Easy Negative Space Drawing with Watercolor and Marker in 2 Steps! High School Art Lesson

Are you a budding artist eager to explore the world of watercolor and markers? In this high school art lesson, we will guide you through the fascinating technique of negative space drawing using a monochromatic color scheme. Whether you’re a complete beginner or have some artistic experience, this step-by-step tutorial will help you create this stunning artwork. Let’s dive right in!

Step 1: Choose a Monochromatic Color Scheme for your Negative Space Drawing with Watercolor and Markers

negative space drawing

This initial step sets the tone for your artwork. You will need to pick a color that is darker than your watercolor but belongs to the same color family. For example, if your background features shades of purple, opt for a purple-colored marker to maintain a cohesive and harmonious look.

Challenges for Students:

Color Choice:

Challenge: Selecting the perfect color can be challenging, particularly for beginners who might not yet grasp color theory concepts.

Solution: To overcome this challenge, try swatching different shades of your chosen color on a separate piece of paper to see how they look against your watercolor background. This experimentation will help you find the ideal match.

Understanding Monochromatic: 

Challenge: Some students might not fully understand what a monochromatic color scheme entails.

Solution: As an art teacher, you can clarify this concept by explaining that monochromatic colors are various shades and tones of a single color. Show them examples and emphasize the subtlety of this color scheme, which can create a harmonious and calming effect.

Educational Tips for Art Teachers:

Explain the Concept of Monochromatic Colors:

When introducing the lesson, start by defining what monochromatic means in terms of color. Emphasize that it involves different variations of one color and explain how it can create a sense of unity in their artwork.

Provide Visual Aids and a Color Wheel:

To aid students in choosing the right color, display a color wheel in the classroom. This visual tool can help them understand how colors relate to each other. Encourage them to use the color wheel to identify different shades within their chosen color family.

Additionally, consider providing examples of artwork that effectively use monochromatic color schemes to inspire and guide your students.

Practical Tips for Students:

Experiment with Shades:

Before committing to a color, experiment with different shades within your chosen color family. Test the markers on a scrap piece of paper or in a sketchbook to see how they interact with your watercolor background. This hands-on exploration will allow you to find the shade that complements your watercolor background best.

Seek Advice and Feedback:

Don’t hesitate to seek guidance from your art teacher or classmates. They can provide valuable insights and suggestions on your color choice. Sometimes, a fresh pair of eyes can help you make the right decision.

Be Open to Creativity:

Remember that art is a creative endeavor, and there are no strict rules. While following a monochromatic scheme is a great starting point, don’t be afraid to incorporate your unique ideas and personal style into your artwork. Sometimes, breaking the rules can lead to exciting discoveries.

Step 2: Coloring Positive and Negative Space with a Similar Colored Marker

Now, it’s time to infuse your positive and negative space drawing with color by tackling the positive and negative spaces. You’ll start at one end and systematically color boxes side by side. In one box, color the positive space, and in the next, color the negative space, creating a mesmerizing interplay of colors.

Challenges for Students:

Keeping Track:

Challenge: Keeping track of whether to color the positive or negative space in each box can be tricky.

Solution: To overcome this challenge, maintain focus by concentrating on one box at a time. Consider using a visual cue, such as a small “+” or “-” sign within each box, to remind you which space to color with the marker.

Avoiding Mistakes: 

Challenge: Fear of making mistakes and accidentally going outside the lines can hinder your progress.

Solution: Remember that art is about experimentation and expression. Mistakes are a natural part of the creative process. However, to minimize errors, take your time, use a steady hand, and work patiently. If you do make a mistake in this negative space drawing, don’t panic; you can often incorporate it into your artwork or make subtle adjustments.

Educational Tips for Art Teachers:

Demonstrate the Process:

Show your students a sample artwork where you color positive and negative spaces. Walk them through each step, emphasizing the importance of switching between positive and negative spaces. This practical demonstration can help clarify the concept and reduce confusion.

Emphasize Focus and Patience:

Reinforce the significance of staying focused during this step. Encourage your students to take their time and approach each box with patience. Remind them that art is a gradual process, and rushing can lead to mistakes.

Practical Tips for Students:

Use a Ruler:

Utilize a ruler to create distinct lines and boxes within your artwork. This not only helps you maintain a neat structure but also aids in determining whether a particular area should be colored with a marker as positive or negative space.

Systematic Coloring:

Start at one end of your drawing and work your way across systematically. By following a clear path, you reduce the chances of confusion and maintain a consistent flow in your artwork.

By following these steps and tips, you’re well on your way to mastering negative space drawing with watercolor and markers. Remember, art is about expressing yourself, so feel free to get creative and add your unique touch to each piece. Happy drawing!

Ready to Elevate Your Artistry? Unlock My Negative Space Drawing Watercolor and Marker High School Art Lesson!

Are you passionate about art? Ready to dive into the captivating technique of negative space drawing with watercolor and markers? My ‘Negative Space Drawing Watercolor and Marker High School Art Lesson’ is the perfect opportunity to do just that!

What You’ll Gain:

✅Step-by-step guidance on creating realistic depth and dimension in your drawings.

✅Valuable insights into the intricate world of shading and value building.

✅Clear instructions suitable for both middle school and high school students.

✅A chance to practice and master essential techniques that will set your art apart.

What’s in it for you?

Expert Assessment: A comprehensive rubric empowers you with the tools to evaluate your shading proficiency. It’s your secret weapon for mastering the subtleties of light, shadow, and texture.

Immersive Instruction: Dive into a dynamic Canva slideshow with editable slides that demystify shading techniques. This is your backstage pass to techniques that make your art stand out.

Streamlined Access: Access lesson materials effortlessly with a handout featuring a QR code. It’s like having instant access to an art treasure trove whenever you need it.

But wait, there’s more!

Practice worksheets, video demonstrations, and expert teacher instructions are all yours, waiting to sculpt your talent into something exceptional.

Ready to continue your creative adventure? 🎨


Investing in your artistic journey is an investment in yourself. This lesson is designed to empower you with knowledge, boost your confidence, and enhance your creative expression.

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to refine your skills and create captivating artworks that stand out. Hop on this artistic adventure today!

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