10:10 PM, Friday December 17th 2021
Jumping right in with your organic forms with contour lines, these are largely coming along pretty well. Overall you're sticking pretty closely to the characteristics of simple sausages, although there are a few where you end up with one end considerably larger than the other, so keep an eye on that. Remember that we want the ends to be circular in shape, equal in size, and connected by a tube that maintains a consistent width.
Also, be sure to draw through those ellipses at the tips two full times before lifting your pen - you're usually falling a little short of that.
Continuing onto your insect constructions, you've done a fantastic job overall. Most notably, I'm noticing that you're taking a fair bit of care in building up your insect structures through the introduction of individual, simple forms, and that in most cases (not all, but I'll address that briefly in a moment), you're doing a great job of really reinforcing the idea that every such form is solid and three dimensional - that you're not simply working with flat shapes and producing a drawing on a page. This level of belief in the illusion we're trying to produce has an impact on your ability to build up structures that feel tangible and solid of some considerable magnitude.
It all comes down to the difference between working in 2D space and working in 3D space, a distinction we explore quite a bit throughout this course. Because we're drawing on a flat piece of paper, we have a lot of freedom to make whatever marks we choose - it just so happens that the majority of those marks will contradict the illusion you're trying to create and remind the viewer that they're just looking at a series of lines on a flat piece of paper. In order to avoid this and stick only to the marks that reinforce the illusion we're creating, we can force ourselves to adhere to certain rules as we build up our constructions. Rules that respect the solidity of our construction.
For example - once you've put a form down on the page, do not attempt to alter its silhouette. Its silhouette is just a shape on the page which represents the form we're drawing, but its connection to that form is entirely based on its current shape. If you change that shape, you won't alter the form it represents - you'll just break the connection, leaving yourself with a flat shape. We can see this most easily in this example of what happens when we cut back into the silhouette of a form.
This is a rule you largely do a very good job of respecting, though there are some small places in which you slip back into engaging with your drawing in 2D space to change something quickly and easily - cutting some corners in the process. For example, on this ladybug there are a few spots I marked out in red where you'd cut back into the silhouette of existing forms to refine their shape, as well as some spots in blue where you added to those existing forms through the use of flat shapes, extending off from the silhouettes that were already there.
Instead, whenever we want to build upon our construction or change something, we can do so by introducing new 3D forms to the structure, and by establishing how those forms either connect or relate to what's already present in our 3D scene. We can do this either by defining the intersection between them with contour lines (like in lesson 2's form intersections exercise), or by wrapping the silhouette of the new form around the existing structure as shown here.
This is something you do in most of your constructions, but you can see this in practice in this beetle horn demo, as well as in this ant head demo. This is all part of accepting that everything we draw is 3D, and therefore needs to be treated as such in order for the viewer to believe in that lie.
There are just a couple other things I wanted to call out:
You are largely making good use of the sausage method when building up your leg constructions, although you did deviate from it in some cases, like the grasshopper's larger legs. I can completely understand why you'd go for a different approach here, but I do want to stress that for the purposes of these exercises (and each of these drawings are indeed just exercises), you will benefit more from using the sausage method even there. The key to keep in mind here is that the sausage method is not about capturing the legs precisely as they are - it is about laying in a base structure or armature that captures both the solidity and the gestural flow of a limb in equal measure, where the majority of other techniques lean too far to one side, either looking solid and stiff or gestural but flat. Once in place, we can then build on top of this base structure with more additional forms as shown here, here, in this ant leg, and even here in the context of a dog's leg (because this technique is still to be used throughout the next lesson as well). The reason this is beneficial is because it continues in the pattern of forcing us to always think through how our forms relate to one another, and how everything is built up piece by piece.
When using filled black shapes, try to reserve them only for representing actual cast shadows. I noticed some cases where you'd instead focus more on capturing form shading (like on the centipede's body), which as discussed here in Lesson 2 should not play a role in our drawings for this course. Also, avoid using it for capturing local/surface colour - like the ladybug's spots or the insects' eyes. The more you reserve that tool for cast shadows only, the more clearly and purposefully you'll be able to communicate with the viewer.
Aside from that, your work is really coming along very well. I'll go ahead and mark this lesson as complete.
Feel free to move onto lesson 5.