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9:14 PM, Friday August 19th 2022

Alrighty! So I do have a number of points in which I can provide some additional advice, to help you get the most out of this exercise going forward. The main points I want to touch upon fall under thee following categories:

  • The bar on the far left

  • Avoiding drawing things line by line, and the importance of understanding how each textural form sits in space

  • Using the nature of cast shadows to our advantage

Starting with the bar on the left, this is unfortunately a major point that you appear to have missed from the instructions. It is explained here in the instructions, as well as here amongst the listed common "mistakes".

In essence, the black bar serves an important purpose, and it exists paired with a solid white bar on the opposite side. This establishes the extremes between which we wish to create a smooth and seamless transition. What we're aiming to achieve is to obfuscate the edge of the black and white bars so that it is not clear where we move from a bar to the texture proper.

Across your attempts here, it seems you were not conscious of this requirement, and instead drew the black bars and beyond that, ignored them. As a result, we see sharp, sudden jumps from the edge of the bar into the texture, as seen here for example. Note how the example from the demo has no clearly distinguishable edge.

As each texture gradient is intended to go from 0% density (full white) to 100% density (full black), the example from your work that I linked above falls more in line with transitioning from 0% to 50% density, and then suddenly jumping to 100%.

Onto the next topic, I am noticing a number of cases where you appeared to be putting your marks down line by line. There are definitely other cases where you were working more noticeably with cast shadow shapes, but the fact that you jumped back and forth between them suggests that you may not fully understand what the marks themselves represent.

As explained throughout the texture section of Lesson 2, we are not drawing the textural forms themselves - we are drawing the shadows they cast on their surrounding surfaces. So for example, this example is pulled from number 25 where you were drawing snake skin. Up until around the halfway point, you were effectively drawing the outlines of each scale, until they were cut off by the next scale layered overtop. When you hit around that halfway point however, we can see that your approach and what it is you actually were drawing changed quite dramatically. Instead of outlining each and every scale, you ended up drawing the same C shape, but this time for random scales.

Now this particular case is actually directly addressed in this section (which I linked earlier in this feedback), but let's speak of it as though it wasn't, and instead go right back to the concept of implicit vs explicit markmaking. What you're doing here is specifically explicit markmaking. You're drawing the edges of the scales themselves. Even past the halfway point when you reduce the number of lines you're putting down, you're still explicitly drawing some scales with their partial outlines, and the result is that it feels more like the snake has gone somewhat bald here. That in drawing fewer scales, you're actually telling the viewer that there are physically fewer scales present.

That marks the distinction between working explicitly vs. working implicitly - when we work implicitly, which involves drawing the shadows those forms would cast, we can increase or reduce how much black is being added to the page without changing the nature of the texture being conveyed. We can see this in action on this example of bush viper scales.

Drawing a cast shadow involves working in a two-step process. First we outline the shadow, an act that involves actually thinking about how we want to design its specific shape. Remember - it is the shape of the shadow that conveys the relationship between the form casting it, and the surface receiving it, so the manner in which that shape is designed is very important.

Once designed, the second step is to simply fill it in. Breaking it down into two steps like this not only gives us the opportunity to purposefully and intentionally think about the relationship we're defining between the textural form and the surrounding surface, but it also helps us achieve more nuance to our lines as demonstrated here.

Now this is why it's extremely important to heed the specific reminders shared here in Lesson 2's texture section - I believe I also pointed you to them in response to your 25 wheel challenge work. They explain that what we're doing here is not simply transferring information directly from observation, taking what we see in our reference and drawing it on the page. This skips that integral step of using what we've observed to understand how each individual textural form sits in space, in relation to everything else around it.

To hammer the concept home, here's a demonstration that exemplifies the matter of observing the reference to understand the forms that are present, and how we apply that knowledge as we design our cast shadow shapes.

Working with cast shadows has some additional advantages for us to make use of as well. For example, if you take a look at this one from number 15, there you've got each of those masses casting shadows downwards (once the orientation of the page is corrected, anyway). Instead, if we actually consider the light source to be situated at the far right (where the white bar exists), everything suddenly starts to fall into place.

Not only does it explain why everything on that far right side of the gradient is blasted out (due to its proximity to the light source), it also shows why our cast shadows get more exaggerated the further left we go, moving away from the light source. I've illustrated this concept here (and there's an alternative version of this here in case it's easier to understand). The further away from the light source we move, the longer the shadows being cast will be, due to the changing of the relative angle of the light rays.

Now, before I mark this challenge as complete, I think it would be beneficial to assign some revisions so you can demonstrate your understanding of the points I've raised here. You'll find them assigned below.

Next Steps:

I'd like you to do an additional 6 texture analyses studies (so about 2 pages worth). Be sure to take your time in reviewing every diagram or section that I have linked to before starting the work.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
3:05 AM, Tuesday August 23rd 2022

Thanks for your critique Uncomfortable. I've tried to fix all those comments - hope i got it right now :)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1goKs-I93r0_LbcDgHAA5yiO1zzTrqPdo/view?usp=sharing

7:09 PM, Wednesday August 24th 2022

This is certainly an improvement, and I can see you thinking less about putting "random" marks down when you get into the sparse territory, instead thinking more about the relationships between your forms and the surfaces around them. I'm admittedly kind of unsure as to why the filled black bars look like this (with the white inside - perhaps you were saving ink, or your scanner didn't play well with the ink you'd used) but if we act like it was filled in solidly, then I can also see more attention being paid to creating a smoother gradient. This is heading very much in the right direction

One thing I did want to call out is that in number 4, you approached something very similar to one of the examples I'd called out in my feedback - specifically where I talked about the light source being at the far left. I pointed you to this one from your original set and noted how you had the shadows being cast downwards. If, in this new number 4, we were to have the light source at the far right, then the shadows should technically be cased downwards. You're doing that somewhat more than before, but it's more that the shadows are being cast diagonally, the further we push towards the left. Just seems like an oversight, and I wanted to draw your attention to it since it is something I did discuss previously.

Anyway! I'll go ahead and mark this challenge as complete. Keep up the good work.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
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