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3:17 AM, Friday February 18th 2022
edited at 3:21 AM, Feb 18th 2022

Hi! Glad I could be of help. Regarding your questions:

I also assume the correct answer would be to just build them up from the cranium, however that requires 2 very accurate long curves.

Yeah, that's the idea. You would make a cranium and then add up the two forms on it (that comes back hard on Lesson 5). I'd handle it like this. Keep in mind that I made the lines with Paint, so your version should accelerate more the lines as they go around the sphere, following its surface.

About the accuracy, remember that it's not about that, our insects don't have to look exactly like the picture. But a good way of improving that is to establish the distance your hand has to reach with little dots, as we did on the boxes. That way, when you make those curves, you have some points of reference. Don't forget to ghost your lines as well.

Been a while since I've read the lesson, but if I remember correctly it was said that "we should use natural contour curves instead of forced ones where it's possible" (for example shells). Is that also outdated or should I use both of them always? Btw regardless of your answer, I do see a lot of areas where I should have used them, like the back of the ant for example.

That's right, but my criticism was pointed towards your basic construction, that's the cranium, thorax and abdomen, those usually lack the contour curves we worked on. You don't have to overdo them, but is a good thing to make those contour lines at the beginning, that way our brain can remember that those are indeed solid, 3D forms, and so, as you build your masses, shells, etc, you can react to the way those forms interact with your base construction.

Like on the louse, you can see that those little lines that align the forms help to define the 3D feel, as well as drawing the intersections between head, thorax and abdomen. Take a look at this for a little reminder.

Of course, we should take advantage of every natural contour curve present in our reference, and don't forget that less is more in these things. A line or two usually do the job just fine.

What should we do with the contour curve if we're looking at the insect from perfect side view? I remember that being the question in my head when I was constructing that one, I didn't see it mentioned anywhere.

Here's an example of the necessity of the contour lines on the basic construction. If you notice, the line that you made ends just where the edge of your original construction ends. Maybe it's just a mistake, and it was a line of the shell that got too far, but since you didn't have any reinforcement on the illusion of 3D form for those underlying shapes, that straight line flattens everything instantly. It's like thepaper example on Lesson 2. Again, my lines are from Paint, yours should accelerate a lot more when approaching the edges.

So, even if you're looking at the insect from a perfect side view, our underlying construction is still an elongated sphere, and so, we can imagine that contour line going over it and following it's curvature just as we would with any point of view.

Something like this (sorry for the stupid cut). I didn't draw any alignment line, because we're looking at the bug from a perfect side view, however, since our basic forms are semi-spherical, we can see those contour lines from any point of view. The blue lines are the intersections, and that more or less would cement the sensation that those are solid, three dimensional forms. With better lines, of course.

And finally, I think that the 0.5 thing is so that we learn to give more relevance to lines just by using lineweight. If we used thinner pens, we wouldn't work on our lineweight at all, and would lose a lot of valuable work on things such as accuracy and the ability of discern what lines go above others in situations like these. I think it's that, you can ask other people too to know their opinions :P

Anyway, that's it! Hope it helps you

edited at 3:21 AM, Feb 18th 2022
12:12 PM, Saturday February 19th 2022

Wow, in my head I imagined the ant cranium sphere being much larger, but that large sphere would only make everything harder. Thanks for all the answers.

Here are my revisions.

Notes:

I know the top sausage curves are a bit too same-y. In the top right sausage, I intentionally made the middle contour curve flatter since I wanted to make the sausage go like this: facing us -> facing away from us -> facing us again. Same with the bottom left sausage. Not saying I succeeded, just explaining my thought process. I tried to copy what Uncomfortable did in this vid (7:47), but now that I look at it again this pattern might just have been an inconsistency. I probably overcomplicated it.

I failed the cast shadow of the first insect. Adding contour curves on the tiny bumps on the back might have been a mistake, but without them the shapes looked flat (I hope they aren't considered detail). Thoughts? I also had trouble representing the bottom part of the abdomen in a 3D way, so I just added a contour curve.

Same on the second insect, the (shell?) had no natural contour curves so I added mine to describe the form. The two circles in the front are probably overkill.

Feel free to assign me additional exercises if you think it's necessary. Also, don't hold back on pointing out repeated mistakes.

4:36 PM, Saturday February 19th 2022

Hi! Overall, everything looks way better than it did before. On the sausages, the idea of turning the ellipses is fine, but what plays against you is that there are too many curves. A lot of times, you can say the same with less curves. Watch out for the flow on your curves too, I know that's a difficult balance to maintain, accuracy vs confidence, but you'll get there.

On the first insect: yeah, the cast shadow failed, but if you were to fill it with black, you could fix it, so no big deal. The contour on the bumps is a good idea, but it works better on the abdomen; on the thorax, they're so little that just making the form like does the job.

I would've tackled those forms differently, especially the top one: like a soft mass that engulfs the shell (trying to replicate the linked forms present in the reference) instead of a "hard" one that just sticks out of it, but the important thing is that yours still read as a three dimensional form, so good job nonetheless.

What you did on the belly is fine, you broke it down into those plates, and they follow the contour of the form they're placed upon, so great.

There are a couple of things more on that first insect. On the front legs, you have some forms missing that are present in the back legs too, but there you just broke the silhouette instead of building forms on top of the sausage. It looks fine from an aesthetic point of view, but is a wasted opportunity to work more on construction.

The point in which the front leg joins with the thorax is also weird. The way it's drawn suggest that it is just a subdivision of the shell, but looking at the reference, it is it's own separate form. That would be the coxa, I think. The way I usually work with those forms, is by making a sphere/sausage hybrid that connects the rest of the leg with the body, and then adding forms on top of it. Something like this, but you know, more accurate.

The eye is fine, but it could be better with softer edges, like, those corners are less angular, in the end, it's still a sphere. There's no need to draw the entire thing, but try to follow the surface the same way as you would with any other form.

Onto the second insect. The contour line on the shell is great, that's the thing, we make lines when we need to reinforce the 3D illusion. We should take advantage of the natural contour lines, but if there are none, then we make our own.

You're right, the two circles at the front are overkill, with just the little one it's understood that those are different masses, and how they intersect. The big one could've worked, but the little one also reinforces the feeling of the whole shell as a single form.

That being said, I'd like to suggest an alternative that, I feel, can work better. We divide the shell between the horn, the upper thorax and the lower thorax and abdomen. I feel that this can work better, because there are planes on the thorax section that we're not fully accounting for in your drawing. You'll notice that it's not a big stretch, just a couple of extra lines. And maybe we can reinforce the horn with contour lines similar to those of a cactus in Lesson 3, to really drive home the fact that there are different planes to it.

Something like this

If you notice, I added a bit of shell on the belly, a section you didn't really consider that much. I treated the contour lines on the shell in the same way as the horn, suggesting the existence of a line that divides the planes on the body. And I cheated, because, if you notice, there are a lot of little masses on the bottom that I didn't account for (you did it better than me). That's more of a problem with the picture really, if you zoom in, you can't really see what's happening there clearly. Try to work with HD pictures, or as big as you can.

And of course, that's just an alternative; your drawing felt solid and three dimensional enough, I just wanted to try a different path, to see if we could make it more accurate.

Beyond that, your eye has a similar problem to the first insect: if you look really close, you can see that it isn't really a circle, it has a couple of corners that define how it is placed in relation with the rest of forms. The legs look a lot better; an intersection on the place where they join the body would've helped even more.

Finally, it would be great that you could use a bit more lineweight, especially on the legs. Don't go overboard with it, but those sections need more clarity to distinguish which forms are on top of which.

As you can see, they're all minor corrections; you clearly have grasped the concepts of Lesson 4. And so, I recommend that you move on to Lesson 5 :) Well done!

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10:15 PM, Sunday February 20th 2022

I feel silly saying thank you after every comment, but you really helped me a lot (especially the diagrams). I'll be returning to this comment when I eventually have trouble in future lessons. The contour lines indicating hard plane changes is my favorite critique! I remember when that was said in the lessons, but I forgot to apply it (also I failed to observe the different planes in the reference).

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