Lesson 5: Applying Construction to Animals

2:06 PM, Friday March 18th 2022

Draw a Box Homework: Lesson 5[PURPEL] - Album on Imgur

Direct Link: https://i.imgur.com/lH38qJF.jpg

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I enjoyed doing these animals, though their fur/hair was tough & I still have a lot trouble doing them. Drawing of some of the animals like second Alpaca(neck) & second Zebra(tail) feels stiff.

I admit that I started the lesson before getting critique of lesson 4(I did wait for it but it was taking too long), to cover for this I did some extra pages of animal constructions.

Please critique this & help me improve.

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1:47 AM, Wednesday March 23rd 2022
edited at 1:53 AM, Mar 23rd 2022

The stiffness is more of an observational problem and less of a constructional one.

Anyways, starting with the organic intersections, these are largely looking really good. The forms slump and sag over one another and their silhouettes change in correspondence to the forms beneath them. There are few minor things I'd like to direct your attention to:

  • Remember that the farther contour curves along the sausage's length should be wider - right now you're drawing them with roughly the same degree

  • A few suggestions in your cast shadows here. Right now, your shadows are wrapping around the forms beneath them. This is good and I do encourage you to take the opportunity to push these further. Think about the shadow like a sticker - it gets detached from the form as it's being projected onto the surface beneath it.

Moving onto your animal contructions, there's a tendency to start with faint lines, then doing a follow up pass with darker marks. This might not seem like a big problem at first glance, but it actually changes how we perceive the elements of our drawing. This leads us to believe these earlier masses to be less like they're solid and 3 dimensional, and more like they're just marks on a page. As a result, this traps us into working in 2 dimensions.

For example on this cat, I've highlighted in blue a number of spots where you drew a one-off mark bridging from one 3d structure to another, enclosing the hatched area. But this hatched are exists only in two dimensions- there is no clearly defining elements that help the viewer to understand how it is meant to relate to the other 3d elements at play. Here I've highlighted in red, instances where you've cut into your forms. Thus, it reminds us that we're drawing something flat and two dimensional and reinforces that idea to you as you construct it.

There are cases where it might make sense to work this way, such as the open wings of these birds. Even then, I would still avoid it in favor of the approach shown here. Wings do have volume to them after all.

There's also an instance of form shading on this zebra once you've done your construction. Do try to avoid this if at all possible since this leads to trying to find reasons/excuses to add more ink and speaks to a general goal of doing what you can do to make your drawings more visually appealing. Since this is a one time occurrence, I won't be pushing this point any further.

Continuing onto your use of additional masses, Im noticing that you're approaching them a little more timidly and having a fair bit of trouble with the intentional design on some of these as shown in this alpaca. Remember that all inward curves need to be caused by pressing against something specific and defined. So if it's like a dent just hanging there, without anything actively pressing it in, then that complexity will undermine the solidity of the mass you've drawn. With that said, I would recommend you look for opportunities to push these masses into other forms to make the construction feel more grounded and give us clear places to use inward curves and sharp edges.

Onto leg construction, I can see that you are making a clear effort to stick to the sausage method as often as possible, and as a result, much of your leg construction-or at least the base structure-is coming along decently. When it comes to building up your masses, you need to think about how these masses are held together. So far, you'll add a few additional masses, but in most cases, these are very much limited to bumps that impact the silhouette, without much consideration to what's going on within the silhouette.

As seen in this dog's leg demo and this ant leg, the forms that sit along within the silhouette are still important because they're the connective tissue that hold together the forms that do impact the silhouette.

I did notice you jumping back and forth between using visibly boxier forms for your animals' feet (clear corners help imply the presence of internal planes and generally to make these structures feel more three dimensional) specifically in cases like this alpaca where you seemed to follow the approach shown here from another student's work which can be pushed ever further. Conversely, these cat's paws are more blobby. They wind up feeling more flat and don't have a strategic use of corners on their silhouettes.

When it comes to head construction, Lesson 5 as a ton of different strategies in the informal demos section. Given how the course is developing new more effective ways to construct heads so not all approaches are created equal. As it stands, this tiger demo and this demo from the informal demos is what's generally most useful. This approach relies on a few key elements:

  • the the specific pentagonal shape found in the eyecockets, which allows for a nice wedge in which to place the muzzle into as well as the flat area found in the forehead

  • this focuses heavily on everything fitting together - no arbitrary gaps or floating elements. This allows all the different pieces to feel grounded against one another like a three dimensional puzzle

  • we also have to be mindful as to how all the marks carve along the surface of this cranial ball, working on the individual strokes instead of using an ellipse for the eye socket

I will say that there a few elements of this approach in your work but still need to see it applied a bit more directly. So try your best to follow this approach as closely as you can. It might seem like sometimes its not the best fit for certain heads but with a bit of workaround it can be done. Just look at this example of how the most banana headed rhinoceros is done using this approach.

And lastly on the topic of fur texture, I am seeing a number of cases like the back of this dog where you're being purposeful and designing those individual tufts, although zigzagging back and forth across the existing form's silhouette, which in turn results in you cutting into that silhouette. Think of each shape as an extension of the silhouette - don't risk undermining the solidity by having those shapes cut into the form. You are putting down a lot of different tufts, which aren't neccessarily required. Always ask yourself what you're trying to get across, and try to do so with as little markmaking as possible. It's better to draw a few specific, well though out tufts of fur, than draw hundreds of haphazard ones.

Overall, while you generally seem to be moving in the right direction, I'd like to assign some revisions just in case. I ask you to complete another 2 pages of animals (1 day minimum per animal). Think about all the points I've raised in the critique. Once you're done, come back with your submission and I'll take a look at it.

Next Steps:

2 pages of animal constructions

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
edited at 1:53 AM, Mar 23rd 2022
3:53 AM, Wednesday March 23rd 2022
edited at 4:34 AM, Mar 23rd 2022

Thank you so much for the feedback.

About the cutting into the forms, I think I do that to either break the silhouette or show the fleshy part that is inside the construction, or to hide my mistakes(I admit & I'll try to avoid it).

The revision: https://imgur.com/a/SIpqQF6

The first animal was done two days ago(long after submitting for the critique), I think I'ved followed most of your advice here.

The second animal(elephant) was done after getting the critique(took 2 hr approx). The middle portion of the trunk got messier considering I kept adding mass on the side of it.

I can do another animal tomorrow if you want(since you're limiting me to one animal per day).

Again thanks for the feedback.

edited at 4:34 AM, Mar 23rd 2022
6:09 AM, Wednesday March 23rd 2022
edited at 6:32 AM, Mar 23rd 2022

Even so, you should have done this after receiving your critique. This way, you're able to address all the issues at once and generally get the most out of these lessons without feeling like you've missed something. For example, looking at your work, the points I've raised about the use of additional masses and leg construction still stands. So try your best when addressing the points given in the critique. This way, you end up tackling the right problems as you continue working on these in the future.

edited at 6:32 AM, Mar 23rd 2022
6:39 AM, Wednesday March 23rd 2022

Sure!! I do another one next day.

4:18 AM, Thursday March 24th 2022

Here are the revisions, both were done after I read the critique https://imgur.com/a/sSwBbLN

First one is the elephant from yesterday & the second one is a polar bear.

In the reference of the bear, there were little cubs near it's stomach, so I had to do little guessing when construting those parts.

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