Lesson 7: Applying Construction to Vehicles

3:07 AM, Wednesday July 21st 2021

Draw A Box Lesson 7 - Album on Imgur

Direct Link: https://i.imgur.com/jGcZN91.jpg

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Really had a tough time getting the dimensions of the cars straight. One of the tutorial videos mentioned being careful of making the corner angle too obtuse or it messes with the vehicle's dimensions, but it didn't really set in for me until later. Feeling much better about the process now. Overall some of them turned out really nice and I'm happy with the progress I've made in Draw A Box.

Thank you, Uncomfortable.

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3:56 PM, Wednesday July 21st 2021

Starting with your form intersections, I think you're doing a great job of capturing how these forms relate to one another in space. The intersections themselves generally demonstrate a good grasp of those relationships, and I can see a lot of more complex intersections that have been handled quite well. The only thing that stood out to me were the couple of instances where some of your forms were drawn with more dramatic foreshortening (a cylinder in the bottom right, a box closer to the top right, etc). When you'e got a bunch of forms together in the same space, it's best to keep their foreshortening shallower (as you did for the rest of them), to avoid throwing off the sense of scale and creating visual confusion.

Your cylinders in boxes are similarly coming along well, although I did notice that you appear to be purposely starting with boxes that align in such a way that the blue line extensions run roughly parallel on the page (suggesting that the box is aligned in a very specific fashion to the picture plane). This isn't incorrect, because you weren't just asserting that the lines would be parallel on the page, you actually oriented the whole structure so it had a reason to be. Still, remember that we're rotating these forms randomly in space, so they shouldn't all be snapping to the same orientation.

Moving onto your vehicle constructions, for the most part you're doing these well - through the majority of them, you're definitely building things up in a very structured, mindful manner, but there are a handful - namely the sports cars and the hot air balloon at the end - where you are still going through the steps to establish the subdivisions necessary, but are skipping some steps in between and jumping right into drawing curves without the necessary structure to define them in a specific manner.

It's easiest to illustrate the difference in approach by first looking at the cases where you're handling these problems correctly. If we look at this airplane for instance, you were vary fastidious in ensuring that every structure you constructed was drawn inside of an enclosure. I can see where the fuselage was constructed inside of a box, which was then used to define the major cross-sectional ellipses to them define the profile of the body.

You did struggle a little with the ellipses (I think the main missing component here is that you weren't defining the minor axis of your ellipses, which was throwing off how they were being drawn - remember that the minor axis of an ellipse will be oriented towards the vanishing point that governs lines which run perpendicular to that ellipse's surface. The most recent update of the ellipses video from lesson 1 goes into this in much greater detail, but this effectively means that if we need an ellipse to be oriented in a particular fashion, we can do so by first defining the minor axis line, then drawing the ellipse around it. This needs to be used in conjunction with the enclosing planes, as shown in this video to end up with ellipses that correctly represent circles in 3D space.

Jumping ahead to your helicopter, I felt this one did come out quite well, but we're starting to drift into some of the mistakes that cost you more when you hit the sports cars. Because the helicopter structure is still made up of a lot of fairly straight, primitive edges without too many smooth curves, you were able to skip certain steps without too much trouble - but you definitely should have defined clear box structures within the overall enclosure that tightly defined the space the body of the helicopter would take up.

So here's an example of what I mean. Note how the box encloses where the body's going to go very tightly - no arbitrary gaps between its edges and the extremes of the structure. From there, we can then make some straight cuts to further define the structure, as shown here. This adheres to the principles explained in this section of Lesson 6. If we jump into drawing curves right off th bat without the appropriate framework or scaffolding to help support them, we're likely to just draw curves that feel arbitrary and don't contribute structural stability to our construction. Instead, we need to define them first as straighter edges, then round them out towards the end.

This is largely why your constructions involving straighter structures - like this truck came out feeling very solid and well built, whereas those with more curves had a tendency to feel more flat. That doesn't mean all of them were done badly, just that they relied more heavily on your underlying spatial reasoning skill and instincts. That's what this course is meant to develop, and so you do have significant capacity for it that you've honed throughout the previous lessons, but we achieve that by working through all of the specific, careful steps of construction. We train those instincts by doing all of this tedious work, rather than by attempting to use those instincts. So, where this one came out quite nicely despite its many curves, your sports cars and hot air balloon felt like they weren't really supported by any sort of solid structure, and fell much flatter as a result.

It's also likely that you may have underestimated just how long these sports car constructions can really take, and how demanding they are. When we expect a drawing to be completed more quickly, the first thing that tends to suffer is the amount of time we're willing to invest in continually and constantly observing our reference image. As a result, our proportions fall out of whack, which was definitely a concern. There were still individual elements to your sports car constructions that came out quite nicely - the wheels and tire treads were handled well, the headlights usually came out quite nicely, and so on.

While I generally don't like comparing students' work to one another, I do find that there's value in showing students just how long their drawings can take. Looking at veedraws' work, you can see in that little timetable she added just how much time each drawing took her. While I don't expect students to be investing quite so much (although if they're willing and able to, that's certainly fantastic), you can see that these drawings were definitely stretched across numerous sittings, and she focused on solving each task/problem as it came up, rather than trying to fit the work into an arbitrary, pre-set amount of time.

The last thing I wanted to call out is a quick reminder that in your drawings, your filled areas of solid black should be reserved for cast shadow shapes, and not form shading. The one exception is where we fill the interior of a car in with solid black. I did notice a number of places where you ended up mixing cast shadows and form shading, which becomes visually confusing. So for example, there are multiple spots on the naval vessel, as well as on the underside of the helicopter and on its blades. As explained here in Lesson 2, form shading doesn't really play a role in our drawings for this course.

As a whole I do still think you're doing quite well, but due to some of the skipped steps, I know you can do even better. I'm going to assign a couple additional drawings for you to hammer the issues I've addressed here out.

Next Steps:

Please submit 2 more pages of vehicle drawings. These should focus on cars. You should feel free to spread them across multiple sittings and days, focusing on giving each drawing as much time as it requires (both in the execution of every mark and constructional step, and in observing your reference constantly to help inform the choices you make with the marks you put down).

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
7:30 PM, Saturday July 24th 2021

Additional pages: https://imgur.com/a/ctjvUVZ

Spent significantly more time studying and constructing. The dimensions are much better, but not perfect. I noticed some other artists have a very light line weight during construction which makes the final images pop. Tried to adopt but was unsuccessful, even with a fine tip ball point pen. How do other people do it? Is it confidence in strokes?

8:26 PM, Saturday July 24th 2021

I suspect it just comes down to the fact that those other students were taking advantage of the fact that you're allowed to use ballpoint pens for this lesson (it looks like you were still using a fineliner). No matter how lightly you press, the marks will still be quite dark, even if they can get quite thin with good pressure control.

Anyway, your work here is coming along much better, and I can certainly see the patience and care with which you approached it. There is still room for growth, but I think your construction and process is coming along well. With practice, your observational skills will continue to improve, and with it your sense of proportion and scale will too.

As it stands, I think you're doing well, and I am happy to mark this lesson - and the course with it - as complete. Congratulations!

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
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