0 users agree
9:18 PM, Monday November 20th 2023

Hello Koolestani, I'll be the teaching assistant handling your lesson 4 critique.

Starting with your organic forms you're doing a pretty good job of sticking to the characteristics of simple sausages that are introduced here, and your lines look smooth and confident, nice work.

It is good to see that you've been varying the degree of your contour curves on most of your forms. On your first page the contour curves are telling us that both ends of these forms are facing away from the viewer, and yet you've placed an ellipse one one end of each of these forms. Remember that these ellipses are no different from the contour curves, in that they're all just contour lines running along the surface of the form. It's just that when the tip faces the viewer, we can see all the way around the surface, resulting in a full ellipse rather than just a partial curve. But where the end is pointing away from us, there would be no ellipse at all. Take a look at this breakdown of the different ways in which our contour lines can change the way in which the sausage is perceived - note how the contour curves and the ellipses are always consistent, giving the same impression of which ends are facing towards the viewer and which are facing away.

The contour curves on the form at the top left of your second page are quite asymmetrical, which changes the properties of the form (from something with a circular cross-section to something squished) and I think this may be (in part) due to skipping over this step where we draw a flow line down the middle of the forms, which helps us to align the contour curves/ellipses properly.

Moving on to your insect constructions, there is something to call out. The assignment for this lesson is as follows:

  • 4 pages of insect/arachnid drawings that are purely constructional with no texture or detail.

  • 6 pages of insect/arachnid drawings that can go into texture and detail if you wish.

The imgur album you have submitted contains 7 pages of insect constructions in total.

There are two likely possibilities. Either Imgur didn't save all of your pages correctly when you uploaded them, or you misread the homework assignment.

Either way, please reply with a link to the 3 missing pages and I'll get to writing your feedback as soon as I can.

Next Steps:

Please upload the 3 missing pages of insect constructions.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
3:45 PM, Thursday November 30th 2023

Sorry for the delay, I've added the new pages in the original link.

6:06 PM, Thursday November 30th 2023

Hi Koolestani, thank you for uploading the rest of your pages.

I'm seeing a great deal of ability in your work here, with strong observational skills, lines that are usually smooth and confident, as well as an understanding of some of the forms you draw existing in 3D space. There are also a number of ways you could be getting a bit more out the lesson.

When drawing along with any demos It's extremely important that you follow them directly. Do not cut them short, do not alter their steps. Follow them to the letter so you can understand the process Uncomfortable is demonstrating, and then employ that process fully on your own.

I've noted a few of the issues where you've deviated from the methods shown in the demo on this wasp, and with the exception of leaving forms open ended (which seems to be a one-time thing) these mistakes are being repeated across most of the set. With the exception of the sausage method, which is a new technique for this lesson, all these points have already been called out by ThatOneMushroomGuy in your lesson 3 feedback.

While running into issues is by no means a problem, it is a much bigger concern when they are issues that have been called out before. It suggests that you may not be taking the time you require to process that information and absorb it fully, or that you may be reading through it once and then leaving it aside as you jump into the next lesson. There are many potential reasons this could be happening, but at the end of the day, it is your responsibility to ensure that you can implement the feedback you've received, or that if you do not understand something, that you ask questions (either here, or over on our Discord chat server, where fellow students are often happy to help).

Moving on, the next point I wanted to talk about relates to differentiating between the actions we can take when interacting with a construction, which fall into two groups:

  • Actions in 2D space, where we're just putting lines down on a page, without necessarily considering the specific nature of the relationships between the forms they're meant to represent and the forms that already exist in the scene.

  • Actions in 3D space, where we're actually thinking about how each form we draw exists in 3D space, and how it relates to the existing 3D structures already present. We draw them in a manner that actually respects the 3D nature of what's already there, and even reinforces it.

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 cut back inside forms you have already drawn very often, I've marked some examples where it looks like you cut back inside the silhouette of forms you had already drawn on this image. One thing I did notice is that many of the instances of cutting into forms came down to the fact that your ellipses would come out a little loose (which is totally normal), and then you'd pick one of the inner edges to serve as the silhouette of the ball form you were constructing. This unfortunately would leave some stray marks outside of its silhouette, which does create some visual issues. Generally it is best to treat the outermost perimeter of the ellipse as the edge of the silhouette, so everything else remains contained within it. This diagram shows which lines to use on a loose ellipse.

Something that happens much more frequently in your work is extending off existing forms with partial shapes, not quite providing enough information for us to understand how they actually connect to the existing structure in 3D space. I've marked a few examples in blue on this crab. a significant number of these are occurring where you've cut forms off where they pass behind something else. As noted earlier in this critique, and twice in your lesson 3 feedback, we want to "draw through." Draw each form in its entirety so we can figure out how the whole form exists in space and connect them together like a 3D puzzle, this is key to helping you to develop your spatial reasoning skills.

So, 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.

The next thing I wanted to talk about is leg construction. It looks like you tried out lots of different strategies for constructing legs. It's not uncommon for students to be aware of the sausage method as introduced here, 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 in these examples here, here, and in this ant leg demo and also here on this dog leg demo as this method should be used throughout lesson 5 too.

All right. I've given you a few points to work on, but I think you have the ability to address these points at you tackle the next lesson (where they will continue to be just as relevant) so I'll go ahead and mark this one as complete.

In brief:

  • Draw through your forms.

  • Use the sausage method of leg construction.

  • Try your best to take actions in 3D by drawing complete new forms when you want to build on your constructions.

If anything said to you here, or previously, is unclear or confusing you are welcome to ask questions. Best of luck.

Next Steps:

Lesson 5

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
1:24 PM, Wednesday December 6th 2023
edited at 1:25 PM, Dec 6th 2023

Thank you for the detailed critique.

I've made some attempts at improving these drawings and shared them here, I hope this is more in line with what's expected out of the lesson.

The way you broke down concepts and explained things made it easier to grasp, but I think, I'm still not quite where the lesson wants me to be.

I mostly just ended up drawing ellipses to indicate the contact of the additional mass that lays over the basic sausage form for all the legs. My brain just sees elliptical contours as the boundary of the connective surface between the sausage form and the form added above it. Is that correct?

Also I was surprised to see how little space there was on the page to add little clumps of mass over the legs of some of these creatures even when I dedicated the whole page to just one creature. Is that normal?

I can see that this is basically an excercise of geometric intersections.

So when the appendage in the claw of the scorpion intersects with the base form of the claw which is a sphere the boundary of the intersection follows the curvature of the sphere (wraps around its surface).

On the page with two beetles drawn on it, the beetle on the top, label A, here I visualize the form with the antennae attaches to its head which is a sphere and the result is a boundary that looks like its wearing a VR headseat. This is what seemed right to me. What do you think about it?

Likewise, in the ten lined june bug, label A, I see the intersection of the elongated form with its spherical head like that of a ducks bill with it face.

In the crab with tons of annotation, I think I have got the right idea of how the lumps of mass connect to the spherical base form of its claws, I am still not sure about what I could have done better with the connective lump of mass hatched and labelled B, I don't see any hidden line that I could have added to improve upon the illusion of it wrapping around in 3D space and connecting the spheres on either sides of it.

Label C and D, I think they now look like lumps that wrap around their base form of an ellipsoid.

On the green metallic beetle, labels A, B and E, again I could only imagine the boundaries of the intersection of forms added over the base form as elliptical contours. With E being just a tiny sliver / slice of a larger sphere.

C and D also seemed to sit on the base form in a way that would cause the geometric intersection to look like an ellipse.

edited at 1:25 PM, Dec 6th 2023
View more comments in this thread
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.
Drawabox-Tested Fineliners (Pack of 10, $17.50 USD)

Drawabox-Tested Fineliners (Pack of 10, $17.50 USD)

Let's be real here for a second: fineliners can get pricey. It varies from brand to brand, store to store, and country to country, but good fineliners like the Staedtler Pigment Liner (my personal brand favourite) can cost an arm and a leg. I remember finding them being sold individually at a Michael's for $4-$5 each. That's highway robbery right there.

Now, we're not a big company ourselves or anything, but we have been in a position to periodically import large batches of pens that we've sourced ourselves - using the wholesale route to keep costs down, and then to split the savings between getting pens to you for cheaper, and setting some aside to one day produce our own.

These pens are each hand-tested (on a little card we include in the package) to avoid sending out any duds (another problem with pens sold in stores). We also checked out a handful of different options before settling on this supplier - mainly looking for pens that were as close to the Staedtler Pigment Liner. If I'm being honest, I think these might even perform a little better, at least for our use case in this course.

We've also tested their longevity. We've found that if we're reasonably gentle with them, we can get through all of Lesson 1, and halfway through the box challenge. We actually had ScyllaStew test them while recording realtime videos of her working through the lesson work, which you can check out here, along with a variety of reviews of other brands.

Now, I will say this - we're only really in a position to make this an attractive offer for those in the continental United States (where we can offer shipping for free). We do ship internationally, but between the shipping prices and shipping times, it's probably not the best offer you can find - though this may depend. We also straight up can't ship to the UK, thanks to some fairly new restrictions they've put into place relating to their Brexit transition. I know that's a bummer - I'm Canadian myself - but hopefully one day we can expand things more meaningfully to the rest of the world.

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