Lesson 4: Applying Construction to Insects and Arachnids

12:39 AM, Thursday January 21st 2021

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I found creating the structure and then wrapping form around it difficult at first. But then I started seeing the simple forms of an insect better the more I practiced. What made me things more challenging is when an appendage was blocking the view of the rest of an insect's body. I know I definitely also need work on adding texture and shadow, though that wasn't the point of the homework.

Anyhow, this was fun! Haha I didn't mind drawing insects at all. Appreciate all the feedback!

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11:56 PM, Thursday January 21st 2021

Starting with your organic forms with contour lines, overall you've done a pretty good job of sticking to the characteristics of simple sausages as mentioned in the instructions. There are a couple that break away a little bit, but all in all you're clearly focusing on the right goal. For the contour curves themselves, you're doing alright, but the biggest thing I noticed was that you're drawing contour curves with the same degree throughout the full length of the sausage. Don't forget that as we slide away from or towards the viewer, and as the sausage form turns in space, the degree of the contour curves themselves will change corresponding to how their orientation relates to the direction the viewer is facing. Here you appear to be keeping most of the contour lines consistent in their degree, which gives them a bit of stiffness.

Moving onto your insect constructions, as a whole you're doing a pretty fantastic job. You're clearly showing a great deal of respect for how each insect is built up from solid, simple structures, gradually building up one piece at a time to maintain that solidity while gradually working towards more overall complexity. That complexity is never added all at once - it's something you work towards, only ever adding forms that themselves are simple. You're showing an excellent understanding of how your forms sit in 3D space, and how they relate to one another within it, as well.

What I've said above stands for most constructions, but there are a few key areas where you slip up, resulting in aspects of certain drawings that read as being more flat. One key cause of this kind of issue is where we lay down a solid, three dimensional form, and then give into the temptation to alter the silhouette of that form.

Ultimately everything we draw on the page is two dimensional. When we draw a 3D form, it is yet again a 2D shape, but it represents this form existing in an imaginary 3D world. What exists on the page is however connected to the form it represents, but when we attempt to change that silhouette, we do not alter the 3D form - we merely break the connection between them, leaving us with a drawing that now reads as being flat.

So the key is to avoid either redrawing, extending, or cutting into a form once you've laid it on the page. If we look at this one, we can see where you started with a stretched ball, which itself was quite solid, but then because it didn't match the reference you were following, you cut back across it and continued on from there. Here's an explanation as to why this isn't a good way to interact with a constructed form. As shown there, there is a "right" way to do this, but it is generally better suited to geometric or hard-surface construction, and doesn't work well for organic subject matter.

Instead, when dealing with organics, it's best to work strictly additively, building things up from smaller points, as you have done for most of your constructions. If we run into a situation where we've deviated from our reference, all we can do is accept it. Our priority isn't to copy our reference perfectly, rather it's to use the information contained within the reference to create a solid, believable structure.

Another area I noticed this kind of similar problem was in this drawing, where you built up structure along the underside of the insect (near where the thorax meets the abdomen). These were not drawn as solid forms, but rather as shapes that were added. Every addition we make should define a solid, three dimensional structure that is fully complete and enclosed. You can see some examples of this in this beetle horn demo, in this ant head demo, and in this more recent lobster demonstration which contains lots of very explicit additive construction.

The only other thing I wanted to mention was that your leg constructions tend to remain pretty simple - in most cases, you build out the basic leg armature, but there is likely a lot more complexity in your reference image that is not being captured. In some cases you do delve into a little more complexity, but honestly the technique shown in the wasp demo is one that I'm meaning to replace as I work back through the lessons to update all of the video content. Instead, building up on that structure is better done as shown here and here.

When it comes to pushing your leg constructions farther, you can see here with this ant leg demo and even here with this dog leg construction how much farther these things can go. As this technique will be used plenty throughout the next lesson, you'll have lots of opportunities to play with it there.

Aside from that, your work is looking good. I'll go ahead and mark this lesson as complete.

Next Steps:

Feel free to move onto lesson 5.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
9:28 AM, Monday January 25th 2021

Thank you for your time in giving me feedback! I'll practice on what you left here for a little bit before moving on. Honestly I don't know why I'm having a hard time with varying the degrees on the ellipses...but I guess just drawing those more will help out.

Thanks again!

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