Notan by Dorr Bothwell download in iPad, ePub, pdf
One strategy that depends upon seeing shapes of light and dark rather than following traditional compositional rules is the Japanese concept of Notan. This adds some asymmetry and more interest. Fill in the Notan drawing Squinting, look at your subject through your viewfinder. Over the top of your pencil drawing, slowly use your marker to blacken all areas where no direct light source is striking or illuminating. When used in paintings, a Notan drawing is the underlying light and dark structure.
Visual art can create this experience, if you know how to develop it in your art expression through guided instruction. This is easily done through your viewfinder. Now the group of objects sits more to the right with more open space to the left. The dark shadow to the right of the jug, noted in A, is now one dark area of cloth. The vertical shadow on the background cloth is also conspicuously centered.
That is to say, they only use two, three, or four major values. If you liked this tutorial, check out my follow-up article which explains how to use Notan compositions as a painting strategy. Whether they put a name to it or not, artists in all cultures have long recognized the value of notan. Without it, both color and line fail to reach their full impact. Once the darks are captured, the light pattern is taken care of.
The horizontal and vertical energies, formed by the reverse L-shape of the girl and her arm, form upper and lower dark sections. Another system is to view art and subjects through generally blue or green camera filters or gels.
Here are six steps to help you see Notan in a scene and create a Notan drawing. In more realistic work it can be a skittish but nevertheless satisfying pattern discovered and built during the process. Immediately put all shapes into your ziplock bag. The idea is to create the illusion of light on paper through the use of dark shadows. History does repeat itself.
Many of the most powerful paintings have the simplest value structures. Notan has nothing to do with local or chosen colour. Because the underlying shapes that define a composition are not always obvious. Darks and lights will become obvious.
Allow no gaps between shapes of the same value which are side-by-side. Balance is defined as the equal distribution of visual weight in a composition. They must coexist without one dominating the other.
Yet there are still several areas of mid-tones that must be resolved in the notan study. It serves as a counterpoint to the white area on the left.
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