Notional Space in Composition
Notional space is the vertical and horizontal space (enclosure) around a particular element in a drawing, painting, or photograph. Determining the notional space allows the artist to measure and plot that particular element on a grid as well as create relationships between other parts in the overall design. For example, in the plant drawing below, notice how Rudi Elert is using notional space around each leaf to measure and place everything in an organized fashion on the grid he chose for his design.
Dot Bunn, “Six Pumpkins,” demonstrating the use of notional space designed in a root 5.