Lesson 4: Applying Construction to Insects and Arachnids

10:13 PM, Saturday May 28th 2022

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Not feedback, just my goals

I really tried to use previous feedback and:

  1. Not overcomplicate shapes.

  2. Work bigger.

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10:53 PM, Monday May 30th 2022

Starting with your organic forms with contour curves, you're doing a good job of sticking fairly close to the characteristics of simple sausages. Sometimes your ends will get a little smushed, or your midsection might get a bit wider, or one end might be larger than the other, but overall I can see that you are attempting to apply those characteristics. Additionally, your contour lines are pretty well drawn, although I would still recommend that you overshoot your curves as explained here to ensure that you get the right curvature as you hit the edge of your sausage's silhouette. Lastly, be sure to draw through the ellipses at the tip of the sausages two full times, as we would for any freehanded ellipse throughout this course.

Continuing onto your insect constructions, one of the things that stands out most of all here is the fact that most of the time, you are very consistent and aware of how the things you're drawing at each and every stage exist as solid, three dimensional structures, and every subsequent mark or form you add goes onto reinforce that solidity, rather than undermine it. It's actually very uncommon for you to take actions that occur only in the two dimensions of the drawing. It does happen, and I'll point such a case out, but as a whole you do a great job of pushing the idea that every action you take occurs in three dimensions.

Because we're drawing on a flat piece of paper, we have a lot of freedom to make whatever marks we choose - it just so happens that the majority of those marks will contradict the illusion you're trying to create and remind the viewer that they're just looking at a series of lines on a flat piece of paper. In order to avoid this and stick only to the marks that reinforce the illusion we're creating, we can force ourselves to adhere to certain rules as we build up our constructions. Rules that respect the solidity of our construction.

For example - once you've put a form down on the page, it's best to refrain from altering that form's silhouette. Its silhouette is just a shape on the page which represents the form we're drawing, but its connection to that form is entirely based on its current shape. If you change that shape, you won't alter the form it represents - you'll just break the connection, leaving yourself with a flat shape. We can see this most easily in this example of what happens when we cut back into the silhouette of a form.

Throughout the vast majority of your drawings you, by virtue of how you're tackling them, you avoid this. It only really comes up in cases like this ladybug (where I've highlighted the sections you cut back into in red). It's also worth mentioning that the way you've drawn the legs - not drawing through each individual segment's form, but rather having them cut off where they overlap - is more akin to adding flat shapes, rather than solid forms.

Instead, whenever we want to build upon our construction or change something, we can do so by introducing new 3D forms to the structure - forms with their own fully self-enclosed silhouettes - and by establishing how those forms either connect or relate to what's already present in our 3D scene. We can do this either by defining the intersection between them with contour lines (like in lesson 2's form intersections exercise), or by wrapping the silhouette of the new form around the existing structure as shown here.

This is all part of accepting that everything we draw is 3D, and therefore needs to be treated as such in order for the viewer to believe in that lie. And of course, it's something you're doing much of the time. So! I'm quite pleased with that.

Continuing on, for the most part you do apply the sausage method when constructing your insects' legs, although it's not always entirely consistently. Sometimes you struggle to maintain the characteristics of simple sausages (I think this is primarly because it does indeed get really difficult when they get skinny), sometimes you neglect to define the joint between them with a simple contour line, and sometimes (as previously pointed out in the ladybug), you'll end up going for a different approach entirely.

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, in this ant leg, and even here in the context of a dog's leg (because this technique is still to be used throughout the next lesson as well). Just make sure you start out with the sausages, precisely as the steps are laid out in the sausage method diagram.

And that about covers it! As a whole you're doing a great job, and as long as you hold to these principles as you move into Lesson 5, I expect you'll continue to do quite well. So, I'll go ahead and mark this lesson as complete.

Next Steps:

Feel free to move onto lesson 5.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
4:44 PM, Tuesday May 31st 2022

Thanks for the feedback!

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