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12:17 AM, Tuesday May 4th 2021

Starting with your organic intersections, these are looking quite solid. The interaction between the forms shows a good sense of gravity and weight to the forms. The only thing I want you to keep an eye on are your cast shadows - while they wrap nicely around the sausage forms' surfaces, they're not particularly consistent on the second page, with some shadows being cast to the left, and others to the right. Technically that is possible if you put the light source right above the center of the stack, but definitely not if the light source is any farther away. Also, the sausage in the center of this second page - the one bridging across the two stacks - doesn't appear to cast any shadow.

Continuing onto your animal constructions, you're definitely off to a great start with the birds, although there's definitely some issues throughout the set that we can address. They will fall under a few categories that I'll address individually:

  • Head construction

  • Torso construction

  • Use of the sausage method

  • Additional masses

Head Construction

So here, it looks like you're mostly approaching your head construction by drawing the eye sockets using ellipses and having them float arbitrarily in place. As explained here, head construction is all about thinking of the head as a sort of 3D puzzle. That is, with individual pieces that fit together, rather than stickers floating on top of a loose structure. The specific shape shown there - pentagons pointing downwards - is quite useful because it provides a sort of "wedge" in which we can place the muzzle, and a flat ledge across upon which to place the brow ridge. Use this approach when constructing your animals' heads, and try to lean more on shapes with actual sides to them, rather than ellipses which don't really create a strong spatial relationship with any other pieces set against them.

It's worth pointing out that I really did like how the muzzle attached to the cranial ball on this giraffe's head. It's primarily the eye sockets that were left feeling somewhat "floaty".

Torso Construction

This one's a bit of a mixed bag, but a lot of your torsos end up feeling kind of flat. There are a number of causes for this - sometimes your ribcage/pelvis forms are drawn with irregular, uneven shapes (like the giraffe on the right side of this page), sometimes you cut straight across the silhouette of the ribcage form (like the horse on the right side of this page), reminding the viewer that they're looking at a drawing rather than a series of three dimensional forms (we discussed this back in my critique of your lesson 4 work), and sometimes you end up pinching the form through its midsection in a way that makes it more complex. Simple forms are easier to have interpreted as being three dimensional. In situations like the horse on the left side of this page, adding a contour line would probably be beneficial to help maintain the form's solidity. Having it sag downwards instead of upwards also helps because it falls more in line with gravity. While that isn't necessarily always what you want for a given drawing, remember that this is just the basic underlying structure - we can always build up masses later to add bulk where it's needed.

Use of the Sausage Method

The sausage method is not intended to create a skeleton. It looks like in your drawings - especially your horses - you're going really far into studying the skeletal structure of horses, and trying to apply that. Remember that the constructional drawing lessons in this course - that is, lessons 3-7 - focus on tackling the same problem through the lens of different subject matter. Focus on building up the forms and structure you see, while adhering to the rules of a given technique. So for example, drawing simple sausage forms means you can't simply create a segment of a leg that goes from big to small, and you instead have to use the smaller width, then add bulk to it later with additional masses.

Now you are doing it correctly in a lot of places, though the stuff going on here is simply the wrong direction to take. You may be trying to build up additional masses here (it might not have anything to do with your use of the sausage method), in which case I'll address it in the next section. I did however want to point out that when it comes to sticking to the characteristics of simple sausages, you're moving in the right direction but there are still places where you deviate - for example, these segments tend to get wider through their midsections, and the ends are more stretched out instead of remaining entirely circular.

I'd recommend reflecting on what is shown in the sausage method diagram and make sure you keep those requirements in mind.

Additional Masses

So the thing about adding additional masses is that we can't simply add arbitrary blobs to our construction and expect them to feel like they're attached to the given structure. Instead, we have to actually design the silhouette of those forms, so it convincingly wraps around it.

One thing that helps with the shape here is to think about how the mass would behave when existing first in the void of empty space, on its own. It all comes down to the silhouette of the mass - here, with nothing else to touch it, our mass would exist like a soft ball of meat or clay, made up only of outward curves. A simple circle for a silhouette.

Then, as it presses against an existing structure, the silhouette starts to get more complex. It forms inward curves wherever it makes contact, responding directly to the forms that are present. The silhouette is never random, of course - always changing in response to clear, defined structure. You can see this demonstrated in this diagram.

So for example, if we look at the giraffe on the right side of this page, we can see that you've given it two separate bumps, one on the base of the neck and one closer to its rump. Both forms just kind of sits there - doesn't actually "grip" onto the existing structure. As shown here, having those forms wrap around, considering how it can actually droop down along the sides, will help considerably. Also, giving the giraffe's shoulder area a big mass (all animals have these, since they're the primary engines behind their ability to walk and run, but sometimes you may need to look closely to find them) gives us something further to wrap around.

Conclusion

All in all you are moving in the right direction, but I think there are a number of areas where you do need to invest more time to think through these spatial problems, and some areas where you may have invested time and effort in less useful areas of focus. All in all you really aren't that far off. I'm going to assign some additional pages of revisions for you to apply what I've listed here, and I expect that your next round will be much better.

Next Steps:

Please submit an additional 4 pages of animal constructions.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
10:42 PM, Saturday May 8th 2021

Hello Uncomfortable,

Revisions here. Thank you for the detailed feedback!

https://imgur.com/a/nqg1m6v

1:01 PM, Monday May 10th 2021

This is definitely moving in the right direction. There are just a couple things I wanted to point out:

  • When adding additional masses along your sausage structures for the legs, remember that you shouldn't be adding random corners arbitrarily. Corners - and all sorts of complexity - exist in response to the structure that the form is being attached to. Here's what I mean.

  • I'm also noticing that when it comes to the larger additional masses - those you add along the torso - you're still somewhat neglecting the design of the masses' silhouettes, and opting to then wrap the whole torso in additional contour lines to compensate. Here's an example of what I mean. Do not rely on those contour lines here. All the heavy lifting is done by the silhouette of the additional mass that is being added. Think about how it wraps around the existing structures, as though it's holding onto them rather than just sitting quietly.

So, as a whole the main area you're going to want to focus your practice is on the use of these additional masses. They all follow the same rules - whether they're being applied to smaller, narrower structures, or larger ones. this is however something I think you can continue to work on yourself, as overall you are doing much better than before.

As such, I'll go ahead and mark this lesson as complete.

Next Steps:

Move onto the 250 cylinder challenge, which is a prerequisite for lesson 6.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
2:34 PM, Monday May 10th 2021

Thank you so much for taking examples from my drawings and showing how they can be improved. It helps immensely.

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Like the Staedtlers, these also come in a set of multiple weights - the ones we use are F. One useful thing in these sets however (if you can't find the pens individually) is that some of the sets come with a brush pen (the B size). These can be helpful in filling out big black areas.

Still, I'd recommend buying these in person if you can, at a proper art supply store. They'll generally let you buy them individually, and also test them out beforehand to weed out any duds.

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