Intimacy. Part 2. Composition. Positive/Negative drawing.

Drawing with one line with few breaks. Positive and negative space sketching.

Here is a selection of some drawings I engaged in whilst on holiday. I was interested in drawing fast so I could capture the essence of the subject. So I sat on a Norwich bench in the market and watched the pigeons feeding on scraps. With a fast flowing gel pen I quickly drew the birds around me. Each picture taking roughly 2 to 3 seconds. Sometimes I over drew on the same page, getting a very animated picture. The action of the birds was quite comical, and sometimes I drew just the one bird who kept coming passed me. Sometimes it was two or three birds.


Whilst I was drawing, a group of homeless folk sat next to me and one of the men had a dog, so I asked if I could draw her. It was a hot day so the dog was restless. Here’s what I sketched.


On another day, in Cromer, sitting in a cafe, a dog wandered in with it’s elderly owners. So I was keen to sketch this dog, he was called Benji. I quite liked the sketches, in fact these are my favourites.


It’s interesting that you only need a few lines to capture the feel, character, form and shape of the subject.  In Chinese brush painting the whole thinking is to paint with a few lines and marks. Less is more. Matisse was a master with drawing, he was able to sketch with very loose open lines to create window views or portraits of women.

Picasso also drew quickly with line and played around with positive and negative spaces. So I decided to redraw the pigeons and shade in the spaces at random. Here’s my results. Filling the spaces has made the birds look solid and giving them a sense of movement.


Positive and Negative drawing.

Positive and negative drawing is the process of looking at a still life ( and other things) and seeing the gaps or spaces between the objects, that can be shaded in and will create the shape of object or still life.

In this next sketch I drew a pile of saws with a soft 2B pencil, drawing only the spaces between the saws, good for observing and easy to get lost in the picture too. Plus some extra drawings from my sketch book.



This next sketch is of my washing, but drawn with ink and a stick. There are lots of spaces as it’s a very open drawing. I chose a square shape piece of paper as it suited the subject, as I visually cropped the area I was looking at. I tried to capture the washing slightly moving in the hot breeze.





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