Lesson 5: Applying Construction to Animals

4:35 PM, Saturday April 17th 2021

5. Applying Construction to Animals - Google Drive

5. Applying Construction to Animals - Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1vlN8qbgudQ-hpuofX6qqGRaWeWM-2N5s?usp=sharing


Here is my submission for Lesson 5. Two small notes, I noticed that I was doing the dip of the torso up instead of down. So there will be a mix of both.

Also, regarding the more than one month gap between this and my previous submission, there have been some chaotic things happening in my private life that made me pause Lesson 5. I did go back on previous notes before picking this up again. Should I need more work to get back to speed, I'll welcome it gladly ^^

Thank you!

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10:30 PM, Monday April 19th 2021

Overall, you're doing a pretty good job! There are some important points I do want to sort out, but all in all you are moving in the right direction.

Starting with your organic intersections, it seems you're thinking a great deal about how these forms interact with one another in space, as well as how their shadows would wrap around the underlying surfaces.

Continuing onto your birds, you're certainly thinking through your different forms as they exist with one another in 3D space, so I'm very pleased to see that along with how you're respecting the core principles of the constructional method. There are a couple things you could adjust however to continue to improve your results:

  • First and foremost, don't forget to define the joint between sausage segments when constructing your legs with a contour line, as shown in the middle of the sausage method diagram. This goes beyond just the sausage method - really any opportunity to we have to define the relationship between different 3D forms should be taken.

  • Secondly, when it comes to constructing heads, it helps a great deal to treat all the different components of the head - the eye socket, the brow ridge, the muzzle/beak, the cheek, etc. to all be treated as different pieces of the same puzzle. In the end, we want them all to interlock with one another. I explain what I mean further here in the informal demos page. While it's an informal demo currently, that is the approach I'll be pushing when my ongoing overhaul of the material reaches lesson 5.

Jumping forward to your squirrels, one thing that stood out a great deal here was the fact that you were not drawing the tails as complete, enclosed 3D forms - opting instead to draw them as flat shapes that would stop as soon as they were overlapped by another structure, and then trying to fix that issue with contour lines. For everything you draw throughout this course, it is critical that all forms drawn in their entirety, so we can fully understand how they relate to the other forms around them. This lesson is of course not about learning anything about drawing animals - it's just using animals as a subject matter, with each drawing being an exercise in spatial reasoning. Can't do that if the things you're drawing exist only as flat shapes on the page.

This also applies a great deal to how you've approached the squirrels' heads, which appear somewhat half-constructed, with you trying to fill in the gaps with visualization without actually drawing it on the page. Ultimately that is what this course is meant to develop - the ability to figure those spatial problems out in your head - but in order to achieve that goal, you must draw each and every step in full on the page. We're training your instincts here, and we do not want to rely on your instincts while we attempt to develop them. That's asking for a mess.

Moving on, I definitely felt that your animal constructions were displaying a pretty good grasp of how they're made up of different solid forms being combined, although I did notice that you were drawing your additional masses with very intentional gaps between them as shown here. I'm not entirely sure why you approached it that way, but in the future, definitely don't. Instead, forcing those masses to actually fit tightly together, and even overlap one another, will help create a more solid, three dimensional structure.

The last point I want to make for now is just to stress the importance of observing your reference not only carefully, but continuously - taking only as long as it takes to put down a specific mark, or draw a specific form, before looking at your reference again. This will ensure that you are not simply drawing from what you remember seeing, which can itself result in a lot of oversimplification. The way you draw your animals does have a fair bit of complexity to it, and the way in which the various components come together does work well to create a believably 3D structure, but I am getting a bit of an impression that you could perhaps push yourself to study your references even more than you are already, and that it would yield a positive result.

Now while I'm overall pleased with the direction you're going, I do want to make sure that you understand what I've explained here - so I'm going to assign just a few additional drawings as revisions below.

Next Steps:

Please submit 3 additional pages of animal constructions.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
5:00 PM, Saturday April 24th 2021

Henlo there,

Here are my revisions :)

Thank you!

3:25 AM, Tuesday April 27th 2021

So there's definitely improvement here, and I can see an overall developing grasp of how these forms all fit together like pieces of a puzzle to create larger, more solid constructions. There are some things I want you to keep an eye on however:

  • Don't be too excessive on those contour lines. You need to think about where the contour lines are going to have the most impact, and actually consider whether adding another will help. The rat drawing, for instance, has a ton of contour lines on its length, but they're not really helping. Instead, one defining the relationship between it and the rat's torso would have been far more valuable - and frankly would have been all you needed.

  • Draw through your ellipses. Not a big point to make, but a basic rule in this course that should be adhered to whenever freehanding any ellipses

  • Draw each and every form in its entirety, without exception. You've done this a fair bit, but there are cases where you draw a shape that just ends suddenly where it's overlapped by something else. We have to draw each and every form in its entirety, defining that entire silhouette so we can understand how they all exist in 3D space individually, and then how they relate to one another. That's a pretty big issue in these drawings as a whole - they have a tendency to feel much more like you're just drawing individual lines, rather than adding whole forms, one at a time, to build up to the resulting structure.

  • You don't appear to be adding a contour line at the joint between your sausage forms, as shown in the middle of the sausage method diagram. This comes back to the idea of defining the relationships between our forms, as they exist in 3D space.

  • For the head construction, you're moving in the right direction, but try to stick to the pentagon-shaped eye sockets, with the point facing downwards, as shown in the demo. For some reason, that shape just works better, creating a nice wedge for the muzzle to fit into, and a flat table for the brow ridge to rest upon.

  • Keep working on drawing your eyes. Instead of drawing the eyelids as just lines, try to add them as their own complete additional masses, wrapping them around the ball form of the eyeball.

I've outlined a number of things for you to work on. You are headed in the right direction, and if you're able to resolve these issues, you should be well on your way.

I'm going to assign some revisions below, but I want to impose one additional restriction on them: you may not add any contour lines that sit along the surface of a single form. You can still use contour lines to define the joint/relationship between different forms, but the kind that you used on the rat's tail should be left out of your revisions.

Next Steps:

Please submit 2 additional pages of animal constructions.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
6:11 PM, Thursday April 29th 2021

Return of the Revisions,

Here are my thoughts when I was working on these. Maybe it can help with pinpointing issues with my approach:


  • Used the branch method to build the tail

  • I drew the back leg even if the reference didn't show it. But didn't do the same thing for the front leg because it was too much going on in that area

  • The contour lines on the joints of the ket leg: I don't think it was supposed to go through the whole joint shape, just the initial sausage.


  • Not sure if I'm adding masses correctly to the neck. This applies to all the animals


  • To me it seems like I've drawn every from in it's entirety. However, I might be misunderstanding. Could you point out a few examples with screenshots if I'm still not getting this xD?

Many thanks!

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