25 Texture Challenge

4:20 PM, Saturday January 1st 2022

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While doing lesson 2, I found it helpful to make more of the texture pages to help me with the dissections exercise. After the first page of dissectionn I had about 6 pages of texture analysis done, so I thought I might as well finish. There was definitely a learning curve here, and I don't think I fully understood what Uncomfortable wanted at first. I found some other student examples to look at to check as I went. Although some of the early numbers are definitely not correct, I think I was getting it correct at the end (I hope). Whether I did it correctly according to the exercise or not, I really enjoyed this challenge and feel like I learned a lot just by close observation of so many different objects and textures. Let me know the areas I need improvement. I have numbered them for easy reference. I can also name what they were if that is necessary.

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8:41 AM, Tuesday January 4th 2022

Overall, I think you've done a pretty good job with this challenge. That said, I do feel it is my responsibility to remind you of two things, based on what you mentioned in your submission:

  • The work assigned for any given lesson is meant for one purpose - to establish a body of work that represents where you're at currently. It shows the one critiquing your work what you do and do not yet understand, so they can offer appropriate advice. The intent is not necessarily for you to improve over the course of the work, or to ensure that your submission is impressive. So, grinding out additional texture analyses beyond what was assigned for Lesson 2 was not the right call - and I mention as much back in Lesson 0's section on grinding.

  • This challenge in particular is intended to be done over a fairly lengthy period of time, as explained here. Reason being, we do not only learn when we are actively reading or going through an exercise. The time in between an exercise also helps us process what we've picked up - as does working on other tangentially related things. It is for that reason that students are better off starting the 25 texture challenge after Lesson 2, but chipping away at it as they work through the other lessons.

In the future, please do not stray from the instructions and recommendations. They're there to ensure that you can get the most out of each assignment, exercise, and critique.

Now, as I said, your work is largely well done, but there are a few points I can call out to help you continue to progress in the right direction.

  • One area I did notice you struggling is in textures that have relatively small textural forms that are spaced out. A good example of this is number 22. Here, as you started to transition into the denser left side of the texture gradient, I can see that you didn't really know how to make things darker, and so we hit a fairly sudden jump where this large area of darkness was dropped in, but with no clear relationship with the texture forms. Texture, as we explore it in this course, is entirely about the actual physical forms that are present along the surface of an object, and so the shadows we draw, no matter how large or small, must still somehow relate to, and imply the presence of, those textural forms. In this case, we would achieve a more gradual shift from sparse to dense by merely expanding the cast shadows of those textural forms. Taking each such shadow and making it get bigger and bigger, until they start to touch the neighbouring shadows, and fuse into larger composite shapes. The important part here is that the edges of those shapes are still based on the relationship with the form casting them. While this example of bush viper scales is arranged more akin to the dissection exercise, it does demonstrate how those shadows can expand while continuing to maintain a relationship with the textural forms that cast them.

  • Another suggestion that may help - and this isn't something expressly mentioned in the notes, so it's not a mistake - is to think of the gradient as though there is a light source positioned on the far left, which is ultimately causing that end to get blown out, while the opposite end is left in darkness. This would influence the direction of the shadows being cast. In some of your textures, your shadows are being cast towards the right - 22 and 23, as well as 18 and some others. This may actually make it a little harder to wrap your head around how the shadows are actually behaving, since it works against what might make more sense in our minds.

  • Looking at 14, here we run into a fairly common mistake - rather than thinking about the textural forms (the threads themselves, casting shadows upon yet other threads around them), you've focused primarily on the negative space between the forms. Thus, the shadows do not expressly relate to the textural forms, and so they do not describe or imply how they sit in space, and how they relate to the surfaces around them. You did outline those threads, but those lines are more explicit markmaking than implicit - though it's not especially far off from what would be correct. You'd merely use shadow shapes being cast onto the threads beneath them, rather than outlines. There's always going to be that temptation to outline your textural forms before worrying about where the shadow shapes go - whenever you reach for drawing a simple line, stop yourself and consider whether you're working implicitly, or explicitly.

  • To the previous point, one thing that will generally help a lot with textures, is purposely working in a two step approach for putting down your textural marks. It's tempting to draw individual lines, and even "paint" them onto the page one stroke at a time (we see this quite prominently in 25), but by first outlining an intended shadow shape, then filling it in, you can more purposefully think about the form that casts the given shadow you're drawing. The act of designing that shadow shape's outline will allow you to focus on this more clearly, whereas working bit by bit with individual strokes tends to break that connection in our minds.

Again - by and large your work here is very well done. Just be sure to keep the points I've mentioned here - especially the one about completing the assigned work as it is intended, and not doing additional work when it's not requested - as you continue to move forwards through the course.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
8:50 PM, Tuesday January 4th 2022

Thank you so much for your feedback. I think this is my first time getting feedback from you personally Uncomfortable. It feels special. : )

In regards to your concerns about my submissions and pacing. I hope I can assure you that I have not been grinding these out, but rather I have been very consistent with my practice. I had no intention of doing the texture challenge simultaneously, it just sort of worked out that way. I did one texture everyday or so and it took about a month to complete. I have incorporated the exercises from lessons 1 and 2 into my daily warm up, so I am not forgetting to practice the basics and it's helping a lot. I hope this eases any concerns you have. Drawabox has been exactly what I needed to start learning to draw and I am enjoying greatly.

To your critiques on the assignment. In bullet point one, you mentioned #22,and your feedback is spot on. I had not idea how to do shadows on blowfish skin. My reference had the skin go dark while some of the spikes were still lit. That is what I was attempting, but the gradation was abrupt and I didn't know how to fix that.

Bullet point two: I was thinking of the surface as a sphere, but looking back at it, the shadows are opposite of what they should be. It's pretty obvious once I saw it.

Bullet point three. That was burlap, and #14 is about where I started to try and find more examples of the assignment because I had a sense that it was completely wrong. That's where I think you can see some improvement after.

Bullet point four: This was fur, and I have no idea how to draw it if I am not using lines. I was focusing on the negative space rather than the shadow. That is probably where I made the most mistakes with this challenge. Again, thank you for your feedback.

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