10:33 AM, Thursday December 15th 2022
Hello Lerin, I'll be handling your 25 wheels critique.
Starting with the structural aspect of your wheels, you have done a great job when it comes to building out the wheels' core cylindrical structure, especially when it comes to using many ellipses to build out the subtle curve of its profile where necessary - that is, the bump through its midsection that helps to make it appear inflated, as though it would land with a bounce rather than a heavy thunk.
Moving onto your rims and spokes you've handled this well, taking the time to space the elements evenly and not just establishing the outward face, but also giving the structure side planes so they can be properly interpreted as solid, 3D structures.
The last thing to talk about is the tyre treads. This is an area where the challenge really is designed at least in part as a trap. Students tend to be so far removed from Lesson 2, where we discuss all of the concepts relating to how we capture texture in this course that they are very prone to simply forgetting it altogether, and skipping over applying it. So, this challenge serves as a sharp reminder that they may want to review those topics before finishing up the course (and as a general reminder that the course covers a great deal, and that we are do not have perfect memories).
I can see that you did play with approaching the tire tread textures with a variety of strategies. There were the cases like wheels 2 and 9 where you simply applied constructional, explicit markmaking to build out each textural form with outlines. While this can be sufficient to handle a wheel floating in the void, it unfortunately does result in a lot of contrast when dealing with a full vehicle construction, creating focal points and drawing the viewer's eye whether you want it to or not. This doesn't give us many options in terms of controlling how the viewer engages with the drawing.
Working with implicit markmaking instead - in other words, not drawing the textural forms but only drawing the shadows they cast on their surroundings - allows us to change how heavy we decide to make the texture (in terms of more ink vs less ink) according to our needs, without changing the nature of the texture being depicted. You can see what I mean here in this example of bush viper scales.
Another point to consider however is that this can be pretty easily detected with very chunky textures, but when we're dealing with much shallower grooves, the distinction between doing it correctly and incorrectly can be pretty slight. Hell, the actual visual result can be the exact same, but the manner we think about it can make the difference. Those with shallower grooves can have their own challenges. Often times students will see these and look at the grooves themselves as being the textural form in question. As a result, they focus on it, and fill those grooves in entirely, rather than thinking about the actual forms that are present on the surface of the object. This is also an issue we can run into in textures that have holes in them.
Instead, as shown here, we have to focus on the walls surrounding the grooves, as they are the structures that will cast shadows into the vacant space. Honestly the difference isn't always that noticeable in the result - but it's about the way we think about them, which extends to how we think about other situations where the difference in outcome is more significant. As with everything we practice throughout this course, it comes down to whether or not we're thinking about 3D forms, as they exist in 3D space, or if we're just taking shortcuts to draw what we see without the necessary intermediary step of understanding how that translates into three dimensions. You can read more about this in these reminders from Lesson 2.
Now, I will still be marking this challenge as complete. Given that it's a trap, it's not at all abnormal for students to fall into it - but it does mean that you may want to review the texture material from Lesson 2 prior to moving forward and completing the rest of the course.