Foundations of Drawing
Illustration by John Hersey

The relationship between objects


From:

Foundations of Drawing

with Will Kemp

Video: The relationship between objects

So now we've learned about negative spaces, you'll start to see them everywhere. So you'll be walking outside and you'll see a tree and you'll go oh that has a good negative space or some railings. You'll go there's a really nice negative space. And it's so good to do because it can really help us to create those great compositions. So now we're going to look at it in a simple still life setup, and how we can start to move objects around to control the viewer's gaze within a composition using the power of negative space. So in this composition, I have purposely arranged it, so you can all the areas where the lines just bump up to each other.

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Watch the Online Video Course Foundations of Drawing
2h 24m Beginner Apr 28, 2014

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Anyone can learn how to draw. Success comes down to three things:

Shape: By focusing on the shapes of the objects (and more importantly the shapes between the objects) you can view subjects with a whole new outlook and focus.

Simplicity: You'll get better results by concentrating on simple subjects and drawing techniques that will still prove powerful when used together.

Structure: A structured approach makes drawing easier to master.

Each chapter in this course is built on these three principles, combining drawing theory and practical examples with worksheets and drawing assignments. Will Kemp brings his passion for teaching and infectious love of drawing together in these lessons. You'll learn about line, value, tone, negative space, and perspective, and come away with the confidence to start making drawing a daily practice.

This course was created and produced by Will Kemp. We're honored to host this training in our library.

Topics include:
  • Materials you need to draw
  • Drawing theory
  • Framing your composition
  • Using the picture plane
  • Creating contrast
  • Using negative space to create more powerful compositions
  • Creating form from shadows and light
Subject:
Design
Author:
Will Kemp

The relationship between objects

So now we've learned about negative spaces, you'll start to see them everywhere. So you'll be walking outside and you'll see a tree and you'll go oh that has a good negative space or some railings. You'll go there's a really nice negative space. And it's so good to do because it can really help us to create those great compositions. So now we're going to look at it in a simple still life setup, and how we can start to move objects around to control the viewer's gaze within a composition using the power of negative space. So in this composition, I have purposely arranged it, so you can all the areas where the lines just bump up to each other.

This line here, they hit together. What this does is cramp your actual composition, it doesn't give the viewer any space for their eye to move around the scene. If you compare that to this view, which is only slightly changed. My angle's changed slightly and I've moved the actual jug out. But, now I've gained all these spaces here in between the object, I've got these nice shapes in the handles and they just help the viewer's eye to flow around the actual piece say much easier. It just makes more balanced drawing and more balanced composition to work from.

So here's a simple setup that hasn't worked as well. That's because of where the lemon is positioned right next to the edge of the actual wine bottle. What it does is the lines join up. And this line here is on the same line as this. There is no indication of the space between the two. What you need to do is position the lemon to the left a bit or the right a bit and get a bit of space in between the two objects. Also here on the left hand side, see how the top edge of the chopping board is in the same line as the background.

Again, it gives you that spatial ambiguity where you're not quite sure what's coming forward and what's going back. Here's the set up for still life painting I'm painting at the moment, you can see here there's a negative space. A nice one in the handle. But what has happened in this whole area just hasn't got any real spaces. There's a little gap there, but not enough. The whole thing is just one block. So I tried a different set up to see if that improved matters. You can now see a nice space coming through here. And a tiny little bit on the handle up there.

But in terms of its balance, everything seems to be over this side. So I had another move around with this set up. In the final selection, I've got more of a balance in terms of scale, in terms of the large focus of the object. Notice even where this little glass container is, I've got this gap. And that's so important just to give a bit more flow to your eye to move around the image that we're looking at! Now I'm going to set up a simple still life using some of the principles of negative space so you can create powerful compositions for your own still life drawings.

And if anyone's interested, here's how my final still life painting turned out.

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