Lesson 2: Contour Lines, Texture and Construction

12:16 AM, Saturday December 19th 2020

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This lesson was kind of like driving down the highway with my eyes closed.

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10:50 AM, Sunday December 20th 2020

Hi there I'll be handling your lesson 2 critique.

You're making good progress towards understanding the concepts introduced in this lesson, below I'll be listing some things that will hopefully help you in your future attempts at these exercises.

  • Your arrows are off to a good start, there's a few spots where they could flow a bit smoother but with more mileage they'll become more consistent. There's just 2 quick suggestions I have for you in this exercise, the first is to make sure you overlap your edges when you turn your arrow, there are a few spots that look flatter than they could as described here. The second thing is to just keep experimenting with foreshortening, by utilizing it in both the arrow itself as well as the space between curves of the arrow you can create a stronger illusion of an arrow moving through 3D space as discussed here.

  • In the organic forms with contours exercise your forms are a bit of a mix of either too complex or too simple, they do improve later on which is great to see but just for clarification I'll point out some things here. Our goal ultimately in this exercise is to create a simple form where both ends are the same size and we avoid any pinching, bloating, or stretching along the form's length as discussed here. You definitely get close at times but just remember not to simplify the form so much it basically just becomes an egg, we want these forms to be able to move a bit so we can do things like wrap them around one another later on. As far as your contours go you do draw through your ellipses a bit too much which makes things appear messier than they could be, remember just an extra pass or two through the ellipse is all you should be doing. Your contour lines do appear a bit stiff and you do attempt to redraw some of them, just remember that we shouldn't be redrawing, and as long as we're drawing confidently our accuracy will improve with time. As a final note be sure to experimenting with shifting the degree of your contours as well. The degree of a contour line basically represents the orientation of that cross-section in space, relative to the viewer, and as we slide along the sausage form, the cross section is either going to open up (allowing us to see more of it) or turn away from the viewer (allowing us to see less), as shown here.

  • The texture exercises are definitely a challenge but you're on the right track. Keep focusing on cast shadows and with mileage you'll grow to find it easier to imply information rather than have to explicitly draw everything. I'd like to quickly direct you to this image which shows that when we're working with thin line like textures if we outline and fill the shadow we will create a much more dynamic texture than simply drawing lines.

  • If you feel like you don't fully grasp form intersections just yet don't worry, right now this exercise is just meant to get students to start thinking about how their forms relate to one another in 3D space, and how to define those relationships on the page, we'll be going over them more in the upcoming lessons. Overall your forms are looking solid and like they belong in a cohesive space, good job.

  • You're showing that your sense of 3D space is building in the organic intersections exercise. Your line quality here does suffer a bit and you have quite a bit off wobbling occurring which shows a lack of confidence, you also tend to apply line weight very heavily here. I'd suggest pushing your light source to the top left or right corner and experiment with pushing your shadows further, right now they mostly hug the form creating them rather than being cast on to the forms below. This is a great exercise for developing your sense of 3D space as well as building up an understanding of light and shadow, so keep experimenting and practicing.

Overall this was a solid submission, you do have some things to work on but I believe with more mileage you'll smoothen the issues out. I'll be marking your submission as complete and moving you on to the next lesson.

Keep practicing previous exercises as warm ups and good luck in lesson 3!

Next Steps:

Do previous exercises as warm ups.

Move on to lesson 3.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
3:40 PM, Sunday December 20th 2020
edited at 4:01 PM, Dec 20th 2020

Thank you Tofu, I'm going to practice a bit more with your feedback in mind before I move on.

Could you please give some more specific examples of which textures I was more successful with versus not, based on your feedback of dynamic linework and not being overly explicit with drawing? Same with the form intersections, if you could point me toward some that I got fairly close versus ones that were way off and why.

Thanks again.

edited at 4:01 PM, Dec 20th 2020
7:49 PM, Sunday December 20th 2020

In your dissections, you've got many cases where you're leveraging cast shadow shapes quite effectively, but there are still some cases - like the tafoni rock, craquelure, wicker, octopus - where you did fall back to outlining your major forms first and foremost. The craquelure is further off the mark than the others, specifically because you've not focused on cast shadows - which are projected from one form onto another surface, and relates specifically to the nature of that form. You instead opted to fill in spaces.

One thing that'll help a lot is simply drawing bigger sausages and giving yourself much more room to work through these textures. You're already heavily heading in the right direction, but by trying to navigate such small shadow shapes in a cramped space, you're making it needlessly difficult on yourself.

As for the form intersections, most of these are indeed going in the right direction - the original wording in Tofu's critique was speaking more to the fact that students aren't really expected to grasp how intersections work just yet - the exercise tests one's ability to draw forms together within the same space such that they feel cohesive and consistent (in terms of foreshortening), and the intersections themselves are something we continue to explore and develop as we move forward throughout the course.

As such, I purposely do not have my teaching assistants address the where and the why of specific intersections being incorrect at this point. I dig into it more when the exercise comes up again in Lesson 6, once the student has had ample opportunity to work throug hit.

One thing I would add however is just that your linework itself could definitely use more attention. When you add line weight, you're doing so slowly and carefully, tracing back over whole lengths of line instead of executing more limited strokes focusing on localized areas. Line weight should be executed with the ghosting method, as with any other marks, and therefore should be drawn with confidence, maintaining smooth strokes. You may mess up your accuracy here and there, but it is more important that you not infuse your linework with wobbling due to hesitation.

12:53 AM, Monday December 21st 2020

OK, got it, thanks -- it's helpful to be able to pair the worst offenders with the feedback re: textures, I see what you're saying.

Controlling the lines has definitely been the biggest challenge (both with accuracy and speed), I think I'm tensing my shoulder too much or something when I draw more quickly or something. Will double down on practicing the linework stuff from exercise 1 as I move on to the next lesson.

Thanks again.

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