Lesson 5: Applying Construction to Animals

2:51 PM, Monday August 2nd 2021

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Hi I'm back fairly quick this time, on vacation so I had time to draw alot.

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1:54 AM, Tuesday August 3rd 2021

Starting with your organic intersections, you're doing a good job of establishing how these slump and sag over one another under the weight of gravity. You're also making good progress with your use of cast shadows, although when it comes to those cast shadows that fall along the ground plane, you are a little bit timid, and you even left the shadow cast by the horizontal sausage on the second page out entirely.

Continuing onto your animal constructions, I can definitely see your grasp of the material developing and improving as you push through the set. At the same time, however, I can see a number of issues that arise that I will be pointing out, in order to keep you on track.

To start, a relatively simple piece of advice - try to avoid drawing small. Sometimes students will decide ahead of time that they want to fit X drawings on a page, and sometimes students just feel self-conscious and end up avoiding taking full advantage of the space that is available to them. Regardless of the reason, doing so can really impede your brain's capacity to think through spatial problems, while also making it harder to engage your whole arm while drawing. Always start on a fresh page by giving whatever you're drawing as much room as it needs, and only when you're done, should you look at how much space you have left. If you can fit another drawing in the space that remains, great - you should definitely do so. If there is not enough room however, then it's perfectly okay to just have one drawing on that sheet of paper.

I do believe that was a substantial factor here. Your approach to construction is actually coming along really nicely in a lot of cases, but there are certain areas of clumsiness across your work that I feel are only occurring because you're not giving yourself enough room to work.

Secondly, remember the rule that everything you introduce to your constructions should be its own individual, enclosed, complete form that holds up even when removed from the rest of the existing structure. For the most part, you have adhered to this, but there are definitely some areas where you deviated. On the main construction on this page, we can see you adjusting the silhouette of the torso along its back to add a bump to it - but that bump is just a line, there's no actual form you're attaching to the torso. You also cut back into the silhouette of the muzzle to make it smaller - your approach here wasn't too bad (you were clearly trying to think about how it would exist in 3D space), but you'll note that in my critique of your lesson 4 work, I did state that cutting back in to the silhouette should be avoided for organic construction. We'll get to play with that approach when we get into more geometric constructions where the rules are a lot more strict and clear, but here try to focus on working additively only. If that means you're stuck with a larger muzzle, then that's fine.

Stepping back to the examples of partial shapes/forms, we also see plenty of those in these rhinos. It shows that you're not fully conscious of the rules you should be adhering to, and are allowing yourself to take certain shortcuts. The rules I shared with you in the last critique are important.

Furthermore, we see more of it in this rhino, where the bumps along the rhino's back were drawn by simply adding circles and bridging the gaps between them and the existing structure. These are really just flat shapes - everything you add to your construction needs to be a 3D form, and you need to define how it relates to or intersects with the existing structure. You also can't be cutting back into the silhouette of the head (number 22) as you did along its lower jaw.

So, going back to the additional masses, I can see that you're attempting to use them more correctly in certain cases - like the wolves on this page - but there are other cases where you're kind of using them correctly, but are cutting off their silhouettes (like on this dog's back). All in all, you need to be much more mindful of how you work with these forms. You clearly have a good sense of how they can wrap around their existing structures, and how to design those silhouettes, but you're still too prone to taking shortcuts and doing things in half measures.

Moving forward, the last thing I wanted to call out was how you approach leg construction. Your approaches vary a fair bit. Sometimes you attempt to use the sausage method correctly (like on this rhino's front leg), and sometimes you end up using it incorrectly (like on this deer's legs where you were using ellipses rather than proper sausage forms, or on your hybrid where you neglected to define the joint between the segments with contour lines). I also recommend you review the notes and diagrams I shared with you when talking about leg construction in my critique of your lesson 4 work. There I showed how you can approach building upon your sausage structures to help capture more of the nuance and complexity of the leg structures, while respecting the additive approach to construction, and the three dimensional nature of every element that is added.

The last thing I wanted to talk about is head construction. For the most part, you've done this pretty well. You're considering the relationships between the eye sockets and the muzzle, fitting them together like pieces of a 3D puzzle. The only notable situation where you have the eye sockets floating freely is in your hybrid, where it just seems like the nature of the task caused you to forget some of the approaches you were otherwise aware of.

In the future though, I do encourage you to go a bit beyond the eye sockets and muzzles, and think about the brow ridge and cheeks as separate elements to be constructed, as shown in this informal demo.

Also, since you were having some trouble trying to figure out how to tackle the rhino head construction, I do have a demo on that which I can share.

Finally, instead of drawing the iconic 'eye' symbol when trying to put in the lids, try drawing a larger eyeball form, and then drawing each lid as its own separate additional mass as shown here. This will help you get a better sense of how the eyeball itself is a ball form, and how the eyelids wrap around it.

Now, I do think that there are enough issues to be addressed here that I'd like you to complete some revisions, which you'll find assigned below. I am also a little concerned with how rapidly you're submitting your work. While I understand that you've got time off and lots of time to draw, I do hope you're still following the 50% rule instead of just throwing all of your time at completing this course.

Next Steps:

Please submit 4 additional pages of animal drawings. Take your time with each one, and try to spread them out. When we just hammer away on all the drawings in a limited period of time, we're less likely to learn as much from each individual one.

Also, be sure to take time to absorb both the feedback you've received here, and the feedback I gave you in Lesson 4 - as it's clear that you didn't absorb it in its entirety before moving on.

These critiques can get very long and dense, so it's normal to need to go through them multiple times (and to come back to them even as you're working on the next lesson) to really let it all sink in.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
3:37 PM, Tuesday August 3rd 2021

I've been dealing with some angst problems for over a year now so please forgive me if my concentration and memory is equivalent to a potato.

I've sent 2 revisions and 2 studies, I thought I'd send you two today and take a few days off to collect my thoughts and then do the last two revisions. I've read through the critiques 5 and 4 and I'll reread them again for a few days.

I thought that way it'd be more time saving for both of us if I included a partial of the assignment to check if I'm moving in the right direction and then take a break with a few questions being asked at the same time.


Well then, probably should've said this first but sorry for my poor english but oh well.

Regarding the 50/50 rule I would like to apologise and say, no I sadly haven't been following it.

Instead what I have done is a 75/25 with the 25 being perspective studies. The reason being is that Im too uncertain how I should tackle drawing humans.

Could you help me? I really want to become a splash artist for character profiles, but the lack of critiques and direction makes me stay in my comfort zone.

6:04 PM, Tuesday August 3rd 2021

So I'm admittedly a little confused. You submitted 4 pages of revisions, but mentioned that you sent two today, and would send two in a few days. While I'm going to regard the pages you did submit as the complete set of revisions, in the future if you have plans to do some now, and some later, you should submit them all at once, not in pieces. I do not give critiques piecemeal, because it significantly increases the amount of time I have to spend. Getting it all done and submitting it when complete, as per these instructions, is important in managing all of the critiques and revisions I have to manage on a daily basis.

I should also comment on the fact that you did come back with these revisions very quickly. While the drawings themselves are fine, and I do feel you're applying the points I raised in my critique, it is usually a red flag when a student is so quick to turnaround and complete the requested work. Under 14 hours passed between me posting my critique and you submitting your revisions. 14 hours seems like a lot of time, but in terms of going through the feedback, absorbing it, going through the previous feedback I referenced, looking at the diagrams provided, and really letting it all sink in - THEN going through the revisions, I think you need to revise your interpretation of "taking your time".

You mentioned that you felt posting your work early would save us both time (I suppose that explains why you split it into two sections), but your presumption there is wrong. When a student rushes to churn out work, they are doing so to save themselves time, at the expense of the one giving the feedback. The way this course works, with its very low fees for detailed feedback, the onus is on the student to invest as much time as they can to apply the information provided to the absolute best of their ability, so that the critiques themselves can be more streamlined. Keep that in mind as you move forwards.

The last thing I wanted to address before looking at your revisions, is about the 50% rule. You're definitely not alone in neglecting to follow that rule - plenty of students do, but it isn't an optional thing. It is a fundamental part of this course, and when students opt not to spend an amount of time equal to the time spent on courses (drawabox and whatever else) on drawing for the sake of drawing, they are not following this course as intended.

As mentioned back in Lesson 0, the excuse of "Well I don't know how to draw the things I want to draw" is a very common one - but it's also irrelevant. It equates the idea of not being able to draw something well, to have a good result in the end, to not being able to draw it at all. That's not what the 50% rule asks of you - it asks you to draw regardless of that end result, regardless of the fact that it doesn't come out the way you envision it.

If you want to learn more about drawing humans, that's fine - you'll find plenty of resources to that effect on Proko.com, and many students in our community also like Brent Eviston's Skillshare - but that is completely irrelevant to the purpose of the 50% rule we're discussing. It doesn't ask that you draw anything well - just that you draw the things you want to, and allow yourself to fail.

Technical skill will only get you so far. If you want to be able to become a splash artist as you say, or a working artist of any sort, you need to move beyond the self-consciousness that keeps you from just throwing yourself at a blank page and filling it up. Alongside the 50% rule, I also link to this video where I discuss overcoming the fear we often feel when looking at a blank page. Perhaps you haven't seen it - but if you have, you may benefit from watching it again.

Anyway, looking at your animal constructions in these additional pages, I can see that you're applying the points I raised effectively. You're building up your additional masses as their own independent forms, fully enclosed and with clear relationships defined in how they relate to the existing structure. For the rhinoceros, you're still struggling a little when it comes to observing your reference - although this definitely is a particularly tricky subject matter, so it's understandable. When we're faced with greater challenges, our willingness to observe consistently and continuously tends to go out the window first. You're demonstrating stronger observation in the deer.

As your work here is progressing nicely, I am going to go ahead and mark this lesson as complete. I certainly encourage you to take that break you mentioned, and you should still feel welcome to do more of these animal drawings for yourself, but you won't need to submit them to me.

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

Next Steps:

Move onto the 250 cylinder challenge - and make sure you adhere to the 50% rule from now on. As mentioned above, it is not optional.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
6:14 PM, Tuesday August 3rd 2021

Understood thanks

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