Lesson 4: Applying Construction to Insects and Arachnids

11:14 PM, Sunday August 2nd 2020

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11:41 PM, Monday August 3rd 2020

Starting with your organic forms with contour curves, these are largely looking pretty good, but watch out for how you shape the end of your sausages. Right now they're not quite circular/spherical as instructed here. They're somewhat more stretched out, which adds a little complexity and can undermine the illusion of their solidity a little bit.

Looking at your insect constructions, I think it's quite clear that you improve a fair bit over the course of this lesson. Your last one, the grasshopper, shows a stronger degree of spatial reasoning skill and general awareness of construction than many of the other drawings that precede it, which suggests a good deal of growth. There are however a number of strong qualities throughout the set - for example, how you handled the segmentation on both the silverfish and the moth (the moth's is especially impressive given how much harder it is to see in the reference image).

There are also some weaknesses - for example, with the silverfish there are matters of proportion that tend to get thrown out of whack. It seems like you perhaps jumped into drawing it a little too quickly, ending up with two key mistakes - you fused the thorax/head into a single section, and then made it quite a bit too large. You also made the legs skinnier than they needed to be. That said, you rolled with these punches reasonably well. I don't see much in the way of panicking, or trying to correct mistakes. Instead you accepted what you could not change and continued to push forwards with the construction as a whole, ultimately drawing something that looked different, but still maintained some element of believability. Still didn't turn out great, specifically around the thorax area, but it could have gone much worse had you not handled those mistakes as you did.

Funnily enough, I'm noticing you putting yourself in certain difficult situations that aren't actually all that necessary. For example, with the black widow (whose reference image I can only bear to look at for so long), the legs are again a fair bit thicker than you'd drawn them. Drawing those sausages to be quite so narrow is actually quite difficult, and so by drawing them narrower you not only broke from the reference but also made things more difficult on yourself.

Also I can't help but see... a smiley face on the black widow's head? Am I imagining things?

One thing I really do appreciate about your drawings is that you tend to show a lot of respect for the fact that construction is all about putting forms down in 3D space, and accepting that they're present. I don't see any circumstances where you try and cut back across the silhouette of a form you've already drawn, to change its shape as though it's not already there. You do a good job of building on top of your constructions, step by step.

All in all I'm relatively pleased with your results, but because of how much growth you've shown over the course of this lesson, with a lot of different levels of skill visible here, it's a little bit difficult to fully peg whether you understand the concepts you're employing fully, or whether they're a little more tenuous. As such, I'm going to ask for just two more insect drawings, to get a full gauge on where you are right at this moment. Assuming they turn out as well as the grasshopper, I'll mark the lesson as complete at that point.

Next Steps:

I'd like you to do just two more drawings to help me fully pin down what you do understand fully, and to identify anywhere there might be remaining gaps.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
8:45 PM, Tuesday August 4th 2020

about a smiley face, it made me laugh, haha

Here are two more drawings: https://imgur.com/a/WIVWy4t

I'm sorry for redoing my first drawing

3:48 PM, Thursday August 6th 2020

Looking at your last drawing, the one of the beetle, I do see a number of issues that come up:

  • You start out by drawing your major masses, which is fine, but you appear to do so with a purposely lighter stroke, as though you're trying to leave them as a sort of underdrawing, not entirely treating them as part of the "final drawing", instead trying to separate your drawing into two phases. This is similar to the point explained here back in the form intersections exercise.

  • You then go on to draw much more hesitant, even sketchier/scratchier lines with darker strokes, not approaching these the way you've been taught to execute all of your marks (using the ghosting method), but instead falling back on older habits.

  • Where your initial masses are at least drawn confidently, and so they feel more solid and three dimensional, this next pass feels more like flat shapes, due to the lack of confidence behind the marks. Where your initial submission for this lesson showed drawings which had much stronger relationships between the base forms and the forms that wrapped around them (like segmentation and such), these lack that sense of form.

  • Additionally, when building your legs, you start out properly with a sausage chain, which is good - but you then just wrap those sausages in entirely different forms that define no clear relationship with the underlying structure. Remember that we add bulk to our leg structures as shown here, wrapping forms around the sausages and clearly establishing how they relate to one another. If you just put a tube around a sausage, their relationship will be quite weak, since it's just one form floating loosely inside the other.

Overall I don't really think what you've done for these two drawings really reflects the best you're capable of. Given that you submitted the work less than 24 hours after receiving my critique, I don't really get the impression you took the time to really absorb the information in my critique, and may have been somewhat impatient when attempting to complete your revisions so you could move on more quickly.

I'd like you to do another two insect drawings, but beforehand, please take the time to not only go over what I've written here, but also take the time to let my initial critique sink in, and try and look at some of my demonstrations (including the informal demos here) to get a sense for how your approach differs from mine when drawing. Note especially how the marks I put down are always confident and purposeful - I don't try to hide anything, when I put a mark down I know it's going to be an important, contributing element in the drawing. I'm also always considering how my marks reflect the relationship between the form I'm drawing and the ones around it.

Also, I'd like you to follow a couple more restrictions:

  • Do each drawing on a separate day, so you're not inclined to rush through one to get to the next.

  • Don't include any detail or texture, focus entirely on construction alone.

Next Steps:

Two additional insect drawings.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
10:35 PM, Monday August 10th 2020
edited at 7:30 PM, Aug 11th 2020

Before drawing these two additional insect drawings i read your critique again for a few times and wrote out my mistakes and kept them in head when i drew, but i still see some of them in last drawings

Like bad proportions, skinny legs and scratchy marks when i'm trying to add line weight to the front forms so viewer can understand which form is closer

About scratchy marks: when i try to add line weight i fail a bit and try to mask it but it turns out even worse, so that's one more mistake

I understand that critique for all lessons takes a lot of your time and people like me take even more, I am ashamed of myself


edited at 7:30 PM, Aug 11th 2020
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