Cutout Projects > Symmetrical Balance Cutouts

This exercise introduces students to watercolor and ink supplies, aqueous media techniques, abstract marks, paper cutout techniques, exploring shapes, and compositional studies. Students will create three Notan cutouts representing symmetrical balance, asymmetrical balance, and radial balance. This week's Notan exercise covers the basics-- next week we'll build on these skills with still life cutouts inspired by Henri Matisse.

What is Notan
Notan is a Japanese design concept involving the play and placement of light and dark elements as they are placed next to the other in the composition of art and imagery. In this project, we will create 3 Notan exercises that represent asymmetrical, symmetrical, and radial compositions.

Step 1: Research & Sketchbook
-- Research symmetrical, asymmetrical, and radial balance compositions in art.
-- Print photos and tape at least 3 examples of each into your sketchbook
-- In your sketchbook, create 5 abstract thumbnail drawings of the three different balanced compositions.
-- Share your research and sketches with the class. Discuss how these examples are (or are not) good representatives of symmetrical, asymmetrical, and radial balance.

Step 2: Create Watercolor Washes
-- In your multi-media paper sketchbook, create non-white sheets of paper by experimenting with watercolor, gouache, and/or ink washes.
-- Experiment and paint at least 6 full pages.

Step 3: Notan Cutouts
-- Create 3 full-page Notan cutout compositions that represent 3 balanced compositions: symmetrical, asymmetrical, and radial
-- Intentionally decide if your shapes are organic or geometric.
-- Cut the shapes using scissors or an x-acto knife.
-- Mount the cut shapes in your sketchbook. Make sure the design is centered.

Art Supplies
-- Drawing paper (at least 8.5x11") : Ideally you have a multimedia sketchbook to work in.
-- Pencils: Ideally use a set of Drawing Pencils.
-- Wet Media: India Ink, acrylic paint, and (optional), watercolor, gouache
-- Paint brushes
-- Cutting utensil: scissors & x-acto knife
-- Adhesive: either rubber cement or a glue stick