2:56 PM, Friday October 15th 2021
Starting with your form intersections, for the most part your work is looking good, though I have marked out a few things to keep in mind here directly on your work. Also, if you find your ellipses tend to come out unevenly, or that you're struggling to get the 2 passes to line up correctly, a common cause is accidentally slipping back to drawing from the elbow (or even the wrist).
Jumping ahead to your vehicle constructions, you're honestly doing really quite well here. I can see a great deal of patience and care going into each construction, specifically in how carefully and mindfully you apply your subdivisions to pin down every little element with specificity, rather than relying on approximation and eyeballing. There are some drawings - specifically the cars and the VW bus - where there's a little more eyeballing and guesswork (specifically with little elements ending up protruding from the original bounding box) but they're still fairly well executed and end up with a reasonably solid result.
The mustang in particular came out with a lot of character, and you did an excellent job there of balancing both the solidity and believability of the structure while exaggerating all of the things that really make a mustang, a mustang. I wouldn't say it's entirely realistic in the sense that the real world is a bit more subtle, but I might even go as far as saying it looks better than real (which when it comes to stylization, is really the long-term goal well beyond this course).
I'm also, admittedly, kind of glad that while you did play with the kind of arbitrary blotchy black shapes used in the camaro demo in the VW bus, you definitely realized that they're kind of a crapshoot pretty quickly. As much as I feel the camaro demo is still valuable to students, that stylistic touch was a bad call on my part, and in a lot of ways deviates from what I really want to be focusing on here. Fortunately I'm gradually working through overhauling all of the video demos in the course, starting from Lesson 1, so I'll be able to replace it before too long.
To that point, when it comes to the drawings we're doing here - specifically considering the strict use of rich dark lines and stark black/white - there are some rules that we can try to follow to yield results that communicate as effectively and clearly to the viewer. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Try to reserve those filled black shapes for cast shadows only. There are a few exceptions to this which I'll touch on in a moment, but basically when the viewer sees a filled black shape their brain is going to try to automatically interpret it as a cast shadow. It's only once they realize that it's not a cast shadow that they then try to figure out what it really is meant to represent, but by that time we've already kind of lost them.
Avoid just filling in spaces that already exist in your drawing - a cast shadow will generally exist as its own independent shape that has to be designed, defining the relationship in space between a form and the surfaces around it. So for example, in this tractor, you filled in the area between those two front wheels, effectively taking a shape that was already designed in the 2D drawing, and filling it in.
There are some exceptions for this however - for example, you've "filled in" the interior section of the mustang. That is technically a very similar situation, but there are two reasons it's okay. For one, being that it's this closed off interior, we can assume that the shadows are being cast such that they just cover all of those interior surfaces. Technically not true, but it's one of those "good enough" excuses. The second reason is that in strategically flattening out that interior, we make the exterior pop more, and avoid too much visual complexity. This creates a greater sense of balance from a compositional sense - though that definitely goes outside of the scope of this course, and is something we'll employ more strategically.
Honestly, those are primarily stylistic issues that are only relevant because of the tools we're using here, When it comes down to the construction itself, you're knocking it out of the park. There's just one more thing I want to warn you against, and it has to do with the use of line weight. I noticed that, especially in the earlier drawings, although it was also present in this tractor, you're pretty aggressive with where you're putting down line weight, and how much. It seems like you're reaching for a different pen to make it extra thick, and you also have a tendency to have line weight run along the silhouette of the object as a whole, jumping from one form to another. This actually risks flattening out our construction.
There are a couple things to keep in mind in regards to this:
Firstly, line weight isn't one of those tools that you're meant to apply super aggressively. Even in these instructions I warn against switching pens. Reason being, when line weight gets too thick, it leans more into creating "graphic" shapes (meaning shapes that exist on the flat space of the page. Line weight instead is really meant to be subtle, like a whisper to the viewer's subconscious that helps clarify the way in which specific forms and structures overlap one another.
For that same reason - that is, the use of line weight being to define how things overlap - when we have the same application of line weight jump from one form's silhouette to another, kind of "enveloping" the whole construction, then it simplifies everything down into flatter shapes. Instead, you want to focus that use of line weight specifically where overlaps occur, as shown here with these two overlapping leaves. Ultimately it's something that can be used with a fairly light touch, in strategic places, to really make a construction pop and to help clarify what the viewer is looking at.
Anyway! All in all your work is still coming along great, and again, these are largely stylistic issues, not things that suggest any weakness in your spatial reasoning skills. So as far as I'm concerned, you've done a great job, and you may consider this lesson - and the course along with it - as complete. Congratulations!