17 January 2015

Notan design

I first came across Notan designs at the school I work in. Some of the art classes had been creating them as Christmas card designs, and there was a large display of them on the wall.

I hadn't ever heard of Notan designs before, so I had a look on Google and I found some amazing examples! I then started to think of my own ideas.

Notan fits in well with my love of Japanese design - it is a Japanese concept involving the placement of light and dark together in imagery. I'm surprised I haven't come across it before! It makes use of positive and negative space, something I'm really interested in at the moment.

I don't know if this particular form of Notan design, using a rectangle of black or white card on a contrasting background, comes from Japan or not - I couldn't find anything about its origins.

1. I cut a piece of paper about 1/8 of the size of my background paper, and used this to draw my design idea on. I sketched a Japanese inspired pond with a crane, bullrushes, a cloud, and a mountain. I was going to have a cherry blossom lying on the ground, but I decided to leave it out to simplify the design.
2. I taped the design to dark blue card, then cut out the design using a craft knife and small scissors.
3. I modified some areas, such as the snow at the top of the mountain (cutting a small outline to distinguish it from the background), and the bird (cutting the feet and head where they crossed the edge of the pond).

4. I cheated by adding the crane's eyes with white and navy pen! It would have been way too fiddly to cut a circle that small!
This was a really fun project that created a bold design! It was a challenge to work out the different areas, and what colour they should be. I'm sure this is something I will be trying more of!

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