5:57 PM, Tuesday September 27th 2022
Over the course of the lesson, you certainly show a good deal of improvement and growth. That said, while I can see you making some concerted efforts - at least some of the time - to address issues I called out in previous feedback, there are still places were many of these issues show up in ways that are not insignificant, so I will certainly be pointing that out.
Starting with your organic intersections, these are generally looking good. You're drawing the forms such that they feel stable in a pile under the shared force of gravity, and you're certainly thinking about how the shadows they cast fall upon other surfaces, following the curvature of those other surfaces rather than clinging to the silhouette of the form doing the casting.
Continuing onto your animal constructions, I think that right off the bat there's a fair bit we can do by first talking about this bear construction, as it features a number of different issues that are present to varying degrees across the rest of your work. In order to address these concerns, I'm going to show you a different sets of notes marked out on top of the drawing.
First off, a simple little mistake, although one that suggests that you may be a bit prone to rushing through the steps of construction. Here the line I've marked out in red, effectively establishing the bottom edge of the basic torso sausage demonstrated here, is missing. Thus, going forward from there, you don't actually have a solid, complete sausage form to construct, which itself should hinder you from really engaging with your construction in three dimensions.
Similarly, here I've pointed out a number of spots where you've made little adjustments in two dimensions to your drawing - altering silhouettes by cutting into them (in red) and extending off them (in blue) as 2D shapes rather than with all the limitations that come with being a three dimensional structure - something we discussed at length in my critique of your Lesson 4 work.
In that Lesson 4 critique, I also noted that you had been using the sausage method albeit inconsistently, not adhering to every element laid out in the sausage method diagram. I can see that you have put some effort into rectifying this, although you do sometimes stray pretty wildly in a few ways, and I see as many cases where you've defined the joints between your sausage segments as cases where you have not. Here I can see that your lower leg segments aren't sausages at all - you appear to be drawing one end as though it wraps around the existing structure, instead of intersecting with it as a basic sausage and then defining that intersection as demonstrated in Lesson 4. Another thing I noticed was that you'd frequently double up your lines when drawing your sausages (similarly to drawing "through" our ellipses two full times before lifting our pen - although this is something we specifically do because it leans into our arms' natural desire to draw ellipsoid shapes, and to do so for anything else would cause you to lean more towards ellipses as well). You should be drawing these with just one pass.
As I've noted, I think you have demonstrated some carelessness, amidst your enthusiasm to improve. That is to say, you're clearly eager to invest time and effort, but you aren't necessarily giving yourself the time to ensure that you're using that time and effort correctly. You're not reviewing past feedback frequently enough to remember it correctly, and so you're susceptible to applying them differently than what was described - all the while still trying to address them. In essence, to save yourself a few minutes here and there, you're notably limiting how the time you do spend actually benefits you.
Continuing on, I wanted to talk about the use of additional masses. While you do use them to build upon your existing structures, the manner in which you design their shapes can definitely be improved to yield a much stronger impression of how the masses actually wrap around one another. Across your work you do have some areas of success - like how you designed the silhouette of the belly mass on this elephant - along with a number of cases where a given mass doesn't really "grip" the existing structure in three dimensions, as we see with the mass on this frog's backside, which doesn't quite establish a clear 3D relationship between it and the structure to which it attaches.
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.
One issue I frequently noticed in how you used additional masses was that where you placed your corners was often a little off. Here I've noted in red the edges of the existing structure to which you were attaching your masses, and in blue I marked out where the corner was placed. These corners should be right on the edge itself, as shown here (along the top I marked in green where your corners ought to have been).
Here's how I would have approached those masses on the bear. Corners go right on the silhouette of the existing structure, or where the mass presses up against another structure. Such opportunities are things we actively look for and exploit - like how I've wrapped them around the masses at the shoulder and hip, because this helps to create more relationships between the different elements present here. Just keep in mind that if there is no structure defined to press up against, there can be no corner - so instead of creating two artificial corners along the platypus' side, something like this where we wrap around with a more gradual, smoother transition, would be better.
When it comes to using these kinds of additional masses on your leg structures (I believe I shared some diagrams with you on how to use them on top of the basic sausage structure in my Lesson 4 feedback), it seems you didn't really make much use of them, often "bridging" from one sausage segment to the next using a one-off line (as we see here) that effectively enclosed a flat shape between the structures, but not establishing how it's meant to change the structure in three dimensions.
I recommend you review those other diagrams. You can also take a look at this one, which I use to help remind students that they shouldn't only focus on the areas where a form breaks the silhouette of the leg, but rather also consider the inbetween parts that help define the manner in which they all fit together.
And while we're on the topic of additional notes, these should help you in deciding how to approach your animals' feet.
Now the last topic I wanted to touch upon is head construction. Lesson 5 has a lot of different strategies for constructing heads, between the various demos. Given how the course has developed, and how I'm finding new, more effective ways for students to tackle certain problems. So not all the approaches shown are equal, but they do have their uses. As it stands, as explained at the top of the tiger demo page (here), the current approach that is the most generally useful, as well as the most meaningful in terms of these drawings all being exercises in spatial reasoning, is what you'll find here on the informal demos page.
There are a few key points to this approach:
The specific shape of the eyesockets - the specific pentagonal shape allows for a nice wedge in which the muzzle can fit in between the sockets, as well as a flat edge across which we can lay the forehead area.
This approach focuses heavily on everything fitting together - no arbitrary gaps or floating elements. This allows us to ensure all of the different pieces feel grounded against one another, like a three dimensional puzzle.
We have to be mindful of how the marks we make are cuts along the curving surface of the cranial ball - working in individual strokes like this (rather than, say, drawing the eyesocket with an ellipse) helps a lot in reinforcing this idea of engaging with a 3D structure.
Try your best to employ this method when doing constructional drawing exercises using animals in the future, as closely as you can. Sometimes it seems like it's not a good fit for certain heads, but with a bit of finagling it can still apply pretty well. To demonstrate this for another student, I found the most banana-headed rhinoceros I could, and threw together this demo.
Now while I certainly see that you have put no small amount of effort here, I have pointed out how you in many ways undermined those efforts by not being as aware of the feedback I'd provided previously as you should have. You will likely want to reflect upon how you go about processing the feedback you receive, so as to best meet your responsibilities of being a student of this course - not to produce perfect work, or even good work, but to invest as much time into each area that requires it as is necessary.
I'll be assigning some revisions below, though before you tackle them, give yourself ample time to go back over this feedback, as well as the previous feedback you've received. If you find it difficult to retain specifics, then you may also want to consider taking notes so you have something on hand to refer to as you tackle the homework.
When doing these revisions, I want you to note on the page the date of each session you spent on it, along with a rough estimate of how much time each session was given.
Please submit 5 additional pages of animal constructions.