25 Texture Challenge

4:37 PM, Sunday July 4th 2021

25 textures... no... more... textures... - Album on Imgur

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I always tried to draw the shadow shapes that I could see. My fear is that I did too little, but I also did not want to draw things that I could not see. I used high res images by the way.

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7:38 PM, Monday July 5th 2021

Congratulations on completing the texture challenge! This is definitely a doozy - it takes a great deal of patience and I can see that it has certainly helped push your observational skills quite far. While it's clear you have gained a fair bit through the process of this challenge, there is one main thing I feel I can clarify to you that should help develop your understanding of how we tackle texture in this course going forward.

It basically comes down to this: while I can see it in your work, you also mentioned this in your submission - you always tried to draw the shadow shapes you could see. While drawing what you see is obviously important, and that's a big part of why your observational skills have continued to grow considerably, seeing the shadows is only one aspect of this challenge.

Drawabox basically focuses completely on understanding the forms we draw. In our constructions, they're big forms that we capture explicitly through the use of outlines, and whose relationships we establish with one another through the use of contour lines (and, in many cases, cast shadows too). Texture is at its core, not that different - it's still about the forms themselves. They're just much smaller, and they exist along the surface of another object. The goal is still the same - understanding the nature of each of those forms.

So when we look at our reference image, obviously the first thing we do is we look for the shadows - but it's not so we can draw those shadows exactly as they are. This tends to cause us to capture flat patterns of shapes - breaking the drawing into negative and positive spaces, and I definitely see that a lot in your work.

Instead, the focus is on finding each individual form that casts the shadows. Sometimes the shadows are small, being cast just by one individual form, so once you see the shadow you can easily determine which form is casting it, and you can start thinking about how this form is going to exist in your own drawing. When you end up with really big shadows however, we have to look at the specific shape of that shadow to break it up in our heads, and find all the forms that contribute to casting it.

At its core, the shadows are like breadcrumbs - we follow them to find the real prize, and that's the form. With the understanding each individual form held in our heads, we can then go to our study/gradient, think about how that form is going to fit in, and then imply its presence by adding a shadow shape there, designing its silhouette specifically to say "this form exists, this is how it relates to the surfaces around it". It doesn't even have to be the same shadow - we might actually have a totally different light source, or a totally different surrounding area depending on how we're using the texture, but by understanding the nature of the form and how it occupies space in this texture, we can express it however works best for us and our purposes.

One other thing I should call out pertains more to the mechanics of this specific exercise itself - specifically the purpose of that solid black bar along the left side of the texture gradient. That black bar isn't there just for show, and it's also not alone. It's paired with a solid white bar along the opposite side - although obviously you can't actually see that one, since it's white, and empty. These two bars exist to create two extremes, and the goal as explained here is to create a smooth, gradual transition from one extreme to the other, obfuscating the actual bars' edges. So ideally, you wouldn't be able to tell where the black bar ends and the texture begins.

While you did achieve this kind of transition in a few cases, most of them have a really clear distinction between that black bar and the texture. We can see this most clearly in number 12, the football texture.

So! Hopefully this explanation has helped you better understand how to tackle texture within the context of this course. As with all things, Drawabox is all about understanding how these forms exist in space, and how they relate to one another. With texture, it's really just a matter of capturing those forms implicitly, rather than explicitly. As one last little thing I want to leave you with, something that can help you to avoid the temptation to make your textural marks as partial outlines (as you often do in this challenge), is to purposely always make your textural marks using a two-step process:

  • First, outline the shadow shape you wish to capture. All textural marks - including those that are really thin - are shadow shapes.

  • Second, fill it in.

You can see how it's beneficial in this example - even when you end up with things that are really thin, it allows for more overall dynamism in the result.

I'll go ahead and mark this challenge as complete. There's certainly plenty more for you to work on to improve, but I think you should be good to continue doing that on your own.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
5:42 PM, Tuesday July 6th 2021

Thank you very much for the critique Mr. Irshad!

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