blue color brush strokes with Elements of Arts Space mentioned

Elements of Art Space: How to use it in your Artwork?

Elements of Art are like Grammar to Literature and form any Artwork’s foundation or building blocks.

Space is one of the seven elements of Artwork and is the boundary within which we create Art. It can also be referred to as the area inside, outside, and between the Artwork subject.

Space, as such, holds the subject or object, providing the Artwork context. It can be simple lines, dashes, or colors, which create visual meaning inside the framework on the plane.

The Space and the use of Space by an artist are as crucial as the subject inside the Art.

Space in Art is utilized using Shapes and Forms, thereby categorizing Space into positive and negative Space.

Positive Space is where the shape exists and the area inside the shape, in other words, where we place the subject of the Art.

Negative Space is the area around and between positive spaces.

Using Space appropriately can make the object look closer, and certain things are far from you in the Art. Spaces can classify into two-dimensional Space and three-dimensional Space.

The different ways an artist uses Space for his artwork impact the result.

Draw what you see and not what you know

Pat knepley

If you start to draw what you see rather than what you know, you must have understood how to use Space in your drawing.

Definition of Space in Art

Space in Art depicts the length, breadth, and depth in and around the art piece, creating an illusion of volume of empty or filled Space, often inside the frame and sometimes outside the frame.

To make the Artwork real, an artist uses different techniques from the elements of Art.

He uses the object’s size, details on the things, Perspective, overlapping of subjects, placement of the subject on the plane, and color to look three-dimensional.

One or a few of the items below can help the Artwork look more realistic. The below points create an illusion of three-dimensional space when an artist works on two-dimensional Space.

How is Space related to Elements of Art?

An element of Art is a significant or essential part of an artwork. Space is used in every type of Art; therefore, it is an element of Art. It can create a sense of depth, emptiness, or limitless possibilities.

The list of Elements of Art is as follows: –

  1. Elements of Art Lines
  2. Elements of Art Shape
  3. Elements of Art Form
  4. Elements of Art Color
  5. Elements of Art Space
  6. Elements of Art Texture
  7. Elements of Art Value

What is Size in the Space Element of Art?

Creating a simple illusion of distance in the art space can be solved with the size and details listed below.

If we place three objects, one behind the other with some distance between them, the object closest to the viewer will be significant. The thing placed behind the first object will be smaller, and the next object will be the smallest. It is how an object looks.

What are the Details in the Space Element of Art?

Details related to the Space element are a much simpler concept in Art. The objects closer to the viewer will be a detailed picture, and the picture will be sharp and readable. The things which are far away from the viewer will have blurred images.

Details are the sharpness and clarity of the object. An artist, when he draws, must keep this in mind.

If you are standing near some signboard on the road, you will be able to read the words of the object as you are closer to the signboard.

If there is another signboard, say, a few meters away from the first one, you may see the signboard, but you will not be able to read the words right.

The same concept is to be adopted when creating Artwork. The closer objects need details, and objects far away can be a bit blurry. It will make your drawing look more natural and realistic.

If you do not give importance to this concept, your Artwork will look unnatural.

What is Perspective in the Space Element of Art?

Perspective in Artwork is placing objects in a two-dimensional space (inside the canvas) that appears in a three-dimensional space. It means you can feel the distance, depth, and horizon in the Artwork you see.

The viewer’s brain creates an illusion looking at the drawing as the Space is well-used basis principles of Perspective.

Regarding Space, you should also understand what is meant by Linear Perspective. Linear is a term used about, especially in, a straight line. 

To put it more simply, objects in front will be more oversized, and things at a distance will look smaller. That is because all the orthogonal lines converge to the vanishing point, making objects look smaller at a distance.

It would be best to look through your window or go out, study, and experience yourself about Perspective.

If you do not follow the linear perspective basics in your Space, your Artwork will look unrealistic.

There are two types of Perspectives.

One-Point Perspective

In the One-point perspective drawing, the drawing has only one horizon line and only one vanishing point. As the objects in the distance move furthest at a point visible to the human eye, they look like a line.

We can also say on a landscape or the sea, the line where the sky meets the land or water, and it is the Horizon line. On that line, if you focus on a point, that point is the vanishing point. All the perspective lines or the orthogonal lines converge to that one point, called a one-point perspective.

Two-Point Perspective

It is like the One-point Perspective; the only difference is that there are two vanishing points on the horizon line.

There will be depth in the two-point Perspective drawing at two points where the vanishing points are.

An example is seen from the diagonal corner of a square box, it will have two vanishing points on the left and right sides.

Atmospheric Perspective

Atmospheric Perspective is often called Aerial Perspective. The objects closer to the viewer are sharp, and things far away are blurred.

Colors become weak as it moves away from the viewer’s eye.

Suppose we replicate the same in the Artwork; we use different shading techniques, giving a more realistic look to the picture.

What is Overlapping in the Elements of Art: Space?

Overlapping is drawing an object in front of another to create a sense of depth, illusion, and realism.

Overlapping creates a sense of depth in the Space used for the Art. This overlapping also creates realism and a natural look in the Artwork.

The viewer’s eye always sees the closest object and the next object behind it. Keeping an object behind another creates an illusion in the viewer’s eyes.

For argument’s sake, imagine objects are placed side by side. Does it look natural? No right? That is where overlapping gains its importance.

We can categorize overlapping into two types.

Opaque Overlapping

Opaque is the term used for an object which does not allow light through them. You can draw two boxes in front, and only part of the box behind the first box, and the box behind will only be partially visible as the box in the front is opaque.

It creates an illusion that the first box is in the front and the second is behind.

Transparent Overlapping

Sometimes, you must draw transparent objects in front of an opaque object. There may be times when you need to sketch two transparent things etc.

Still, overlapping will play a vital role. It will again create depth in Space. The transparent object in the front gets prominence, and the corners of the objects will show slight reflection to project they are in the front.

Placement of Objects on Art Space

A horizon line is an imaginary line on the Artwork where the sky and earth meet, beyond which it is not visible to the human eye and will only be a line.

When we draw an object closer to the horizon line, it is generally perceived by the human mind as the object is at a distance. When a thing is away from the horizon line, it is perceived closer to the viewer.

It is an exciting feature of the human mind. The reason is in the physical world, that is how the objects appear. And if we replicate the same in your Artwork, you will get the same result in the real world.

Shade, Color, and Value

Objects that are closer to the viewer are sharp and have warm colors. Warm color is a group of colors associated with the color wheel: yellow, red, and orange and variations of these colors. One more feature is that objects closer to the viewer are darker in color.

Objects that are further away have cool colors. A cool color is a group of colors in the color wheel: green, blue, and purple, and the different shades of these colors, the objects which far have lighter value.

If you walk to a hilltop and view it down, you can see the cool color at the horizon or at a distance. The reason is that the atmosphere or dust filters and results in cool color.

What are the different types of Space in Art?

Space can be broadly categorized based on its characteristics.   It depends on how an artist uses the Space on the canvas, and he will organize the art space differently.

Foreground Space

It is a space that is closest to the viewer in a picture. Foreground space is also the first thing a person views in the picture, and the foreground allows the viewer to see what is in the background.

In digital Artwork, you can categorize this based on layers. The objects in the foreground are opaque, which will hide things behind them, and the objects in the foreground are more significant than other objects.

Middle ground Space

The middle ground is generally where the subject is drawn, and this Space will be between the foreground and background.

Midground space must blend with foreground and background, or it will disturb the entire Artwork.

Background Space

Background space is the furthest Space away from the viewer, where the foreground and middle ground space are supported.

Most of the objects in the background are blurred and smaller compared to the foreground and middle ground space. 

Next time you see a landscape, study the picture keeping foreground, midground, and background space in mind.

Positive Space in Art

Positive Space is the Space within the object and the area where the subject is focused, and positive Space is where one should focus.

In a three-dimensional sculpture, the statue itself is the positive Space, and the area between and surrounding the sculpture is the negative Space.

Negative Space in Art

Negative Space is generally the background and the area around the positive Space.

There is a connection or link between the positive and negative Space. They share each other’s boundaries, and the edges are common in both cases.

It is one of the critical elements in Art composition. Negative Space is what makes the whole story.

Two-Dimensional Space in Art

Two-dimensional Space is where there are only two dimensions: length and breadth. A canvas, paper, chart, or any plane with only length and breadth has a two-dimension space.

An artist creates an illusion using different techniques to give a three-dimensional effect inside a two-dimensional space.

Three-Dimensional Space in Art

In the real world, Space is three-dimensional, meaning it has length, breadth, and height (or depth). A sculpture in the real world is a three-dimensional art in Space, and the area around the statue is Negative Space.

Shallow Space in Art

Shallow Space in Art has length & breadth, but the Perspective (depth) is less or shallow, and the Art does not have a deep view.

The objects in the Art may be opaque and closer to the viewer, and nothing is visible behind the thing. The distance between the object and the viewer is significantly less; hence, it is a shallow space.

Deep Space in Art

Deep Space is the distance between the viewer and the object in the Artwork. Though we do it in a two-dimensional plane, it will appear far from the viewer’s point of view. In other words, there is an amount of depth to the picture.

Deep Space has a foreground, middle ground, and background space which we have already seen above.

Cluttered Space in elements of art space

Cluttered Space in Art refers to subjects in a limited space and may be due to stroke or adding too much value to an object. The viewer may often appreciate the Art, but it may not give a comfortable feeling.

Art should be well-balanced, and too much of anything results in clutter.

Why is Negative Space important in Art?

Negative Space in Art is a space surrounding and between an object Art. Too much importance on the subject of positive Space, and no one talks about negative Space. 

Positive and Negative spaces co-exist in Art, and they complement each other.

You need to realize that the negative Space highlights the positive Space in Art. Some of the reason why negative Space is important is listed below.

  • Negative Space completes the story. The Artwork makes logical sense when the viewer sees the picture.
  • It gives a natural balance to the composition of your Artwork. Negative Space is what makes you focus on the subject of Art.
  • A negative Space is also an area of interest or background around the subject.
  • Negative Space disrupts the conventional wisdom and normal expectation of a viewer.

Negative Space directs the viewer’s vision and helps to focus on the subject.

Art Space in the Digital Era

Art has traveled through the centuries, and now we are in the digital era. It has evolved through different periods and changed its form, and now Artworks are done on tablets and digital artboards. 

Though so many changes have happened, the concept of Space has not changed.

Space is essential when one does Artwork on tablets. Digital tools have made the artist’s life easy, and he can manipulate Space using many layers using programs. Unlike earlier in traditional drawing, when an artist commits a mistake, he needs to do some patchwork.

In the digital era, a command called undo simply enough, or that error layer is deleted, rectifying a mistake on the digital Artwork.

Art Space in today’s world has gained prominence for advertisements, web designing, and logo creations. The concept of Space will remain forever in the art world.


Next time you look at an artwork, appreciate how the artist has used the Space. Examine how the artist has used the Space, revising in mind the above concepts.

Space in Art is overwhelming to understand, and I am sure if you go through every piece of Artwork, you will realize something is new or creative. Put your observations into practice.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why space of elements of Art is important?

    Space is important in Art because it provides a means of organizing and perceiving the elements within an artwork. The artist can create order and clarity by using space, allowing the viewer to interpret the message conveyed more easily. In addition, space can be used to create illusions of depth and to emphasize certain elements within an artwork.

  2. How do you show space in Art?

    You can show space in Art by using perspective, overlapping shapes, and negative space. Perspective is a technique that artists use to create the illusion of depth in a picture. Overlapping shapes are also used to create the impression of depth. And negative space is the area around and between objects in a picture.

  3. What is Positive Space in Art?

    Positive space is the area occupied by the subject or objects depicted in a work of Art. It is the space around and between the objects in a painting rather than the space behind them. The use of positive space is an important tool for artists, as it can be used to create illusions of depth and movement.

  4. What is Open Space in Art?

    Open space in Art uses negative or blank space to create a visual effect or emphasize the positive space. In other words, open space is the empty area around and between the elements of a composition. It can create balance, contrast, rhythm, and unity in a work of Art.

  5. What is implied space in Art?

    Implied space is a technique artists use to create the illusion of depth in a 2-dimensional image. This is done by using perspective and other optical illusions to make it look like objects are receding into the distance.

  6. Is Space always in Art?

    Space is not always present in Art. Some art forms, such as abstract or conceptual Art, may focus on something other than depicting physical Space. However, Space can be important in many art forms, such as painting, sculpture, and architecture. It can help create a sense of depth and perspective.

  7. What is active Space in Art?

    Active Space in Art refers to the area within a composition that is most visually prominent or draws the most attention. It is typically created through contrasting elements such as color, value, or texture. The purpose of active Space is to draw the viewer’s eye and engage them in the Artwork.

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