc­tion paper in con­trast­ing col­ors.… one 9″ x 12″ and one 4 1/2″ x 12″.
2. On the smaller paper, draw inter­est­ing shapes on each edge of the paper, leav­ing the cor­ners intact. (Remem­ber to draw lightly so you can erase your pen­cil lines later!) This should leave one large shape, with four com­plete cor­ners, in the mid­dle of your paper.

3. Now, care­fully cut out the shapes you drew — don’t lose any!
4. Place the 9″ x 12″ paper ver­ti­cally in front of you and glue the one large shape from the smaller paper onto the left side of the larger paper, match­ing the top and bot­tom cor­ners on the left.
5. Next, lay your loose shapes back into the places you cut them from (no glue on these yet!) — just like putting a puz­zle together!
6. Then, one at a time, flip your small pieces over onto the right side of the larger paper and glue them down so that the right side is a “mir­ror image” of the left side.
7. Finally, erase any pen­cil lines that are show­ing.… I hope you pressed lightly with your pencil!

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One Response to Positive/Negative Space Collage #1

  1. Cindy Lee Jones September 21, 2009 at 9:48 pm #


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