Lesson 4: Applying Construction to Insects and Arachnids

6:41 PM, Tuesday November 8th 2022

Direct Link: https://i.imgur.com/2WN3tt7.jpg

Man this was tough. The hardest thing for me was the sasauge legs. Despite the fact it was very difficult for me I stuck to doing them instead of stretched circles.


I put in the reference photos so you can scream internally.

0 users agree
12:01 PM, Wednesday November 9th 2022
edited at 12:07 PM, Nov 9th 2022

Hello Drego47, I’ll be the teaching assistant handling your lesson 4 critique.

Starting with your Organic Forms I can see that you're working towards keeping your sausage forms simple as explained here. You're not that far out but I've marked on your work where you're still falling into some common pitfalls, as well as an example where you did a great job here.

Looking at how you've handled your contour curves I'm not seeing any evidence of you trying to apply the feedback Tofu gave you back in lesson 2. "Speaking of contours I'd like you to try and shift the degree of your contours more. 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." This is explained in the ellipses video from lesson 1, here. It is also demonstrated in this diagram and this photo of a banana.

While I appreciate that this task is challenging and we do ask students not to work in a bubble and grind away without getting feedback I'd like to remind you that Tofu told you to "Keep practising previous exercise as warm ups." in the next steps section on October 10th. Warm ups are explained in this section of lesson 0. So you have had nearly a month to put his feedback into practice.

Moving on to your insect constructions I can see you put a lot of effort into following the lesson instructions and you're generally heading in the right direction. You've done well but there are a few things I'd like to call out as well as some more information for you that should help you with these exercises.

Your lines all look very intentional, so I can see that you're planning things carefully. However sometimes your execution shows signs of hesitation which results in your marks becoming wobbly, as seen in this leg sausage Make sure you ghost the motion as much as you need to before you put pen to paper, and that you use your shoulder as discussed in lesson 1. I would also recommend that you read this comment from Uncomfortable, where he talks more about hesitation.

Something else that I think will help you is to draw your constructions a bit bigger. It's not an issue on every page but for example here and here there was definitely room to make your drawings larger. In drawing smaller and artificially limiting how much space you give a given drawing, you're limiting your brain's capacity for spatial reasoning, while also making it harder to engage your whole arm while drawing.

The best approach to use here is to ensure that the first drawing on a given page is given as much room as it requires. Only when that drawing is done should we assess whether there is enough room for another. If there is, we should certainly add it, and reassess once again. If there isn't, it's perfectly okay to have just one drawing on a given page as long as it is making full use of the space available to it.

You've done a good job of starting with simple forms and adding complexity to them step-by-step, well done. I'm going to talk a bit about how we add complexity to these constructions.

Because we're drawing on a flat piece of paper, we have a lot of freedom to make whatever marks we choose, but many of those marks would 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, do not attempt to alter its 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.

Fortunately you don't actually cut back inside your forms all that much, but sometimes you alter your silhouette by extending it instead. I've highlighted a couple of examples of this on your spider and your sorpion.

Instead, when we want to build on our construction or alter something we add new 3d forms to the existing structure. forms with their own complete 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 understanding that everything we draw is 3D, and therefore needs to be treated as such in order for both you and the viewer to believe in that lie.

You can see this in practice in this beetle horn demo, as well as in this ant head demo You can also see some good examples of this in the lobster and shrimp demos on the informal demos page As Uncomfortable has been pushing this concept more recently, it hasn't been fully integrated into the lesson material yet (it will be when the overhaul reaches Lesson 4). Until then, those submitting for official critiques basically get a preview of what is to come.

Looking at how you're approaching the legs of your insects I can see you've been quite conscientious at sticking to the sausage method.

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 shown in these examples here, here, and in this ant leg demo and also here on this dog leg demo as this strategy is important for tackling animal constructions too.

Okay, you have plenty to work on, but I think you can tackle most of it on your own as you work through the next lesson.

I will ask you to submit another page of the Organic Forms with contour curves. Vary the degree of your contour curves You have a history of struggling to vary the degree of your contour curves and ellipses (it was brought up in your funnels, branches and plant constructions too) and I want to make sure you understand and apply this concept before moving forward.

Next Steps:

1 page of the organic forms with contour curves exercise.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
edited at 12:07 PM, Nov 9th 2022
12:00 AM, Thursday November 10th 2022
edited at 12:06 AM, Nov 10th 2022

Wow trying to vary the degrees with this is harder than I thought it would be.

By the way I didnt ignore the fact that I was supposed to vary the degree on ANY lesson. It was actually because I kept on forgetting to lol. I will definetly practice varying the degrees in my warm up from now on.


edited at 12:06 AM, Nov 10th 2022
9:42 AM, Thursday November 10th 2022

Hello Drego47, thank you for replying with your revisions.

These are much better! You've made a very clear and deliberate effort to vary the degrees of your contour curves, and they're getting wider as they get further from the viewer, great job. While I'm here, I noticed just a couple of your contours aren't quite hooking around the form, but stop quite abruptly at the sides, flattening the form, and just one or two that float inside the form without reaching the sides. This is explained in this image from lesson 2. I am sure your accuracy will improve with practice in your warm ups though, so you're good to move on.

Drawabox is rigorous and the information is dense, so it is understandable that you may misunderstand or forget an instruction. Once we call this out for you in your critique, the ball is in your court to take whatever steps necessary to address the things you have forgotten. You may want to consider taking notes from your past feedback and putting them somewhere that you can see them when you work through the rest of the course. Writing things in your own words is tedious but it is also an effective tool to help you understand and remember what you need to work on.

Next Steps:

Lesson 5

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
The recommendation below is an advertisement. Most of the links here are part of Amazon's affiliate program (unless otherwise stated), which helps support this website. It's also more than that - it's a hand-picked recommendation of something I've used myself. If you're interested, here is a full list.
Sakura Pigma Microns

Sakura Pigma Microns

A lot of my students use these. The last time I used them was when I was in high school, and at the time I felt that they dried out pretty quickly, though I may have simply been mishandling them. As with all pens, make sure you're capping them when they're not in use, and try not to apply too much pressure. You really only need to be touching the page, not mashing your pen into it.

On the flipside, they tend to be on the cheaper side of things, so if you're just getting started (beginners tend to have poor pressure control), you're probably going to destroy a few pens - going cheaper in that case is not a bad idea.

In terms of line weight, the sizes are pretty weird. 08 corresponds to 0.5mm, which is what I recommend for the drawabox lessons, whereas 05 corresponds to 0.45mm, which is pretty close and can also be used.

This website uses cookies. You can read more about what we do with them, read our privacy policy.