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Positive/Negative Bugs

Submitted by: Amy Shapley
UNIT: Art-Science - Positive/Negative Shape - Design
Lesson: Positive/Negative Bugs
Grade level: 7th Grade (Adaptable grades 4 through 8)



To create a design using a detailed drawing reversing positive and negative space. Understand organic shape and geometric shape.



Look at pattern in nature - study patterns of bugs - Draw from bug collections (or photographs).



5 to 6 inch (13 to 15 cm) squares Newsprint. or copy paper
18 x 18 inch (46 cm) squares good quality Drawing Paper. (or any desired size)
6 inch (15 cm) squares of Tag board. - Compasses./Protractors.
Drawing Pencils. - Magic Rub Erasers. - Sharpie Fine Point Markers. - Black Permanent Markers..
Actual insects or line drawings and photographs.


Vocabulary Terms: positive space, negative space, positive/negative reversal



1. Draw a bug that fills a 5 ½ inch (13 to 15 cm) square paper (or six inched square). Use plenty of shape details, no plain lines. Patterns can be real or invented. Organic shape.

2. Go over the drawing in marker. Trace on 18 x 18 inch (46 cm) square of white paper in a popcorn pattern - alternating random pattern.

3. Fill in practice small bug drawing in a positive pattern to use as a guide. Color in some shapes black and leave some white.

4. Cut out a geometric shape from a 6 inch (15 cm) piece of tag board.

5. Trace shape on large square of "popcorned" (alternating/randomĀ  pattern) bugs, with at least one shape overlapping each bug. Avoid tangents (an edge touching a rounded edge at one point - as this creates tension - overlapping the shape is better).

6. Color in the bugs on the large pattern with space reversal. Color all areas of the bug OUTSIDE the shapes the same as your positive pattern (the color pattern on the original 5 ½ inch piece). All areas INSIDE the geometric shape should be colored in the exact opposite.


Examples submitted by Tina Moulton, St. Mary in Lake Forest, Illinois


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Click images to see larger views



Rubric: (from rubric by Marianne Galyk)

Assessment rubric

National Standards



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