Lesson 4: Applying Construction to Insects and Arachnids
9:05 PM, Monday July 27th 2020
...references here: https://imgur.com/gallery/6rrqtCE
...references here: https://imgur.com/gallery/6rrqtCE
Overall your work throughout this lesson is quite well done, although there are a few things I want to draw your attention to that should help you continue to improve as you move through this course.
Starting with your organic forms with contour lines, these are quite well done. You're mostly sticking to relatively simple sausages (some get a little narrower through their midsection but most adhere to the characteristics listed here in the instructions). Additionally, while there are some exceptions to this, there are places where the degree of your contour lines remain fairly consistent throughout the length of a given form. Remember that the degree of your contour line reflects the orientation of that cross-section in space, and as we look at different points along the sausage, that will get narrower/wider, rather than remaining the same.
Overall you're applying construction quite well when it comes to your insect drawings, and as a result your insects feel quite solid and well built. You get into a good deal of complexity and detail with them, but you do so whilst respecting the way in which they're built up in successive phases - never jumping into too much complexity too early, and always ensuring that there is enough underlying structure to support the information you'd like to add.
There are however a few issues that I want to address. Some are more structural to how the whole drawing is approached, others are more superficial.
Starting with the biggest one, looking at your drawings you have a tendency to start out rougher and more faintly, as though you're exploring on the page. The marks themselves tend to be very timid, and while they're arguably confident, they're a very hesitant kind of confidence - in that they're moving quickly, but they're barely touching the page out of fear of making the wrong mark too heavily.
What we're doing here - constructional drawing specifically - is all about approaching the marks we draw with a sense of certainty. The first masses we draw are not ghosts - they are, each of them, solid and three dimensional forms that exist within 3D scene in which we're working. Each mark you draw must be drawn with confidence, not with a faint stroke or any other attempt to keep it hidden or separated from the "final" drawing. There is no such distinction - as discussed back in lesson 2's form intersections, we don't lay down an underdrawing then attempt to follow it up with a clean-up pass. Every part of our drawing is a part of the drawing. Line weight only comes into play to help clarify certain overlaps between forms, and is not applied to the entirety of lines, just specific localized sections.
That is by far the most significant issue I'm seeing here. Another one of note is that when constructing your insects' legs, you should be utilizing the sausage method described here. Now, it's obvious that not all legs look like a chain of sausage forms, and so you may not reflexively think to employ that technique when constructing your insects. The purpose of the sausages is not to capture the legs as they are however, but rather to lay down an underlying structure or armature that captures both the solidity and fluidity of the form. Most other approaches tend to focus too much one way or the other, appearing solid but stiff, or gestural but flat. Once the base structure is in place, you can then add additional forms to it as shown here to provide it with additional bulk where it's required.
The last point I want to mention comes down to how you approach the texture/detail phase of these drawings. The construction portion of these drawings exists to help communicate to the viewer what it'd be like to take that object into their hands and manipulate it. It gives them a sense of how it exists in 3D space. The texture phase, however, similarly focuses on communication - except in this case, it's about communicating what it'd be like for the viewer to run their fingers over its various surfaces.
It appears to me that your focus may be more on aesthetics and polish, on making the drawing look impressive, rather than serving a functional, utilitarian goal. Remember that every single one of these drawings is just an exercise - we are unconcerned with creating pretty drawings, things that will impress people, that we can stick on our refrigerators. Everything is an exercise to help us improve our ability to communicate things visually in a way that is believable and efficient.
When getting into detail/texture, you should not be getting into any form shading. As discussed in Lesson 2, it serves no functional purpose that hasn't already been taken care of, and ends up being more of a decoration. Instead, the filled areas of black should be reserved only for cast shadow shapes - that is, what we get when one form blocks the light from reaching the surface of another, projecting a solid black shape onto it. That is how we go about capturing texture - we imply the textural forms through the shadows they cast, and so on. So, whenever you go to draw any sort of a filled shape, ask yourself what form is casting the shadow you're about to draw - if there is no such form, don't draw it.
I've laid out a few things for you to think about, but all in all I do think you're doing a good job. I am eager to see you resolve that first issue, in regards to drawing every single form with confidence, focusing on capturing its individual solidity within the scene, but I will leave you to work on that in the next lesson. As for this one, you can consider it complete.
Move onto lesson 5.
once again I'd like to thank you for your time and precious tips (that I totally recognize and agree) - like any other "stuppid", it's hard for me to keep it simple and smooth, but I will try by revisiting the basis :))
For now I'll rest my pen. Maybe later I'll come for more learning of you excellent and exciting method.
Keep up your (very) good work ;)