Lesson 5: Applying Construction to Animals
9:50 AM, Monday December 6th 2021
Thank you in advance for the feedback!
Thank you in advance for the feedback!
Jumping right in with your organic intersections, these are looking great. The pile feels quite stable, and the way in which each sausage slumps and sags over the forms beneath it shows a convincing sense of gravity. Your cast shadows are also quite bold and confident, and you're doing a pretty good job of having them fall upon and wrapping around those neighbouring surfaces, rather than having them cling to the forms that cast them.
Moving onto the animal constructions themselves, in a lot of areas you're moving in the right direction, and as we progress through the set I can definitely see improvement. I found that I could find most of the major issues that came up in the set in your first japanese sable drawing, so I ended up spending a lot of time marking it up, and that is going to be the focus of my critique. These issues aren't necessarily present in all your drawings, but I figured it was the most effective way to address all of them at once.
Here are the notes I put directly on the page - they're colour coded and numbered, and I'm going to address each point as briefly as I can below as well:
1) This is more of a reminder of what we discussed back in Lesson 4, of not adjusting the silhouettes of forms you've already constructed - no cutting into them, and no extending them or adding to them with other flat shapes. Every new addition must be its own complete form. Overall you aren't doing this very much, but obviously you still slipped up here - just remember that if you find yourself having drawn something too big, there's no correcting it - you're just stuck with it as it is, and your final drawing will end up having its proportions a little off. That does not undermine the usefulness of the exercise however, as our goal is not to reproduce the reference perfectly, but rather to use it as a source of information as we work through what is essentially just another 3D spatial puzzle/exercise.
2) You are showing solid head construction here that, in many ways definitely tries to apply the head construction demo here, which is good to see. Always try to apply the specific aspects of that demonstration to all of your head constructions. That said, I am noticing that your linework as you add each individual stroke is a bit sloppy, and leaves a lot of gaps which interfere with the illusion of them being physical cuts in a 3D form. Avoid gaps, and take more care in the execution of those marks.
3) Make sure all your forms are fully closed, even when it requires you to draw the parts that are not seen from the viewer's point of view. This helps us understand how they sit in 3D space, and allows us to more fully define the relationships between the different forms.
4) Always try to apply the sausage method to your leg constructions, as I also pointed out in my feedback for your Lesson 4 work. I laid out the sausage method's specific requirements on the page itself, but you can also review them here. It's worth noting that I do see you employing it in other drawings, so you just need to be more consistent in its use. Also, remember that you should only be placing contour lines at the joints - not along their lengths as you did with the frog on the left side of this page.
5) The thing with additional masses is that their silhouettes, and the specific way in which they're crafted, does all the heavy lifting in terms of establishing how they sit in 3D space, and how they relate to the existing structure. While this means that we can only place sharp corners and inward curves in specific places, in response to the existing structure we're wrapping around, it also means that they have a considerable impact where we do place them. Right now you seem to be hedging, avoiding sharp corners and always leaning into smoother curving transitions. While this is quite helpful in many cases, there are some specific places those sharp corners do need to go, as shown in the notes on your drawing. Without them, your forms will look more like they're just a flat shape pasted on top of the image, rather than an actual solid 3D form attached to the 3D structure.
6) It isn't uncommon for students to pick up on the flatness that results from not designing those forms' silhouettes correctly, and to try to compensate for the mistake by adding contour lines. This actually has two major issues however. Firstly, it causes those students to pile on a ton of contour lines that don't actually achieve the goal they're after (those kinds of contour lines that sit on the surface of a single form only make the form feel 3D on its own, in isolation, and doesn't define the relationship between that form and the others, which is specifically what we need here). And secondly, as this doesn't entirely solve the issue students tend to add a ton of them, and in so doing, they tend to get kind of sloppy in their application instead of giving each one the care it requires. Long story short - these kinds of contour lines aren't the tool you need here, and trying to use them to fix the issue will actually distract you from the core issue, which is the design of the additional mass's silhouette. As a rule, make sure that before you use one of these contour lines, you really think about what they're for. Also as a side note, this doesn't apply to the contour lines that define an intersection between different forms (like those in the lesson 2's form intersections exercise, as well as those we use as part of the sausage method). These are actually much more effective, cannot be overused, and specifically define the relationship between forms in 3D space. They still can't be used here (because our additional masses do not intersect, but rather wrap around the existing structure), but I didn't want to lump them in with the kind of contour line introduced with the organic forms with contour lines exercise.
So, that about covers it! While you do have a number (specifically, six) things to work on, I still feel that your work is coming along quite well, and that you're demonstrating a well developing grasp of these points - even if that understanding can stand to be improved. I think with this feedback, you should be good to continue practicing these concepts on your own, and do not need further revisions to be approved by me. I'll go ahead and mark this lesson as complete, and leave you to it.
Feel free to move onto the 250 cylinder challenge, which is a prerequisite for lesson 6.
I definitely have a tendency to get distracted in which case my linework gets sloppy and I forget to apply some of the points from the lesson. Thank you so much for the thorough review. I'll remember to refer back to these noted in the future.
I saw that some people do a 25/50 Bird Challenge but I couldnt find the relevant instructions for it on here or discord. Is it an old challenge or something that people do unofficially?
First I'm hearing of a bird challenge, so it's definitely something people are doing unofficially. It's not abnormal for people to try and turn arbitrary things into challenges - the ones we do here however do play an important role at particular points in the course.