Lesson 4: Applying Construction to Insects and Arachnids

4:51 PM, Friday February 25th 2022

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That's the way the bee bumbles

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10:16 PM, Monday February 28th 2022

Jumping right in with your organic forms with contour curves, these are looking great. You're sticking closely to the characteristics of simple sausages, and your contour curves are drawn fairly confidently (there are a few that are more hesitant, but for the most part they're good). While I'm also seeing some shifting in the degree of your contour lines, there are some cases where it's either a lot more subtle or not present, so just as a quick reminder, always be sure to shift the degree wider as we move farther away from the viewer along the cylindrical structure (as explained in the Lesson 1 ellipses video.

Continuing onto your insect constructions, you are by and large doing a great job. There are a few little things I'll draw your attention to, but as a whole I can see very clearly that you're thinking hard about building up your constructions one step at a time, from simple to complex, and more importantly where many students are prone to jumping back and forth between working in both 3D space (engaging with the construction as a collection of forms) and in 2D space (cutting into the silhouettes of forms, or making additions as partial shapes or individual lines), you by and large focus quite heavily on the former, which gives your constructions far more solidity.

That said, I will stress this regardless: as you move forwards, hold to that tightly, and avoid altering the silhouettes of forms you've already constructed. 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.

Fortunately what you've generally stuck to is introducing new additions as complete, self-enclosed silhouettes. As we build things up, there are basically two ways in which a new form can become part of an existing structure - either by interpenetrating that structure, and having its relationship/connection defined by a contour line (like the form intersections from Lesson 2), or by having a form wrap around that existing structure, and conveying this through the use of its silhouette, as shown here.

Now, that last point - the specific way in which our forms' silhouettes can be designed - is an area where you have room for improvement. Here on your scorpion's leg I noted how the additional masses you'd added could have been designed to better convey how they wrap around the existing structure. I also noted on the claw to the far left of the drawing where you actually did cut into your silhouettes a little along the bottom part of the pincer, as well as where along the top you added partial shapes (something that would have been handled better through the addition of complete, self-enclosed forms).

By and large you're still doing great with all of this - but you can find further demonstrations of these additive approaches with this ant head structure (which may show you some alternative approaches to building up head structures, which is usually where you end up working more in 2D), as well as in the shrimp and lobster demos on the informal demos page. I definitely want to expand on this idea of working in 3D vs 2D, but that will have to hold off until the overhaul reaches this far into the course.

Additionally, when it comes to leg structures, here are some other demos that can help with further understanding how to approach additive construction in that particular context:

The last thing I wanted to call out is simply that I noticed a tendency to draw your earlier constructional marks a little more faintly, especially when blocking in the head/thorax/abdomen. Be sure to make every mark with the same confidence - drawing earlier parts more faintly can undermine how willing we are to regard them as solid forms that are present in the 3D world, and it can also encourage us to redraw more, and trace more over this existing linework later on, rather than letting them stand for themselves.

So! That about covers it. You're doing very well, so I'll go ahead and mark this lesson as complete.

Next Steps:

Feel free to move onto lesson 5.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
6:00 AM, Tuesday March 1st 2022

Thankyou for your critique, I'll make sure I really pay more attention to the forms in L5, and revisit the critiques I've received so far.

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