Lesson 5: Applying Construction to Animals

2:52 AM, Friday May 22nd 2020

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Hello, here I am back again, now with lesson 5

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4:05 PM, Friday May 22nd 2020

Starting with your organic intersections, the way you've laid out your forms is really solid. You've established how those forms interact with one another in three dimensions, and have captured a strong, believable illusion of gravity in how it causes them to slump and sag over one another.

One thing you do need to work on however are your cast shadows. While you're most of the way there, you do appear to have issues keeping the light source consistent. For example, you'll have a shadow falling both to the left and the right side of a given sausage form. You also have similar issues when looking across all the sausages in a given pile, where one casts a shadow to the left and another casts a shadow to the right. Cast shadows define the relationship between a light source, the form casting the shadow, and the surface upon which the shadow is cast - and you need to keep all three of these in mind when laying the shadow down. In addition to this, make sure you're thinking about how your shadow wraps along the surface of the form upon which it is being cast - you've got several situations where the shadows at least partially ignore the fact that the surface may be turning away (in which case the shadow being cast ought to follow instead of clinging to the form casting it).

Moving onto your animal constructions, you definitely show a good deal of growth over the set, and you improve in your understanding of how construction should be applied. There are a few issues I want to point out that should help you as you continue to improve however.

The first of these is quite important, and it has to do with the overall approach you're using. Right now, it's clear that you're drawing the initial masses of your construction somewhat differently than the forms that follow. When you draw your initial forms, you tend to do so with a much lighter stroke - unlike the later forms, which you draw with a darker mark. This is the sort of "underdrawing/clean-up pass" dichotomy that I actually mention back in Lesson 2 (specifically in the form intersections video) that you should be avoiding. Every mark you put down defines a solid form within a 3D world, and it is important that each of them are drawn to be as "real" as any other. This is critical because it changes how we interact with those forms, and when we have to think about how our additional forms wrap around this underlying structure, it becomes that much more important.

If you look at the head of this hare, you'll see that the cranial ball has a very loose relationship with the rest of the head structure. Especially towards the back of the jaw, you can see that they don't fit together tightly. All our forms need to be tightly bound to one another with clear, solid relationships. You can also see how along the top of the head (near the ears), the cranial ball actually pokes through there, resulting in a contradiction where the viewer has to decide whether this bit of form actually exists in the world or not. Every contradiction you present to the viewer serves to chip away at their suspension of disbelief - remember that you're telling them a grand lie, deceiving them into believing that what they're looking at is three dimensional and not just a series of lines and shapes on a page. Don't take risks that will compromise this illusion.

Now of course, with that cranial ball, that little piece sticks off there because the ellipse ended up being looser than it ought to have been, so you'll also need to continue practicing achieving tighter ellipses. We do this by continuing to practice those earlier lesson 1 exercises as part of our regular warmups. Once a looser ellipse is laid down on the page however, it's best to try and encompass all of it, rather than leaving pieces to stick out.

You'll also notice that in every one of my demonstrations, my lines are all dark and confidently drawn - even for the most basic forms that will undoubtedly be buried in further construction. I treat each and every form with the same respect, because my focus is not on the final result I'm trying to create, nor is it on trying to produce a pretty drawing to show my friends and family. My focus is on understanding how these forms relate to one another in 3D space, to create strong ties between them.

So that's the biggest issue. Aside from that, there are some smaller ones:

  • I think as you get more and more confident with construction, you start paying less attention to your reference. Remember that construction does not replace the need for observation - we need to have a good sense of the nature of the forms we add to our construction, and that information is derived purely from the reference image.

  • When applying the sausage method, you're generally doing a pretty good job, but I have been noticing a number of places where you misplace the contour line that is meant to sit right on the joint between two sausages. You frequently miss that specific location, as shown here.

  • When wrapping additional forms to a sausage segment to provide additional bulk, avoid the sort of "hotdog in a bun" effect we get with this bull's front leg. That is, two forms with a gap in between, with that gap running relatively straight down the length of the form. Aim for something more like this where they forms fit together tightly, and where the border between them is itself winding around the sausage form rather than running straight down.

  • When you have overlapping additional forms, make sure you draw each one in its entirety. For example, looking at this drawing, the line I marked in red was missing from your drawing. Even better, however, would be to have those forms actually pile up on top of one another. As soon as you add one additional mass to a structure, it becomes part of that structure - and so anything you add thereafter should itself wrap around the structure that now exists. You've mostly done a really good job of integrating forms with one another (like wrapping those additional masses around the big shoulder and hip muscles), but this kind of integration can really be applied everywhere.

I definitely feel that you continue to improve as you move through the lesson, and overall I'm very pleased with your results. As such, I am going to mark this lesson as complete, even though there are some issues here that you'll want to work on by yourself. I think you've clearly shown a good grasp of how these forms interact with one another and how they relate to each other in 3D space, so I think you should be well equipped to apply the critique here as you move forwards.

Next Steps:

Feel free to move onto the 250 cylinder challenge, which is a prerequisite for lesson 6.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
6:52 PM, Friday May 22nd 2020

Thank you very much for your review. I see were I was going wrong now, especially with the sausage contour line. I was thinking I was to just apply a contour on whatever sausage was dominant, overlapping the other, rather than applying it to the joint specifically.

While it was certainly not my intetion to do a light base/clean up pass, I do see that it looks like it. I think the issue was at the start my lines are done much quicker applying less ink and later on slowed down from concentration, applying more ink. I need to slow down my initial foundation lines and do better at ghosting and applying my subsequent forms more confidently and a bit quicker.

In my warmups I've been making an effort to slow my lines while still drawing confidently with my shoulder, but I find with ellipses I still need to execute them quite quickly in order to keep them smooth which makes them rather light.

In any case I will continue to work on everything you mentioned in my warmups, thank you again.

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