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9:28 AM, Tuesday February 23rd 2021

Going through your work, while there are issues that we'll address, I am overall seeing quite a bit of growth and improvement - specifically in terms of understanding how the forms in your constructions interact with one another. Strangely enough, assuming that your work is arranged in chronological order, it actually seems like you kind of jump back and forth between establishing how your additional masses relate to one another, and how they wrap around the existing structure well, and somewhat less so. While overall I do think your grasp of this has improved over the set, I suspect that by explaining the principles behind how this works, we'll be able to solidify your grasp of how to use it in the future.

Looking at a lot of the major masses along this (coyote?)'s torso, you've done a great job of wrapping a lot of them along that core structure in a manner that really sells the idea that they're interacting in 3D space. The additional forms feel more three dimensional for it, and so the whole structure feels more real.

Conversely, if we look at this bear, the masses along its back have silhouettes that are considerably more random. The complexity they feature appears not to exactly respond to the forms it's touching, and instead that complexity seems arbitrary - resulting in those additional masses reading more as flat shapes that have been pasted on top, rather than solid 3D forms that have been wrapped around to provide bulk to this object in the world.

It's easiest to think about these additional masses by looking at how they exist, like a soft ball of meat or clay, floating in the void. Here the form's silhouette would be in its simplest state, consisting only of outward curves. As soon as we press it up against another structure however, we start to encounter more complexity along the side that makes contact. Here we get inward curves, and corners forming, in direct response to the contact being made. You can see this demonstrated in this diagram.

What this essentially mean is that the different curves of our silhouettes are not arbitrary, and they're not to be guessed at. They are in direct response to the forms that are already present in our existing structure. Moreover, when we add a mass to the structure, it becomes part of that existing structure - and so anything that follows may need to consider how it's going to wrap around that previous form too.

This idea of having the additional masses specifically respond to clear, defined forms and structure in its silhouette applies across the board. It's often easier to consider this with larger forms, but the smaller ones at the joints of our legs can get a little sloppy. So while the coyote was quite well done, here are areas where it can be improved. I also pointed out areas where you forgot to reinforce the joints between your sausages with contour lines, as per the sausage method's steps.

Moving forward, another point I really want to stress is the importance of drawing bigger. Before you worry about filling up your pages with as many drawings as you can, make sure you're first and foremost giving each drawing as much room as it requires. If that means you can't fit another drawing on there, that's okay. Once you're done you can assess whether another one will fit - if it will, go ahead and add it - but otherwise just leave it be. Drawing big helps us engage our whole arm while drawing, and also makes better use of our brain's spatial reasoning skills. It's easier to develop comfort with these things at a larger scale, than a smaller one where we're more prone to drawing clumsily. I definitely feel this will help you push your drawings further - all the pieces are there, but there is a sense that you're limiting yourself by drawing so much smaller than you could.

One thing I often pay close attention to in students' work is how they approach head construction. Here yours appears to be pretty solid - you're approaching the heads as 3D puzzles, aware of how the pieces all fit together to create a cohesive, solid structure. I'm glad that it appears you've already gone over this explanation - students sometimes miss it. It will inevitably become part of the core material, once I'm finished making my way through revising the video content all the way from Lesson 1.

Lastly, a simple point that I think you heed already for the most part, but that seems to have received less attention when drawing your bears: observation. Observation is incredibly critical, as it helps us inform our choices of which forms to add and where. While construction allows us to determine how those forms will ultimately interact with one another, we need to be aware of our source material, and the decisions they lay at our feet.

You definitely show strong observational skills throughout many of these studies, but the bears definitely fall short in this area.

Anyway, all in all your work really is well done, and you should be proud of your results. I'll go ahead and mark this lesson as complete.

Next Steps:

Feel free to move onto the 250 cylinder challenge, which is a prerequisite for lesson 6.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
6:04 PM, Tuesday February 23rd 2021
edited at 6:05 PM, Feb 23rd 2021

The bears were supposed to be pandas :). I definitely agree that the masses I've attempted to add were too "slim". I think the reason for that was because I perceived those areas as not having much mass in the first place (since all of it drips down to the belly and hips).

Maybe you could give me an example of how you would have constructed the sitting baby panda (without fur)? My issue was that i wanted to even out its back. I've updated my submission with the reference photos.

edited at 6:05 PM, Feb 23rd 2021
9:12 PM, Thursday February 25th 2021

I've got a ton of critiques to do today, so I was only able to throw together a pretty quick breakdown construction here. One recommendation I do have for you though is to be a bit more careful with your choice in reference images. That black fur all blends together, making it a lot harder to discern different parts of the body. It does get easier to tell things apart as your skills improve and you learn what to look for, but earlier on it will make things needlessly more challenging.

7:20 PM, Friday February 26th 2021

Thank you!

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I'd been drawing as a hobby for a solid 10 years at least before I finally had the concept of composition explained to me by a friend.

Unlike the spatial reasoning we delve into here, where it's all about understanding the relationships between things in three dimensions, composition is all about understanding what you're drawing as it exists in two dimensions. It's about the silhouettes that are used to represent objects, without concern for what those objects are. It's all just shapes, how those shapes balance against one another, and how their arrangement encourages the viewer's eye to follow a specific path. When it comes to illustration, composition is extremely important, and coming to understand it fundamentally changed how I approached my own work.

Marcos Mateu-Mestre's Framed Ink is among the best books out there on explaining composition, and how to think through the way in which you lay out your work.

Illustration is, at its core, storytelling, and understanding composition will arm you with the tools you'll need to tell stories that occur across a span of time, within the confines of a single frame.

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