Working with negative spaces really helps you look and see what it is you are drawing without being drawn into the labeling battle with your brain.
As usual it is easier to understand a new concept if you look at how someone else has done it before. We worked, initially from an example (google negative space drawing)
we used a simple tree outline and a directors chair. One of us was having a lot of difficulty with the concept of only drawing the spaces where the chair was not and not drawing the chair ,so we turned her example upside down and that really helped her labeling brain stop labeling!
I like to follow an exercise with drawing from life so that people can put the two things together and use the new skill transferabley. This is an important aspect of the way I teach.
We used the ivy above and, to make it as easy as possible, I drew a rectangle on the display paper so that everyone could judge where the ivy left the space and thus, judge, relative to the edge and the leaf shape, what shapes the negative shapes where. I hope that makes sense 🙂