Lesson 5: Applying Construction to Animals

2:43 PM, Sunday December 20th 2020

Drawabox lesson 5 - Google Photos

Drawabox lesson 5 - Google Photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/mULbk5jSRp3jTPWC7

Extremely challenging lesson, proud to have finally finished. Drew a bit more than was requested, so took me a good month to finish (I know, it's bad to grind). At the end I've realized I haven't added additional forms as much as I should have, so it's probably one of the things I will have to work on.

Looking forward to get some feedback :)

0 users agree
7:06 AM, Tuesday December 22nd 2020

Starting with your organic forms with contour lines, these are a bit mixed. Most of the interactions between the sausage forms are pretty believable, although there are some parts - for example, the left side of the second page - where the form feels like it was stamped on top without actually wrapping believably around the existing structure. Most of these forms are reasonably well done, however, so that's good.

Moving onto your animal constructions, I think one major issue has stopped you from doing quite as well as you could have, and it's something I see on occasion. Animals tend to be a lot of fun to draw, so students tend to be excited to finally reach this lesson. Unfortunately, in that excitement, they get caught up in the desire to draw things that look good. They focus on detail - on fur, on feathers, etc. and they think too much about the details without focusing on the core basics of each drawing. The specific lines and how they draw them get left by the wayside. They forget to apply the ghosting method, to think, plan and prepare before each mark, and so on, resulting in sketchy, repetitive lines instead of individual, intentional strokes.

In a separate issue, students can get too caught up in their drawing, and forget to observe and study their reference. As explained back in lesson 2, our memory is not well suited to maintaining a lot of complicated information straight all at once. In order to draw things accurately, we need to continually look back at our reference, looking away only for long enough to put down one or two very intentional strokes.

Lastly - and related to the first point - when we get excited to draw a particular subject, we also become more prone to forgetting things that have been explained to us in the past, either in past lessons or in past critiques. We end up rushing - putting less time into reading through instructions, reflecting upon instructions received previously, and putting less time into the drawings themselves, perhaps expecting that we should be able to finish a given drawing in a period of time far shorter than what is actually realistic, simply because we don't know better, and aren't focusing on doing everything to the best of our current ability.

None of these things are conducive to producing our best work, and so I don't feel what you've demonstrated here is your best work. Now, some drawings are definitely better than others. Your iguana, for instance, is in many ways actually quite good, and it shows that you spent a lot more time observing your reference here, and thinking through your strokes, compared to the others. There are definitely certain areas in which you invested more time (for example, you definitely showed more attention to your elephants' heads). But overall, comparing your results here do not show the same strengths we saw in your work from lesson 4.

When first looking at your homework, I gravitated to one of your fox drawings as being particularly weak, so I decided to do a more thorough critique and demonstration, which you'll find here. There are a number of major issues:

  • In your legs, the sausage forms are inconsistent and poorly drawn, and you're not reinforcing the joints between sausages. The front legs are especially deviating from the characteristics of simple sausages. Note that we talked about the importance of the sausage method and the ways it can be built upon in my critique of your lesson 4 work. You don't appear to have applied much of what I explained there.

  • Your linework is generally somewhat stiff, and there are a lot of additional half-marks throughout the drawing

  • You are not taking the time to draw each and every form in its entirety, especially for the forms you're wrapping around the torso.

  • You're perpetually caught between trying to draw purposefully and sketching loosely, and seem to be distracted by wanting to get into detail. As a result, the structure is never fully defined, and so there's nothing solid for the details to rest upon.

Underneath your drawing, I've included three stages - the basic construction, where I focus only on the core forms and how they connect to one another, the additional forms where I build up bulk around the body by wrapping simple volumes around that structure, and finally detail. Note how in the first stage, every single line is drawn intentionally and purposefully. I apply the ghosting method, drawing each mark to represent a complete, enclosed form, and I think about how those forms relate to one another in space, often defining contour lines at the intersections between them.

When adding additional forms, I'm thinking about how they wrap around the body, and how they press up against one another. When drawing these additional masses, it helps to first think about how they first exist away from the body, on their own. There, they float in space as a soft, ball of meat, in their simplest possible state, consisting only of outward curves and no corners. But when they press up against a more solid structure, they develop more complexity on the sides that make contact, creating inward curves and corners. Here's an example of this idea. What this means is that we cannot simply think about each form we add in isolation, drawing them however we please. Instead, their very silhouettes need to correspond specifically to the forms they're pressing up against, and so we need to be thinking not only of that form, but also all the ones it's going to be touching.

To that point, you can see how when I draw these additional masses, they're often in sets. Sometimes there are little gaps, but like muscles they're intertwining with others, and fitting together like a puzzle. This is very similar to what we actually see in the construction of the head, which is also something you struggle with a great deal. In the informal demos page (where there are a lot of additional, useful demonstrations you should be looking at - I usually add things here before I find a way to integrate them into the core lessons), I have this thorough explanation on how to think about head construction. I recommend you read through it. At its core, always remember that the head is like a 3D puzzle. The pieces all fit together, mainly around the eye socket, which is buttressed by the muzzle, the cheeks, the brow ridge, etc. The shape of that eye socket is important. We also then place a sphere for the eye ball in there, around which we later wrap our eyelids.

Moving forward, you'll notice that the difference between the last two stages - the additional masses and the details - is actually pretty minor. Those details don't play a role in making the animal stand on its own legs, in making it feel solid and real. All those details do is take it that last 5%. They are not necessary, and they are not integral. They serve a purpose, but construction without detail can stand just fine. Detail without solid construction, however, will fall apart.

Now, I've laid out quite a bit for you to think about, and unfortunately, I am not going to be marking this as complete. I am going to ask that you do this lesson over in its entirety. When you are done, you will submit your homework as a new submission, and it will receive a fresh, complete critique.

4:48 PM, Tuesday December 22nd 2020

Thank you very much, will do my best with the next one

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 we've used ourselves, or know to be of impeccable quality. If you're interested, here is a full list.
Marco Bucci's Getting Started with Digital Painting

Marco Bucci's Getting Started with Digital Painting

Marco Bucci's got a ton of great courses available on proko.com, including some of the best videos you can find on using colour and light. Since a lot of our students want to break into working with digital painting however, I thought this course in particular would be a great start to get into the weeds with how to navigate the confusing world of layers, brushes, and more.

This course highlights programs across the full spectrum of options, ranging from the current industry standard Adobe Photoshop, to the Free-and-Open-Source darling Krita, as well as the mobile favourite, Procreate.

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