View Full Submission View Parent Comment
9:27 AM, Monday June 5th 2023

Hello Drego,

You'll find the answer to your question here in lesson 1. Wherever you want to draw a smooth flowing line, including sausage forms and additional masses, you should be engaging your whole arm. For textural details you can draw from your wrist.

I'd like you to carefully read this section about the path of least resistance. If you've taken a 6 month break from Drawabox, and been drawing from your wrist the whole time, it is going to feel pretty rough switching back to drawing from your shoulder. Just because it is difficult does not mean you should avoid it. Be patient with yourself, make sure you're doing your warmups (and including exercises you find challenging in your warmups). Remember drawing large (making full use of the space on the page) will make it easier to engage your whole arm, and as always make full use of the ghosting method for every line.

2:00 AM, Tuesday June 6th 2023

thank you for your answer and i had another question about the additional muscle masses. how do i know when to use sharp edges and when to use soft ones like in this example? i never really understood this from the start.

2:35 PM, Wednesday June 7th 2023

Hello Drego,

The behaviour of additional masses is shown in this diagram. By virtue of the inward curve we get from the contact of one mass wrapping around another, it tends to create a pointed end. But if you just try and pull that out of the context of what's causing that taper, you're going to end up applying it blindly as a formula, rather than focusing on the interaction between the forms in question.


  • We need to define how the additional mass interacts with the underlying structures in 3D space. As shown here if we draw additional masses as blobs this doesn't provide a clear relationship between the two forms.

  • We also need to remember that complexity in additional masses must occur as a result of contact with the underlying structures. That means no inward curves, wobbles or sharp corners where the mass is exposed to fresh air and there is nothing present in the construction to press against it.

  • For the specific example you've singled out in the donkey demo, I think this comes down to the angle at which we're viewing the torso sausage. Remember the silhouette of these 3D forms will vary depending on their orientation in space. As shown in these diagrams If we look directly at the side of the torso sausage the additional mass tends to look pointy at both ends. However with the torso sausage in the donkey demo, the left end faces more towards the viewer (with the right end facing away) as indicated by the ellipse for the base of the neck. So, if we rotate this arrangement of forms in space, what was a pointy end toward the rump is now being overlapped by the volume of the additional mass, and the silhouette changes. We do however still get a specific change of direction where the additional mass meets the torso sausage back there.

I know that you're reviewing the lesson material and information in this critique, but your question gives me the impression that perhaps you may have forgotten about some rather extensive feedback I provided for you, including information on additional masses, back in January. I'll paste it in here so it is easier for you to find in future.

Your core construction is good and I'm happy to see you drawing complete forms for your legs and remembering the contours for the intersections at the joints, good work. Keep working on having those sausage forms stay simple- like the organic forms exercise from lesson 2, some are good, some have uneven ends. Remember to take your time planning and ghosting them too, the front legs have rather different thicknesses, suggesting you may not be fully in control of the forms you're drawing.

Mostly I want to talk about additional masses. I can see you've been quite mindful about how you design some of them. I thought the cheek mass showed a lot of thought and care. Your mass is following the side plane of the box you drew for the muzzle, then when it reaches the cranial ball it changes direction and curves around that ball. It's pretty well done.

There are some other masses where you're avoiding thinking about designing their silhouette by just keeping it soft and rounded all the way around. As shown in this diagram this does not explain how your new form connects to the underlying structure in 3D space. I've highlighted a couple of blobby bits, as well as some really nice wrapping around the thigh, here. In future I think it will help you to avoid drawing your additional masses with one continuous line. There will be corners, and whenever you reach a corner, lift your pen and start a new stroke (going through the planning and ghosting process for each one) this will help you to avoid drawing blobs.

On the same image I noted a mass on the back leg where I suspect that you didn't understand how the mass should behave so you just drew something. You have drawn something there, but if I had to guess, I'd say you weren't sure what to focus on, or what should be considered when making that decision, and so you just drew an arbitrary line.

If that's not the case - if you based that line on something specific, then I would certainly like to know what it was, but I do suspect that I'm right. It happens often - when we're faced with something we don't grasp, that our brain refuses to contend with, it shuts down and we just put something down. But that's not a useful response. Sure, it gets the thing done, but it's not a conscious decision or choice being made.

Instead, when you run into this kind of a situation, do not put down a mark. Take a step back, and assess the situation. Take stock of what the different elements you're dealing with. Ultimately, if you put a mark down, if you make a choice, that choice doesn't need to be correct - but it does need to be specific. The result of intent, even if that intent is wrong. It is better to be wrong in a specific fashion, than it is to be correct by a fluke. It's the specificity of the incorrect choice that makes it something we can actually deal with.

I've redrawn some of your masses, with notes in this image Hope that helps.

The recommendation below is an advertisement. Most of the links here are part of Amazon's affiliate program (unless otherwise stated), which helps support this website. It's also more than that - it's a hand-picked recommendation of something I've used myself. If you're interested, here is a full list.
Pentel Pocket Brush Pen

Pentel Pocket Brush Pen

This is a remarkable little pen. Technically speaking, any brush pen of reasonable quality will do, but I'm especially fond of this one. It's incredibly difficult to draw with (especially at first) due to how much your stroke varies based on how much pressure you apply, and how you use it - but at the same time despite this frustration, it's also incredibly fun.

Moreover, due to the challenge of its use, it teaches you a lot about the nuances of one's stroke. These are the kinds of skills that one can carry over to standard felt tip pens, as well as to digital media. Really great for doodling and just enjoying yourself.

This website uses cookies. You can read more about what we do with them, read our privacy policy.