A definition of positive and negative space in design can simply be described as that positive space is the areas in a work of art that are the subjects. Negative space is the spaces around the shapes. It is just as important to consider the negative space in a picture as the positive shapes.
Positive and negative space play an important role in determining the overall composition in a work of art. By understanding positive and negative space and applying your knowledge, you can become more successful in designing your compositions.
Sometimes artists create pieces that have no distinction between positive and negative spaces. M. C. Escher was a master at creating drawings where there was no distinction between positive and negative space. Here is an example of Escher’s work which show the interplay between positive and negative space:
Here are more examples of clever use of negative space.