3:17 AM, Friday February 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 Is that also outdated or should I use both of them always?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