Explain to students how and why ambiguity is a
form of tension.
Using cut paper or plaka, create figure-ground tension
through shape. Fill entire four-inch picture plane.
Using cut paper
or plaka, create figure-ground tension as pattern. Fill entire
four-inch picture plane.
illusion of figure-ground requires equal amounts of black
and white, and the illusion is enhanced by contours
some form of interlocking with black and white shapes identical.
Ground with Shape
The manipulation of ground and shape into visually
ambiguous shapes is at the heart of most trademark design.
The tension between figure and ground is a significant factor
in the designing of letterforms.
interactional relationship between figure and ground is perhaps
the most effective tool in the designers visual repertory.
cut paper or brush and plaka, make a shape where the field
can be read on two or more planes. The shape should be aesthetically
pleasing, in proportion with the ten-inch square and be visually
centered. You should be able to read white on black on white
Figure and Ground to Create Multiple Planes
extends the figure-ground principle into spatial planes rather
than as a shape, and this is of importance to ine artists
as well as designers.
Using one-inch circles cut from black and from white paper,
create a visually interesting composition illustrating as
many spatial planes as possible. Must be a visually interesting
composition. It is suggested to begin with a grid lightly
drawn in pencil.
cut or torn black and white papers, create a composition based
on multiple spatial planes. Must be a visually interesting
Activation of Ground with Minimum of Figure
the picture plane with a minimum of image. With a brush and
plaka or rapidiograph pen, indicate interstices in a stone
wall or a bed of river rocks. Minimal drawing to activate
maximum space. Must be a visually interesting composition.
Scale and tension will have a great deal to do with success
in this exercise.
of Tension Lines Illustrating Space and Activating the Picture
and drawing we often refer to lines as having tension. Tension
lines always result in a more dynamic image. This is a good
opportunity to explain to students that tension lines are
based on intent, i.e. no flat curves, smooth transitions between
line segments. A tension line does not necessarily have to
be a hard, polished line, the line can be soft or even
ragged or fuzzy and still have tension.
and present three lines with each line being a tension line.
can be of different weights and lengths but must be lines
and not shapes. At least one of the lines must have rough
edges such as dry-brushed however, there must be tension
in the line! The lines should form a composition that activates
the picture plane and shows the illusion of depth.
lines to activate space in a visually interesting way within
the ten-inch picture plane. Use brush and plaka and/or rapidiograph
pen. One solution required.