Hello Usednapkin, I'll be the teaching assistant handling your lesson 5 critique.

Starting with your organic intersections you're doing a good job of keeping your forms simple, and having them slump and sag over each other with a sense of gravity. You're pushing your shadows far enough to cast onto the form below, and they're being cast in a fairly consistent direction too, good work.

When you practise this exercise the future I'd like you to draw through all of your forms. Much like when we drew through our boxes earlier drawing through these organic forms will help us develop a better understanding of the 3D space we're attempting to create. It will help you get more out of this exercise by drawing every form in it’s entirety instead of allowing some of them to get cut off where they go behind another form.

Moving on to your animal constructions you're making good progress with taking actions in 3D and you're developing an understanding of how the forms you draw exist in 3D space and connect together with specific relationships. You show a great deal of progress through most of your set, nicely done.

There are a few spots where you're taking actions in 2D. For example here on this camel I highlighted the forms of the head and neck in green, and in blue where you enlarged the neck by adding a line, this does not really provide enough information for us to understand how that addition is meant to exist in 3D space.

For these exercises we always want to be thinking in 3D, in terms of whole forms with their own complete silhouettes. A disconnected line is infinitely thin, and is not 3D. I've highlighted a few of them in red here and in this image I've connected those single lines together to create new forms (or modify some of your existing forms).

Fortunately there are loads of places where you are clearly thinking in 3D and making use of additional forms to build on your basic structures.

One thing that helps with the shape here is to think about how the mass would behave when existing first in the void of empty space, on its own. It all comes down to the silhouette of the mass - here, with nothing else to touch it, our mass would exist like a soft ball of meat or clay, made up only of outward curves. A simple circle for a silhouette.

Then, as it presses against an existing structure, the silhouette starts to get more complex. It forms inward curves wherever it makes contact, responding directly to the forms that are present. The silhouette is never random, of course - always changing in response to clear, defined structure. You can see this demonstrated in this diagram.

So, I've made some edits to your camel here. I started by being a bit more generous with the shoulder and thigh masses. These masses are s simplification of some of the bulky muscles that allow the animal to walk, so don't be afraid to make them quite big. Having these structures in place is really useful when it comes to adding more masses later. I've wrapped the additional masses around the shoulders and thighs, as well as each other. The more interlocked they are, the more spatial relationships we define between the masses, the more solid and grounded everything appears. I broke the mass of the hump into more pieces, so that there is no complexity where those masses have nothing to press against, where they're exposed to the void, they stay simple. I also took the opportunity to redraw the 2D extension on the neck as forms.

I noticed that sometimes when you use additional masses that there are cases where you're using a lot of contour lines to try and make your masses feel more solid - unfortunately however, this is actually working against you. Those contour lines serve to help a particular mass feel 3D, but in isolation. With additional masses, our goal is actually to make the forms feel 3D by establishing how they wrap around and relate to the existing structure - that is something we achieve entirely through the design of their silhouette. While adding lines that don't contribute isn't the worst thing in the world, there is actually a more significant downside to using them in this way. They can convince us that we have something we can do to "fix" our additional masses after the fact, which in turn can cause us to put less time and focus into designing them in the first place (with the intent of "fixing" it later). So, I would actively avoid using additional contour lines in the future (though you may have noticed Uncomfortable use them in the intro video for this lesson, something that will be corrected once the overhaul of the demo material reaches this far into the course - you can think of these critiques as a sort of sneak-peak that official critique students get in the meantime).

The next area I need to talk about is leg construction. I am happy to see you making use of the sausage method of leg construction through most of your homework. On your hybrid you neglected to draw any shoulder mass and extended the front legs as partial shapes from the underside of the body, I've made some corrections on your work. Most of the time you do much better, although you're still a bit inconsistent with adding the contour curve for the intersection at the joints, as noted here. These little contour curves might seem insignificant but they do tell the viewer a lot of information about how the forms are orientated in space as well as reinforcing the structure of your legs by establishing how the forms connect together. So try to remember to include them in future.

I can see that you're working on using additional forms to build on the basic sausage structure of your legs. I'm seeing a bit of a tendency for you to fully enclose some of the joints with balls, as seen on the ankles of this impala While it seems obvious to take a bigger form and use it to envelop a section of the existing structure, it actually works better to break it into smaller pieces that can each have their own individual relationship with the underlying sausages defined, as shown here. This can also be applied in non-sausage situations, as shown here. he key is not to engulf an entire form all the way around - always provide somewhere that the form's silhouette is making contact with the structure, so you can define how that contact is made.

You're off to a good start in the use of additional masses along your leg structures, but this can be pushed farther. A lot of these focus primarily on forms that actually impact the silhouette of the overall leg, but there's value in exploring the forms that exist "internally" within that silhouette - like the missing puzzle piece that helps to further ground and define the ones that create the bumps along the silhouette's edge. Here is an example of what I mean, from another student's work - as you can see, Uncomfortable has blocked out masses along the leg there, and included the one fitting in between them all, even though it doesn't influence the silhouette. This way of thinking - about the inside of your structures, and fleshing out information that isn't just noticeable from one angle, but really exploring the construction in its entirety, will help you yet further push the value of these constructional exercises and puzzles.

As an extra added bonus these notes on foot construction should be useful.

The last thing I wanted to talk about is head construction. Lesson 5 has a lot of different strategies for constructing heads, between the various demos. Given how the course has developed, and how Uncomfortable is finding new, more effective ways for students to tackle certain problems. So not all the approaches shown are equal, but they do have their uses. As it stands, as explained at the top of the tiger demo page (here), the current approach that is the most generally useful, as well as the most meaningful in terms of these drawings all being exercises in spatial reasoning, is what you'll find here in this informal head demo.

There are a few key points to this approach:

1- The specific shape of the eye sockets - the specific pentagonal shape allows for a nice wedge in which the muzzle can fit in between the sockets, as well as a flat edge across which we can lay the forehead area.

2- This approach focuses heavily on everything fitting together - no arbitrary gaps or floating elements. This allows us to ensure all of the different pieces feel grounded against one another, like a three dimensional puzzle.

3- We have to be mindful of how the marks we make are cuts along the curving surface of the cranial ball - working in individual strokes like this (rather than, say, drawing the eye socket with an ellipse) helps a lot in reinforcing this idea of engaging with a 3D structure.

Try your best to employ this method when doing constructional drawing exercises using animals in the future, as closely as you can. Sometimes it seems like it's not a good fit for certain heads, but as shown in in this banana-headed rhino it can be adapted for a wide array of animals.

As a little head start, I've marked on your raccoon a couple of ways you could follow the informal head demo more closely.

I'll also share Uncomfortable’s camel head demo which follows the same method as the informal head demo, and should help you see how to take this constructional approach and compare it to the strategy you used for your own camel heads.

All right. There is a lot to think about there, but you've made a great deal of progress as you worked through the set and you have an excellent track record of applying the feedback you have received, so I'll leave you to apply this feedback independently. Of course if anything that has been said to you here, or previously, is unclear, you are welcome to ask questions. Feel free to move on to the 250 cylinder challenge, which is next. Best of luck, and happy holidays.