JAPANESE NOTAN – Positive/Negative Shapes

Students create a Japanese Notan design using black and white paper to show the difference between coniferous and deciduous trees.

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JAPANESE NOTAN – Positive/Negative Shapes


  • Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12")
  • Crayola Construction Paper - Black - 22.9 cm x 30. 5 cm (9" x 12")
  • Crayola Washable Glue Stick
  • Crayola Scissors
  • Pencils


Step 1
  1. Draw a tracer in the shape of a coniferous tree on the 4 cm x 9 cm (2" x 3.5") piece of paper.
  2. Draw a tracer in the shape of a deciduous tree on the 5 cm x 5 cm (2.5" x 2.5") piece of paper.
  3. Remember to check the list and sketches that the class made with your teacher.
Step 2
  1. Cut out both shapes.
Step 3
  1. Place the deciduous tree tracer on one side of your black paper.
  2. Line it up so it is half on and half off the black paper.
  3. Trace the half that is on the black paper.
  4. Repeat on the opposite side of the paper so that the trees are a mirror image of each other.
    - You should have half a deciduous tree on opposite sides of your black paper.
  5. Next, use your coniferous tracer to trace two trees on the other sides of the black paper.
  6. This time trace the whole tree.
  7. Trace them so that the trees are a mirror image of each other.
Step 4
  1. Carefully cut out the four trees.
Step 5
  1. Glue the large piece of black paper to a piece of white construction paper.
  2. Place each tree beside the matching cut out space.
  3. Check carefully to be sure that you have placed each tree beside its matching shape and that it is facing the correct direction to be a mirror image.
Step 6
  1. When you are pleased with the way your trees are placed use your Crayola glue stick to carefully glue each shape in place.
  2. Glue your design to a piece of black construction paper to frame it.
  3. When you are finished look at your design with fresh eyes.
    - What do you notice?
    - Can you see different objects than trees?
    - What do you like best about your design?
    - Does your design show the difference between coniferous and deciduous trees?
  • Subjects:

    • Language Arts,

    • Mathematics,

    • Science,

    • Visual Arts

  • Grades:

    • Grade 1,

    • Grade 2,

    • Grade 3,

    • Grade 4,

    • Grade 5,

    • Grade 6

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