Starting with your organic intersections, the second page is considerably stronger than the first, for the simple reason that it sticks to simple sausage forms that maintain their solidity, even as a they wrap around the structures between them. Definitely avoid the sort of "melted" approach you used on the first page. On the second though, I did notice that your cast shadows seemed to stick to the forms casting them, instead of being projected onto the surfaces below, as shown here.

Looking at your animal constructions, there are definitely a number of areas that need work, and I'll outline them here before elaborating on them below:

  • Loose, somewhat haphazard linework

  • Not spending enough time observing your reference directly, drawing more from memory

  • Drawing smaller here and there

  • Not consistently applying the sausage method for your leg constructions

  • Drawing your additional masses more as flat shapes, without necessarily thinking about how they wrap around the underlying structure, then trying to "fix" that with contour lines

Loose, somewhat haphazard linework

Our linework is at the core of our drawings. When we draw marks that are hesitant and stiff, or go back over our marks repeatedly, it fundamentally undermines the solidity of the forms we're drawing, and reminds the viewer that everything they're looking at is just a flat drawing. Your linework was considerably sketchier and more haphazard towards the beginning, where you'd regularly go back over lines for no reason, or draw from your wrist (resulting in wobblier lines and stiffer ellipses).

Using the ghosting method and drawing from your shoulder is critical. The only situation where you'd go back over a line is when you draw an ellipse - JUST an ellipse, not a sausage form or anything else, and that is specifically without lifting your pen tip to maintain a confident pace. If you make a mistake with a mark, you should not be correcting it. Doing so piles on more ink and only draws attention to your blunder.

Not spending enough time observing your reference directly, drawing more from memory

This is another major issue, and it is why you're having difficulty with proportions, but also with general oversimplification of your animals in a lot of other ways. From what I can see, it does not appear that you're looking at your reference frequently enough. Perhaps you look at your reference a lot at the beginning, but the key here is when students spend even short periods of time without looking at their reference, they basically end up oversimplifying what they've seen.

The key is that you should be looking at your reference almost constantly, only looking away long enough to put down a specific mark, to capture a specific form informed by what you'd seen.

Now it is admittedly very common for students who suddenly start getting into construction a lot more to focus more on that to the detriment of their observation, so always remember that it is critical for you to know what forms you should be drawing and how they need to relate to one another, and all that comes from your reference.

Drawing smaller here and there

It's not always the case, but there are a number of pages here where your drawing is done so small that it ends up taking up maybe a quarter of the overall space on the page. In drawing smaller, you're actively limiting your brain's ability to think through these spatial problems, and you're also putting yourself in a situation where from the beginning, things are going to be more difficult for you.

On top of the spatial problems being harder to solve at that scale, when you're drawing smaller the linework itself is naturally going to be more clumsy, because the tip of your pen is way bigger relative to the drawing as a whole.

Not consistently applying the sausage method for your leg constructions

So we addressed this back in lesson 4, and I left off explaining that it was important for you to get more familiar with the use of the sausage method. What I'm seeing here is that there is some use of the sausage method but it's very inconsistent.

Below I'm going to reference the sausage method diagram a bit, so be sure to have it open.

Here you're primarily using stretched ellipses, not sausage forms, as mentioned in the bottom left corner of the diagram. The back legs on this camel stray entirely from the sausage method as well, while its front legs don't stick to simple sausage forms either. As we get further in, you appear to try and figure out the legs in a variety of case-by-case approaches, never really delving into the sausage method itself.

Now, it's not uncommon for students to be aware of the sausage method, but to decide that the legs they're looking at don't actually seem to look like a chain of sausages, so they use some other strategy. The key to keep in mind here is that the sausage method is not about capturing the legs precisely as they are - it is about laying in a base structure or armature that captures both the solidity and the gestural flow of a limb in equal measure, where the majority of other techniques lean too far to one side, either looking solid and stiff or gestural but flat. Once in place, we can then build on top of this base structure with more additional forms as shown here, here, and even here in the context of a dog's leg.

As you can see in that last example, you aren't really pushing into that territory at all, opting instead to stick to the most basic structure.

Drawing your additional masses more as flat shapes, without necessarily thinking about how they wrap around the underlying structure, then trying to "fix" that with contour lines

This critique is already getting pretty long, so instead of trying to explain this with text, here is a comprehensive page of notes and diagrams detailing what you need to think about when drawing those additional forms.

The most important thing here is that while drawing those additional masses, you need to think about how the form's silhouette is going to convey how it wraps around the structure underneath it. You're not going to be able to "fix" this afterwards with additional contour lines - you need to establish the relationship between the forms using its silhouette, and how it's drawn in the first place. A contour line drawn along the surface of a single form, as you've done along this chameleon's back will only make that form feel 3D on its own. It will not define the relationship between that form and the others around it.


Now I've pointed out a number of things for you to keep in mind. Taking that, I'd like you to do an additional 5 animal drawings. Beforehand, however, I want you to go through the videos and instructions again, including the informal demos. Amongst those informal demos you'll see a couple focusing on head construction. You'd mentioned you had trouble with it, but I didn't have the chance to address it, as again - this critique has gotten quite long.

When doing your 5 additional drawings, I want you to do no more than one per day - and if you need to spend multiple days on a single drawing for whatever reason, you are absolutely allowed to. Students will sometimes feel that they're expected to do multiple drawings in a day, and as a result they'll spend less time than they otherwise could on each individual drawing. The focus here is to learn how to slow down, how to invest your time to draw each and every mark to the best of your current ability without rushing.