Lesson 4: Applying Construction to Insects and Arachnids

7:08 PM, Sunday July 12th 2020

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Hi, here is my homework for lesson 4.

I've made all those drawings over... quite some months now. Indeed I took a break from drawabox to work on other things (gesture, construction of the human figure, charadesign) which motivated me more. But i really love drawabox and i know i need to go through the whole program. So here it is :)

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7:25 PM, Sunday July 12th 2020

Fantastic work! Admittedly since it's been a while since your last submission, I was somewhat concerned that you may have gotten rusty in your adherence to some of the core principles of the course, as is often the case with students who drift off to tackle other things, then come back where they'd left off. I'm happy to say however that this is not at all the case - you're demonstrating just as much conscientious focus on the core tenets of the course now as you were previously.

While there are a few minor points I'm going to raise to help keep you on the right track, overall you're doing an excellent job of demonstrating a strong grasp of how the objects you construct are made up of individual, simple, solid, three dimensional forms. You generally do a great job of working from simple to complex in order to uphold that illusion of solidity and believability, and as a result your drawings feel quite real.

Starting with the organic forms with contour curves, you're largely doing pretty well, but there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • You're mostly sticking to the principles of simple sausage forms as listed in the instructions, although not all the time. There are cases where your sausage ends are of somewhat different sizes, or where one of those ends comes out a little more stretched rather than properly circular/spherical. Definitely be sure to keep an eye on that.

  • Your contour curves' degrees (if we were to picture the full contour ellipse that goes all the way around) tend to be very consistent throughout the length of the form, rather than shifting wider/narrower as we slide along the sausage's length. The degree of a contour line basically represents the orientation of that cross-section in space, relative to the viewer, and as we slide along the sausage form, the cross section is either going to open up (allowing us to see more of it) or turn away from the viewer (allowing us to see less), as shown here.

  • Watch out for the odd situation where you draw stretched ellipses rather than sausage forms - they are distinctly different, as a sausage will maintain a consistent width through its midsection, whereas a stretched ellipse/ball form is going to continue widening all the way to its middle.

Moving onto your insect constructions, as I mentioned before I'm genuinely extremely pleased with how you capture a really strong sense of how the forms - especially the more complex ones like the abdomen of your praying mantis, and the ant/termite on your last page - exist in three dimensions, building up the various layers of complexity phase by phase, rather than jumping straight to the complexity right off the bat. You do a great job of laying down appropriate scaffolding and support structures, so as to make the end result feel entirely real.

One issue I did notice has to do with how you approach constructing your insects' legs. It's not inherently wrong, and in an earlier version of Drawabox (since the course is constantly adapting and evolving as I learn through giving feedback and critiques) would have been the expected way of approaching this kind of problem. Rather, right now we really stress the importance of applying the sausage method to each and every insect's legs, as shown here.

Now, it's understandable that not all legs look like a simple chain of sausages - in fact, most don't. To this end you've changed your approach in a number of places to try and capture the legs more faithfully. The reason that the sausage method should still be applied however is that we are simply constructing an underlying structure or armature that does one simple job. We want to have a structure in place that captures both the solidity of the form and the gestural flow of the limb simultaneously. Most approaches will focus too much on one or the other, resulting in legs that feel solid but stiff, or that flow naturally but appear flat. The sausage method can accomplish both in equal measure.

Then, as shown here, add bulk where it is needed by adding additional forms to that structure, wrapping them around the sausages and holding to the principles of building up complexity in phases. So, make sure that when you construct legs - even and especially in the next lesson - that you start with a structure of simple sausage forms (two equally sized spheres connected by a tube of consistent width), reinforce the joints between them with a contour line, and then build things up around this tructure as needed. Avoid any more stretched ellipses or any kind of additional complexity.

Aside from that, I am honestly very pleased with your results, and I think you're doing an excellent job. As such, I'm going to go ahead and mark this lesson as complete.

Next Steps:

Feel free to move onto lesson 5.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
8:29 AM, Monday July 13th 2020

Thx for the critique ! This motivates me. I'm gonna make sure i keep all those advices in mind going forward :) (the sausages method and working on my contour curves)

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