Lesson 5: Applying Construction to Animals

9:58 AM, Saturday February 26th 2022

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Hello, this is my submission for lessons 5 homework.

I hope i don't mess this up too much, i have some trouble especially when applying constructions to fish, i don't know which "tools" is the right one for creature like fish.

I'm looking forward to your feedbacks and critiques.

Best regard,

SimpleBanana

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9:56 PM, Monday February 28th 2022

Starting with your organic intersections, you're doing a good job of drawing the sausages themselves such that they slump and sag over one another - although do be sure to draw each sausage in its entirety, instead of drawing them up to where they're overlapped by another. This helps us to better understand how each form sits in 3D space, and how they relate to the other forms around them.

As to the cast shadows, I'm glad to see that you're pushing into the use of bolder, more confident, intentional shadows. Just remember that they do need to adhere to a single consistent light source - right now you've got shadows being cast both to the left and the right, as you jump between sausages. Make sure that you're always conscious of where your light source is going to be, so you can cast shadows in a consistent direction.

Continuing onto your animal constructions, I can see a number of areas in which you're certainly moving in the right direction, although there are a number of things I can definitely call out as suggestions to help ensure that you continue making the most of these exercises. I'm going to organize these under a few different headings:

  • Use of additional masses

  • Leg construction

  • Head construction

  • Fur/texture

Use of Additional Masses

One thing that jumped out at me immediately here was that you made extensive use of contour lines when adding additional masses to your animal constructions - and unfortunately this is an area where this particular tool (contour lines - specifically those that wrap around the surface of a single form, as they were introduced in the organic forms with contour lines exercise in lesson 2) doesn't actually solve the problem at hand.

When we're building up constructions, and adding a new form to what's already there, it can interact with that existing structure in one of two ways. It can either:

  • Interpenetrate the existing structure, in which case we define the connection/intersection between them with a contour line (the type from the form intersections exercise in lesson 2 - different from the type you're using here)

  • Or it can wrap around that existing structure, as is the case for these additional masses. In that case, all of the heavy lifting is done by the design of that form's silhouette.

There are plenty of situations where a student may find that the way they designed the mass's silhouette didn't quite achieve the result they were after, and so they'll slap on a bunch of contour lines to make that form feel solid and three dimensional. The thing is, those contour lines only make the form feel 3D and voluminous in isolation - meaning, not in relation to any existing structure.

While this doesn't actually fix the problem, it does give those students the feeling that they're doing something - and so it predisposes them to actually putting less effort into that silhouette design (where the problem actually exists). Instead, they just pile more contour lines on (and in that same spirit, may put less time into those contour lines, executing them more sloppily). So- while it may seem harmless at first, it can actually encourage you to move farther away from actually addressing the problem at hand.

So, how do we fix the problem? One thing that helps with the shape here is to think about how the mass would behave when existing first in the void of empty space, on its own. It all comes down to the silhouette of the mass - here, with nothing else to touch it, our mass would exist like a soft ball of meat or clay, made up only of outward curves. A simple circle for a silhouette.

Then, as it presses against an existing structure, the silhouette starts to get more complex. It forms inward curves wherever it makes contact, responding directly to the forms that are present. The silhouette is never random, of course - always changing in response to clear, defined structure. You can see this demonstrated in this diagram.

Here are the same principles applied to your dog drawing. Note how additional contour lines are not necessary here.

Leg Construction

I did call out in your Lesson 4 work that you had a tendency to use a wide variety of approaches to constructing your insects' legs, rather than applying the sausage method consistently throughout. That does appear to be the case here, with drawings like your cats taking a very different path. Further into the set however, I can see you making more of a concerted effort to use the sausage method, though you do still have some issues.

For example, if we look at this horse, you end up using ellipses rather than sausages - you can see this point called out on the sausage method diagram itself, on the lower left.

Ultimately there is definitely improvement on this front, so it seems you may have caught these issues yourself, but I did feel it important to call them out here as well.

Head Construction

Lesson 5 has a lot of different strategies for constructing heads, between the various demos. Given how the course has developed, and how I'm finding new, more effective ways for students to tackle certain problems. So not all the approaches shown are equal, but they do have their uses. As it stands, as explained at the top of the tiger demo page (here), the current approach that is the most generally useful, as well as the most meaningful in terms of these drawings all being exercises in spatial reasoning, is what you'll find here on the informal demos page.

There are a few key points to this approach:

  • The specific shape of the eyesockets - the specific pentagonal shape allows for a nice wedge in which the muzzle can fit in between the sockets, as well as a flat edge across which we can lay the forehead area.

  • This approach focuses heavily on everything fitting together - no arbitrary gaps or floating elements. This allows us to ensure all of the different pieces feel grounded against one another, like a three dimensional puzzle.

  • We have to be mindful of how the marks we make are cuts along the curving surface of the cranial ball - working in individual strokes like this (rather than, say, drawing the eyesocket with an ellipse) helps a lot in reinforcing this idea of engaging with a 3D structure.

Try your best to employ this method when doing constructional drawing exercises using animals in the future, as closely as you can. Sometimes it seems like it's not a good fit for certain heads, but with a bit of finagling it can still apply pretty well. To demonstrate this for another student, I found the most banana-headed rhinoceros I could, and threw together this demo.

Additionally, be sure to be generous with the size of those eyeballs - it's common for students to draw them much smaller. Once in place, you can then construct each of the eyelids as its own additional mass, wrapping it around the ball structure as shown here.

Fur Texture

And lastly, I wanted to talk a bit about how you're approaching fur. Throughout your work, you have some fairly mixed results:

  • There are cases where you're not really putting much thought into how the individual "tufts" of fur are designed and drawn - for example, here and here on the dogs. This kind of approach doesn't really get us anywhere - we have to actually think about how we're putting these marks down strategically, and how each shape is being designed towards a specific goal.

  • Then there are cases like this where you are more purposeful in drawing and designing those individual tufts, although you're zigzagging back and forth across the existing form's silhouette, which in turn results in you cutting into that silhouette. Think of each shape as an extension of the silhouette - do not risk undermining the solidity of the form as a whole by having those shapes cut back into the form. Furthermore, you are definitely putting down a lot of different tufts, which aren't necessarily required. Always ask yourself just what you're trying to get across, and try to do so with as little markmaking as possible. It's better to draw a few specific, strategic, well-thought out tufts of fur, than to draw hundreds of haphazard ones.

  • I did feel that when you were drawing your horse's manes and tails (like here), you did show a tendency to think through those individual strokes more - or at least, you'd draw each one more individually, rather than as part of a series of marks being drawn all at once. As a result, they are more fluid, and better designed. This is definitely a step in the right direction.

Conclusion

I have definitely called out a number of things for you to work on here, and while overall I think you're moving in the right direction, I do think assigning some revisions to allow you to demonstrate your understanding is the best path forward. You'll find those revisions assigned below.

Next Steps:

Please submit another 4 pages of animal constructions. Be sure to give yourself as much time as you require for every form, every shape, and every mark. If you find a drawing taking more time than you have to offer it in that sitting, feel free to spread it across multiple sittings or days as needed, just ensure that you're giving each drawing the best of your current ability.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
2:43 AM, Tuesday March 1st 2022

thank you for the critique sir,

for the revision, do i need to construct a specific animal (non-hooved quadrupeds/hooved)

Or it can be any mammals ?

Thank you

3:46 AM, Tuesday March 1st 2022

Any animals will do.

11:19 AM, Friday March 4th 2022

Hello sir, this is my lessons 5 revisions

https://imgur.com/a/fL8zXvP

I hope i dont mess this up, but if i do please let me know.

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