The third exercise in the book was about the control of tension, balance and movement in a design. Notan occurs when: “the negative space is sufficiently enclosed by the format to produce a shape that the eye and mind can grasp; there is reversibility of positive and negative space; and the shapes in the design exchange value.”
Exercise four was about dominance and subordination, and added another value besides black and white. This third value of gray added even more tension and interest.
The fourth exercise was about compartmented design.
The final exercise of the book incorporated the previous compartmented design study with an abstracted and distorted drawing of a common implement or tool. I chose my garlic press. Each design is a sequence of distortion, from what is obviously a garlic press to the completely abstract shape.
This Notan book was so much better than I expected. And sure, I could’ve just sat down on the couch and read the 80-page book in an hour. But I learned so much more by actually working through the exercises! I want to keep this knowledge of balance, positive negative space, tension and design elements in mind when I practice my art. Notan forever!
Hi. I’m Rachel. An artist, feminist practitioner, and crone of compassion and wisdom living in Madison, Wisconsin, USA. I hold a bachelor of arts in studio painting and art education.
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