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3:52 AM, Friday January 29th 2021

Starting with the organic forms with contour lines, for the most part these are looking quite good, with two things to keep an eye on:

  • You're mostly sticking to the characteristics of simple sausages, but you do deviate in small ways. Ends that aren't quite the same size, midsections that swell a little bit, etc. Definitely go back into the instructions for this one and refresh your memory on what simple sausages are.

  • Your accuracy is definitely getting there, although keep working at it. The key to accuracy isn't to draw more carefully (as you appear to be doing in your contour curves, which makes them a little more hesitant). It's to apply the steps of the ghosting method - investing your time into the planning and preparation, prior to a confident, hesitation-free execution.

Moving onto your insect constructions, your work here is by and large quite well done. There are a few things I want to draw your attention to in order to keep you on the right track, but I do feel that your constructions demonstrate a solid grasp of how each one is built up from simple forms, in successive phases, and how those forms can be combined to achieve greater overall complexity, even if the individual elements still maintain a relative level of simplicity.

The first thing I want to mention is that in a number of your drawings, I'm seeing your drawings built up in two phases - an 'underdrawing' which is visibly lighter and less committed, and darker 'cleanup' lines where you go back over the lines you want to commit to with a darker stroke. I want you to avoid this process in this course. Every mark you put down should be committed, every form you place in the world should be respected as being solid and present. While you're not functionally falling into any of the traps of this kind of underdrawing/cleanup pass approach (often it encourages students to draw their underdrawing more sloppily, or their cleanup pass more carefully and hesitantly, tracing over marks and focusing too much on how they're following lines as they sit on the page instead of in 3D space), it's still not an approach I want to be used in this course. Being forced to commit to your marks from the get-go is an important part of the lessons we're learning here.

That isn't to say you shouldn't still be building up your construction - just that each mark should be dark and solid, as you'll see mine are in my demonstrations.

Next, I noticed that you seem to have employed a lot of different strategies for capturing the legs of your insects. It's not uncommon for students to be aware of the sausage method as introduced here, but to decide that the legs they're looking at don't actually seem to look like a chain of sausages, so they use some other strategy. The key to keep in mind here is that the sausage method is not about capturing the legs precisely as they are - it is about laying in a base structure or armature that captures both the solidity and the gestural flow of a limb in equal measure, where the majority of other techniques lean too far to one side, either looking solid and stiff or gestural but flat. Once in place, we can then build on top of this base structure with more additional forms as shown here, here, this ant leg, and even here in the context of a dog's leg (because this technique is still to be used throughout the next lesson as well). Just make sure you start out with the sausages, precisely as the steps are laid out in that diagram - don't throw the technique out just because it doesn't immediately look like what you're trying to construct.

Lastly - and this is a fairly minor point - try to reserve your filled areas of solid black for cast shadows only. That would include areas where large constructed forms cast shadows on other surfaces, and where smaller textural forms cast shadows on surrounding surfaces. "Filled areas of solid black" includes where you may have employed hatching to fill an area in - although for these you should also be using solid black rather than hatching as you've done here. In the case of any patterns or local colour of a given surface, ignore it. Even if it's black or dark, treat everything like it's the same solid white.

What we're doing in this course can be broken into two distinct sections - construction and texture - and they both focus on the same concept. With construction we're communicating to the viewer what they need to know to understand how they might manipulate this object with their hands, were it in front of them. With texture, we're communicating to the viewer what they need to know to understand what it'd feel like to run their fingers over the object's various surfaces. Both of these focus on communicating three dimensional information. Both sections have specific jobs to accomplish, and none of it has to do with making the drawing look nice. We're focusing primarily on the kind of information that we can feel with our fingers, rather than the things we'll see with our eyes.

So! With that, I'll go ahead and mark this lesson as complete. Keep up the good work.

Next Steps:

Move onto lesson 5.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
1:32 AM, Saturday January 30th 2021

Ack'd, thanks very much for the feedback, will keep in mind for next lesson.

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How to Draw by Scott Robertson

How to Draw by Scott Robertson

When it comes to technical drawing, there's no one better than Scott Robertson. I regularly use this book as a reference when eyeballing my perspective just won't cut it anymore. Need to figure out exactly how to rotate an object in 3D space? How to project a shape in perspective? Look no further.

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