2 users agree
11:09 AM, Saturday June 13th 2020
edited at 11:12 AM, Jun 13th 2020

If you were to make one takeaway from my critique, it's that you should focus more on solid construction rather than texture. It is a good idea to take photos of your work before adding detail, so that it is easier for the reviewer to see the construction. There are numerous cases where you use your wrist to add wobbly outlines, as a 'cleanup pass.' You shouldn't be doing this, as it encourages complacency in construction and lowers the solidity of the forms. The reason you should use a single .5 fineliner for all of your lines (no matter if they are texture or construction lines) is to avoid this kind of thinking, and to give all aspects of the process equal weight.

Remember that in Drawabox, the primary objective is to learn constructional drawing, and you shouldn't be trying to create a finished product (though in many cases I find that a well-executed constructional drawing can look beautiful in it's own right). To reiterate - you seem to be using several fineliners with different lineweights, or else a drawing utensil that lets you greatly control the lineweight. Instead, stick to a single .4 to .6 mm fineliner throughout all of the drawing stage, and don't do a cleanup pass, instead adding lineweight using the confident, single-motion ghosting method.

For the legs, you apply the sausage method well in the majority of cases and they feel firm and organic. Not much to say there, other than that you make sure to apply the sausage method every time (you end up drawing complex shapes on the Cosmoderus femeralis and on a few legs on some of the insects). If you need to add additional forms to the legs, follow the recommendations Uncomfortable gives in the lesson intro - wrap the additional forms around the sausage, instead of drawing them in all at once.

Next up, there are also many cases where you seem to be trying to shade the drawings. Do not forget that in Drawabox, we stick with only drawing cast shadows to avoid visual clutter and work within the constraints of only having black and white tones. Since your construction is meant to give the drawing solidity, trying to add form shading to accomplish the same goal is redundant - instead, use the textures in order to create a basic feeling of what the surface would be like to touch. You do not need to go overboard with this, a few areas of higher detail and some subtle hints at texture in other places is enough. You can refresh your memory on what is expected in texture by reading these pages from Lesson 2: https://drawabox.com/lesson/2/2 and https://drawabox.com/lesson/2/textureanalysis.

One thing that can help you with everything I have mentioned so far is drawing bigger. Drawing bigger makes you naturally more inclined to use your major pivots (the shoulder and elbow) over the wrist, and also gives you a lot more room to put in texture without it getting cramped. To this end, it is also good to draw only one insect per page, as it gives you more space to work in and also makes it simpler to critique.

Otherwise, your construction seems quite good in many of these - you just need to spend a bit longer ghosting lines, and think more about the underlying form in some cases when adding contours (such as on the whip spider's abdomen, the atlas caterpillar and to a lesser extent the abdomens of your butterfly and praying mantis). You can do the organic forms + contour lines exercise as a warmup, which will help you with this. Also refer to this informal demo: https://drawabox.com/lesson/4/7/layeredsegmentation. I also recommend reading the rest of the informal demos, and possibly following along with some of them (such as the crab claw) before carrying on with my revision recommendations.

Next Steps:

Do three additional drawings, one per page, as big as you can fit, with two of them having no detail or texture whatsoever. On the last one, try to really analyse the texture and simplify it however you can. You can refer to this informal demo: https://drawabox.com/lesson/4/7/texture. Do not worry if the texture doesn't come out right, as it is less important than the constructional aspect of Drawabox and is difficult to learn to use well. After these three pages are finished, put them in a reply to this comment and I will take a look at them.

Don't forget that you can be doing the 25 textures challenge at the same time as the other lessons, which may help with learning to simplify and organize what you see.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
edited at 11:12 AM, Jun 13th 2020
10:01 AM, Wednesday June 17th 2020


First of all I wanted to thank you very much for this critique, which I felt was very accurate and thourough. SO, thank you :).

Here I've done the assignment you gave me. I have tried to draw as big as possible, but it would appear that It is still a habit that I need to learn. I also had to refrain from going to heavyhanded with the textures, and I will be doing the texture challenge as you suggested.

Anyways, there is one thing where i have encountered a problem : all of the Drawabox exercices I have done were made using exclusively a Staedtler pigment liner 0.5, which I believe is the pen you suggested that I use. I might have been not using it properly. These last three pages were done with another pen (still 0.5 ink).

Thanks again and have a nice day !

8:06 PM, Wednesday June 17th 2020
edited at 8:10 AM, Jun 23rd 2020

Looks good! You've put the advice I gave you to good use. Overall, your grasp of spacing is great - the scales on the back of the Camel spider, for example, are really well done and follow the shape well while not becoming distorted. You clearly take the time to plan things out, which is good.

One thing that could help make the drawings more grounded is to implement simple shadow outlines for insects which are on the ground, as Uncomfortable suggests in the lesson pages. This not only increases the perceived solidity of the forms when executed well, but also helps you grasp the drawing you have made in the full three dimensions, as drawing the shadow challenges you to estimate how the 3-dimensional object will cast a flat shadow onto the ground. This is sometimes difficult, especially with really complex forms, but is worthwhile for the benefits it can give.

Something that you could pay more attention to is the contour lines going around the forms - think about how the degree of the contours should change depending on which angle they are being looked at from. Something like this example (https://drawabox.com/lesson/2/5/degree), but keeping in mind that the degree of the contour lines will keep on getting wider and wider as they get further out from the center of vision. The main situation where I see this slip up is on the cricket, as you draw the contour lines on it's 'tail' in the opposite direction of the ones on it's abdomen. This makes little sense in terms of perspective. Also think about what the contours suggest about the form of the object they are describing; on the bottom section of the cricket's abdomen, the contours start going in the opposite direction from the ones on top, and don't feel like they wrap around the form convincingly. Contour curves can describe complex surfaces, but in those cases you have to make sure that they are explicitly passing on the information you need them to, rather than confusing the viewer. Sometimes it can be a good idea to simplify the contour curves, even if they are different in the reference.

Besides that, everything seems pretty good to me. Make sure you're not forgetting to add the small contour curves in the intersections between leg sausages, and good luck with lesson 5!

Next Steps:

Carry on with lesson 5, keeping in mind the critique I gave here.

This community member feels the lesson should be marked as complete, and 2 others agree. The student has earned their completion badge for this lesson and should feel confident in moving onto the next lesson.
edited at 8:10 AM, Jun 23rd 2020
9:11 AM, Saturday June 20th 2020

Thank you very much!

That cricket abdomen made me scratch my head quite a bit. I'll keep your advices in mind for the next lesson.

Have a nice day !

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