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12:17 AM, Monday July 20th 2020

Starting with your organic forms with contour curves, while for the most part they're coming along decently, there are a few things to keep an eye on here:

  • The sausage forms are sometimes a little off, either with pinching through the midsection when they turn, or ends that are not properly circular/spherical and instead get stretched out.

  • The ellipse you add at the tip of your sausages often comes out wider than it should. Remember that this is just another contour line, and therefore it should be relatively similar to the degree of the contour curve that precedes it. Not identical, since we should be seeing a natural shift wider/narrower as we slide along the length of the sausage form, but not dramatically different.

  • On that point, you do largely draw the contour curves to have the same degree throughout. 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.

I pointed out the first two issues right on your work here.

Moving onto the insect constructions, you do have a good start, but there are a number of areas where we can definitely see improvement and adjust how you approach these constructions.

The first thing that jumps out at me is that since the photos are rather tightly cropped, it's hard to judge how big the drawings are. That said, I can see that at least relative to the overall size of the photos, when drawing these insects you're not really taking full advantage of the space available to you on the page. By working smaller, you're inadvertently making things much harder. Our brains benefit considerably from being given lots of room to think through spatial problems, and when we limit that space by drawing only in a small subsection of the page, we're taking away what we need. On top of that, it also limits our ability to engage our whole arm when drawing, which in turn can makes the marks a lot more stiff.

While experience will gradually improve your ability to apply the same principles of drawing with confidence, from your shoulder, and leveraging your spatial reasoning skills at much smaller scales, right now we have to draw bigger to develop that experience in the first place.

Along with the issues drawing smaller brings about, another issue you're encountering is that you're perhaps not as attentive to matters of proportion, and perhaps working a little bit more from memory than you should be (instead of continuously and constantly looking back at your reference at every turn to identify a specific form you want to add, and transferring it over to your page.

Constructional drawing is about a few specific things:

  • Building forms upon forms - we start big, focusing on the major masses, and build on top of them, adding smaller forms as we go to break down complex information into simpler individual pieces.

  • Understanding how those forms exist in 3D space, and how they relate to one another within it.

For this reason, we can't allow ourselves to add anything to our drawings that is not a 3D form. For example, if you try to describe or understand how the spikes along the thorax of this bug relate to the forms it connects to, you can't really. This is because those spikes are more presented as an extension of the silhouette of the thoracic mass. Simply extending a silhouette - which is a 2D shape on the page - will reinforce the idea that what you're drawing is, in fact, just 2D. Instead we want to construct the spikes as a solid, three dimensional form - complete in how it's been drawn, and with a relationship clearly defined to tell us how it connects to the main thorax.

Scrolling through your drawings, I picked one that I felt would allow me to properly demonstrate all of the steps involved in constructing an insect. I picked this one (with this reference).

You'll find the full demonstration here. I stress a few things in this demo:

  • First and foremost, look at your reference more carefully - it's not just about putting forms down, it's about putting forms in the right places, and with the right proportions. You aren't going to get everything perfectly - if you look closely at my demo, you'll notice that I didn't either. But there are a lot of differences in how I drew this insect. The legs were much skinnier (again, drawing larger would have made this easier), I drew the thorax as being a lot more square/wide, and made the abdomen somewhat more rectangular.

  • I put a lot of importance on sticking to simple sausages

  • I was very structured in what I considered to be the "major" masses that really capture the main body of the insect, then the secondary forms, then the tertiary and on and on. Arguably I should have probably had the thorax in there from the beginning, but it doesn't really matter that much - it's not about following a recipe, but rather finding what suits this reference in particular, and I felt the thorax wasn't that important compared to the head and abdomen. In your drawing, you seem to be somewhat scattered, putting down forms at a whim. This is totally normal - there's a lot going on, and it can be really overwhelming. The way to handle that is not to put a mark down and just hope it's the right one - it's to take a step back, take a breath, and look at your reference. Find one form - just one. Identify its proportions, how it relates to its neighbours, and focus only on putting that one down.

So, I've laid out a number of things for you to think about. I'd like you to do a few additional pages to try and apply it. Make sure you draw big. Take full advantage of the room available on the page.

Next Steps:

I'd like you to do 3 additional insect drawings. Only do one drawing per session - so you don't get caught up in trying to get all of them done at once, which may cause you to spend less time on any one drawing. Just focus entirely on the one you're drawing, and let it take as much time and space as it demands of you and every mark you have to draw.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
10:43 PM, Tuesday July 21st 2020
1:16 AM, Wednesday July 22nd 2020

In the argument between "what's worse to have infesting your house - bedbugs or cockroaches?" let it be known that Tiny chose to invite both.

For what it's worth, I primarily focused on the dragonfly. The bedbug was actually quite well done overall. The cockroach was definitely the weakest of the bunch, but I just can't stand to look at that reference.

The most important thing to remember when doing these constructions is to always define how different forms connect to one another. This will help the forms individually feel more three dimensional, while also making them feel more cohesive as part of a larger construction. Also, as I mentioned before, keep an eye on your proportions.

For your dragon fly, the only thing I really wanted to touch upon was how you approached drawing the tail. I show here how to approach it - building the segmentation one by one, creating a fully enclosed form that wraps around the underlying structure. This is much closer to what you did with the bed bug. Also, a minor point about the wing - don't forget about always going from simple to complex - meaning you can create a simpler shape for the wing, and then cut back into it to add the complexity, as shown here.

Anyway, all in all there is definitely improvement here. There is plenty of room to grow, of course, but I'll let you do that in the next lesson. Consider this one complete.

Next Steps:

Move onto lesson 5.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
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