Essential Question(s):

1. What is notan?

2. What positive and negative space?

3. What is contrast?

 Mastery Objective(s): The student will…

1. create a complex design using positive and negative space.

.“Notan” is the term used by the Japanese to express “light-dark” as an element of design. In our classroom and curriculum, this is referred to as “positive and negative” space and CONTRAST!

notan handout.png

Awesome idea from! Thank you:)


Let me know you are going to do a ‘Notan’ as one of your sketchbook assignments and I will give you black construction paper.


Glue down the small pieces as you work around the square, but leave the center piece to be glued down until the very end. No loose pieces to be lost and it will help you work
more systematically.


  1. Make sure your Notan design starts and stops on the same side…see pic below.notan handout pg 2
  2. You will have to cut every line you draw; so be sure you can cut the design out.
  3. Practice at least once before I give you the construction paper.
  4. This is a 2-D Design sketchbook assignment, so CRAFTSMANSHIP is huge. Cut edges are clean, paper is clean, and all areas are glued down well.

***NOTE: The design above is too simple (the one above is an example for 3-5th grade). Design should be complex to show your skill level. Be creative with content as well. – Maybe have it be meaningful to you personally?