Lesson 4: Applying Construction to Insects and Arachnids
9:16 AM, Friday May 6th 2022
Another lesson that I thoroughly enjoyed drawing.
Am looking forward for your feedback on the assignments.
Thanks a bunch! :)
So you've got of got me at a disadvantage - you're doing quite well here, and all of the points I generally raise... you're already doing them. So that's tricky - but I think I can find a couple of suggestions to offer to earn my keep.
Starting with your organic forms with contour lines, very nice work! You're sticking as closely as possible to the characteristics of simple sausages, and you are mostly achieving a very nice shift in the degree of your contour curves as we slide further away from the viewer. I say mostly because there are little discrepancies - like in the top left sausage from the first page, you're doing a great job with that shift except right at the end where the curve gets narrower again. You've also got the sausage at the bottom of that same page, where it does appear to shift in the opposite direction. You do it correctly enough that it seems you do understand how this should work, but just in case if any of this sounds crazy and weird to you, you can review the Lesson 1 ellipses video.
Continuing onto your insect constructions, the main point I generally talk about with students here is about the importance of distinguishing between actions we take in 2D space - where we're just putting arbitrary lines down on a flat page, and anything goes - and actions where we're actually working in 3D space, treating the forms that already exist as solid, and building yet more solid, complete forms on top.
Throughout your constructions, you lean very heavily into working almost explicitly in 3D space, and so you appear to be constantly thinking about how each form you introduce to the drawing is like a solid element in a three dimensional world. When you build upon it, it's always considering the curvature of the surfaces, and how one thing builds upon another, wrapping around it. But there are a few little places where this weakens, even if only a little.
One area in which this can occur is with cases of excessive line weight - or rather, use of line weight that is somewhat arbitrary, rather than towards a specific purpose. So, for example, in this honey bee you definitely put those early masses down more faintly, which put you in a tricky position. You had to go back over them in certain areas to make those lines darker, which had you tracing along the silhouette of your masses, which is tricky - a slight adjustment, or a slight shift can result in you altering the silhouette of that form, which should be avoided. As shown here in exaggerated, and more intentional fashion, altering the silhouette of an existing form can flatten out the given structure - and the same can happen when we take an existing form and extend off it. In general, it's best to allow a form to stand for itself, and only alter it by building upon it with yet more 3D forms.
That doesn't mean all line weight is bad - just tracing back over existing things is.. risky. I prefer to limit my use of line weight specifically to clarifying how different forms overlap one another, in the localized areas where those overlaps occur, as shown here.
Continuing on, I can see that you're making very consistent use of the sausage method, and even building additively upon your sausage structures. That said, you have a tendency to focus primarily on masses that impact the silhouette - which makes sense, but results in those smaller masses being a bit arbitrary along their inner edges. Considering the "internal" forms - the masses we can add along the inside of the sausage structure - can be very useful, because it informs how they all fit together, creating a more grounded, solid impression. We can see an example of different pieces fitting together like this in this ant leg example, as well as in this example I've been providing some students in Lesson 5 lately.
And that about covers it! As a whole you're doing a fantastic job, so keep up the good work. Just be sure to continue applying these same principles into the next one.
Feel free to move onto lesson 5.