Positive/Negative Bugs

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Students will enjoy this fun lesson that focuses on bugs as the primary subject matter as they learn about positive and negative space.

By Amy Shapley [Amy is an art teacher from Kansas City, Missouri]


Students will:

  • Learn about positive and negative space and negative space reversal.
  • Create an artwork using positive/negative space reversal.
  • Create an original design that uses the entire paper space.

What You Need:

  • 5 1/2 inch squares newsprint or copy paper
  • 18 x 18 inch squares good quality white paper
  • Sharpie markers and fat permanent markers
  • Pencils
  • Books with pictures of bugs and insects of all kinds

What You Do:

  1. Draw a bug that fills a 5 1/2 inch square paper. Use plenty of shape details, no plain lines.
  2. Go over the drawing in marker. Trace on 18 x 18 inch square of white paper in a popcorn pattern.
  3. Fill in small bug drawing in a positive pattern. Color in some shapes black and leave some white.
  4. Cut out a geometric shape from a 6 inch piece of tag board.
  5. Trace shape on large square of “popcorned” (popcorning is my word for placing things randomly, and in lots of different directions) bugs, with at least one shape overlapping each bug.
  6. Color in the bugs on the large pattern with space reversal. Color all areas of the bug OUTSIDE the shapes the same as your positive pattern (the color pattern on the original 5 1/2 inch piece). All areas INSIDE the shape should be colored in the exact opposite.

Positive Negative Bugs Lesson Plan Positive Negative Bugs Lesson Plan

More Information:

The Wonderful World of Insects
Everything you want to know about insects can be found at this website.

Drawings courtesy of Tina Moulton and Amy Shapely

Recommended Books/Products:

by Theresa Greenaway
Larger than life photographs of creepy crawlies include locusts, caterpillars, beetles, flies, grasshoppers, ants, praying mantis, and more!

Crafts for Kids Who Are Wild About Insects
by Kathy Ross, Sharon Lane Holm
Find all sorts of fun ideas in 48 page book.