Lesson 6: Applying Construction to Everyday Objects

5:34 AM, Tuesday January 16th 2024

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This was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I'm pretty sure it broke my brain. Holy moly. But it was awesome. I learned SO MUCH, even if it doesn't look like it from my results.

I tried a number of things for doing curves and ellipses, and I didn't get very precise results with any of them. I think I need to get more comfortable using the ellipse templates, but I would appreciate any advice.

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9:43 PM, Thursday January 18th 2024

Jumping right in with your form intersections, overall your work here is coming along well and demonstrating a good understanding of how these different forms relate to one another in 3D space, but there are a few things that stand out to me that could have been done better, in terms of some of the basics areas where you seem not to have invested as much time as you could have. So for example, your linework is okay but tends to suggest that you're not investing as much time into the use of the ghosting method as you could be. This results in slight wavering to some of your lines, a reduction in accuracy that can undermine the solidity of some of your forms, and so forth.

Remember - the ghosting method is all about breaking a complex task into smaller ones - the execution of a whole specific line into first planning it out (identifying the nature of the mark and finding a comfortable angle of approach), getting familiar with the motion required to execute it (ghosting through the motion) and finally committing to what the first two phases established and executing the stroke with confidence. It's pretty common for students to get too relaxed with this process, resulting in them spending less time on the initial two phases and more on the last one. This actually results in a reversal of the ghosting method, and so going back over the instructions for it is well worth it.

Additionally, I noticed that when constructing your cylinders you didn't make use of minor axis lines. While I would hope you'd use that tool given your just coming off the 250 cylinder challenge, it's also mentioned in the diagram for this step.

Lastly, when handling intersections that need to follow the curve of a surface, be sure to take care in deciding how shallow or deep the curvature ought to be. I've drawn in some corrections to those curves (they weren't that far off, it's just something to keep in mind) along with a couple extra notes here.

Now, all that said, moving onto your object constructions your work here is phenomenal. You have done an excellent job here of holding to the principles precision espoused throughout the lesson. Precision is often conflated with accuracy, but they're actually two different things (at least insofar as I use the terms here). Where accuracy speaks to how close you were to executing the mark you intended to, precision actually has nothing to do with putting the mark down on the page. It's about the steps you take beforehand to declare those intentions.

So for example, if we look at the ghosting method, when going through the planning phase of a straight line, we can place a start/end point down. This increases the precision of our drawing, by declaring what we intend to do. From there the mark may miss those points, or it may nail them, it may overshoot, or whatever else - but prior to any of that, we have declared our intent, explaining our thought process, and in so doing, ensuring that we ourselves are acting on that clearly defined intent, rather than just putting marks down and then figuring things out as we go.

In our constructions here, we build up precision primarily through the use of the subdivisions. These allow us to meaningfully study the proportions of our intended object in two dimensions with an orthographic study, then apply those same proportions to the object in three dimensions.

It's that - your use of the orthographic studies - that really pushes this into the territory of being excellently done, and it's in that which shows the level of care you've taken. I do have a few things to call out, but as a whole I already consider this lesson to have been completed successfully.

The first of these points is more to call out a choice that was made in terms of the little ridges on the cap of your spice bottle. Here you made the choice to draw them in by eye, which wasn't the best because it breaks away from this key principle of precision. There are two other options - one is to actually subdivide for each ridge, laying down the structure you require to build it out without guessing or estimation. The other is to leave the ridges out - remember that your reference, be it photo or a physical object, is a source of information. You are pulling information out in order to help you choose how to construct the object, but there is nothing that states you must add every last detail. You get to choose what is included and what gets left out.

The second point can use the same spice bottle as an example - here, it's about the box you started with. If you look at the edges extending to the left or right, you'll actually find that they diverge, rather than converging, although it's not immediately apparent due to the relatively small scale of the object in those dimensions. Divergence isn't great in general, because it suggests the student could have paid more attention to the orientation of their edges as they drew the box - but as we have access to rulers in this lesson, it also suggests that full advantage was not taken of what that tool can provide.

A ruler isn't just for drawing straight edges reliably - rather, it can also serve to show us how our line is going to behave as it continues beyond its own limited length. In other words, it gives us a line extension (like in the box challenge) for free. If we pay attention to it, it'll show us more clearly whether or not the line we're about to draw would end up diverging from the lines with whom it is meant to converge.

The last point I wanted to mention is more of a suggestion of how you might approach this lamp differently. Given how this structure really feels like it's composed of two distinct elements (in terms of one being upright and oriented against the floor, while the upper section is off at its own angle), it may be better to construct this one with two separate bounding boxes, one for each section. This can greatly simplify the complexity of your subdivisions and keep your precision with far less of your cognitive resources being spent. This would be a recommendation I would give more firmly for anything where you have elements that can be pivoted (for example the arms of a pair of glasses, where I'd recommend using a separate bounding box for the main frame and for each arm), though in this case I'm not actually sure if the top part can actually be set at different angles. Still, since the problem is similar, this may be a strategy that would make the task much simpler without costing you much in the way of accuracy.

The last thing I wanted to quickly address was your point about curves/ellipses. Given that you mushed the two together I'm not entirely sure about the specifics of your struggles, so all I can really provide is more general:

  • In terms of approaching curves by starting them with chains of straight edges/flat surfaces, you seem to be approaching it well. If you want them to be more precise, then you'd break your straight edges into more refined chains of straight edges (with more segments), until you're comfortable finishing them off by rounding the corners.

  • When it comes to using ellipse guides, when it comes to this lesson in particular given the wide range of ellipses we might run into, most still end up freehanding them, because the kind of ellipse guide it would require to cover all your bases would be a full set, which gets quite expensive. Most students pick up a master ellipse template (I talk about all of this in Lesson 0's tools video), which is one sheet with more limited sizes but a variety of degrees - this ends up being more useful in the wheel challenge (where it really helps even with the size limitations), as well as in using the "Constructing to Scale" technique in Lesson 7 to construct a bounding box with very specific proportions. I'm guessing that you were trying to apply a more limited ellipse guide to drawing a wider variety of ellipses here, which resulted in the confusion.

Anyway, I'll go ahead and mark this lesson as complete. Keep up the good work.

Next Steps:

Feel free to move onto the 25 wheel challenge.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
11:30 PM, Thursday January 18th 2024

Thank you so much for your detailed feedback! I really appreciate it. I'll work to process everything and apply it going forward. Thanks also for answering my question about curves and ellipses. What you said is helpful. You are right that I was using a guide with a limited set of options.

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