Lesson 5: Applying Construction to Animals
9:14 PM, Tuesday July 7th 2020
I had to take a break because of Covid but I'm happy to be back at it again.
This submission is honestly quite interesting. There's a lot of strong points, as well as a lot of areas for improvement, where certain techniques and approaches covered in the lesson's various demonstrations aren't being adhered to as closely as they could. As a whole, I think there's potential for a fair bit of rapid improvement largely by pointing out where things aren't being approached in as structured a manner as they should.
Just a minor point about the organic intersections to start - you're generally doing a decent job at this, but try to keep the forms all the same size, rather than having a big form with a bunch of smaller ones piled atop it.
So moving onto your animal constructions, the first thing that jumps out at me is that you're very clearly thinking in 3D space. Many of the things you draw, especially towards the beginning, are clearly defined as three dimensional forms, and you're doing a good job of building things out with clearly defined relationships between them as they all exist in 3D space. They don't feel flat. That said, there are certain things that can certainly be improved upon.
For example, when adding additional forms, avoid sharp corners as shown here. Basically you can think of these masses as usually being made up of something malleable. Usually it's meat, but there are cases where it'll be fur or feathers or whatever else. Whatever the case, it's not going to be something that will have any reason to maintain a sharp corner or edge. They're organic masses, so keep them rounded and follow the edges of those silhouettes as they wrap around that underlying structure.
Moving on, a quick point about your badger - it's not a great drawing overall but one important point is that you're skipping an important step. As shown here, specifically in the center of the diagram, you need to make sure that you define the connection between those sausage forms with a contour line. It's also important that you stick to simple sausage forms. It's not that we're making everything look like a weird skinny chain of sausages, but that we're building an underlying armature onto which we can later add more forms to build out bulk as needed. You can see an example of this here.
Another important point that I'm seeing through many of these pages is that you're cramming those animals into relatively small spaces, and robbing yourself of the kind of room your brain needs to think through these spatial problems. Don't worry about packing every page as much as you can - instead, focus on giving each and every drawing as much space as it requires.
One last thing about that page - looking here at the bear's neck area, you drew a line across to kind of give it some bulk. When doing so, make sure you're always making additions as individual, solid, complete forms, rather than just extending the silhouette of existing forms. This'll help you continue to build everything so it always reinforces the illusion of 3D form.
Jumping ahead, let's take a look at this rhinoceros. There are a few major issues with it that result in it feeling quite flat and cartoony. First off, you're not drawing through forms - the legs are made up of shapes, rather than employing the sausage method to build them up with overlapping/intersecting forms. The masses you've drawn along the back and belly are all drawn without considering how they'd actually go about wrapping around the underlying structure, but instead are pasted on more as a flat, 2D shape (with contour lines added on top as an afterthought to try and add a sense of volume). Lastly, these various parts don't really integrate with one another. When it comes to these additional forms, a critical part is to build it up like a 3D puzzle - always think about how different pieces can fit into one another.
This applies especially to the face, where we can have all these different components - the muzzle, the brow ridge, the cheek bone, etc. - fitting together tightly around the eye socket. You can see this demonstrated in this tapir head demo.
Now, I've laid out a number of different things for you to think about. The next step is to have you do some more drawings, starting with some draw-alongs of some of the informal demonstrations. I'll list the assigned work below.
I'd like you to do the following:
Do a drawing following the steps outlined in the donkey demo.
Do a drawing following the steps outlined in the puma demo.
Do a drawing following the steps outlined in the tapir head demo.
Do 4 additional animal drawings. Make sure each one takes up the entirety of its own page, and take care to employ the various methods and techniques outlined in this lesson and its various demonstrations.
These are definitely a lot better. There are still a few things to keep an eye on however:
You're still drawing the various components of the face - the eye sockets, the muzzle, etc. all floating apart from one another. All these pieces need to fit together like a three dimensional puzzle - no arbitrary gaps between them. You can see a good example of how everything fits together with this moose construction gif.
Eye sockets and eyeballs are always going to be bigger than you think. The eyeball especially - if you look at your duckling, you've drawn the eyeball as though the majority of it is visible when its eyes are open. That's not how it works - eyelids cover most of the eyeball, even when they're wide open you're only looking at a small section of it.
You have a tendency to draw ellipses instead of sausages when constructing legs. Please review this diagram.
You certainly still have a good bit of room for growth and improvement, but you're headed in the right direction. I'm happy to mark this lesson as complete, but keep what I've pointed out here in mind, and be sure to continue practicing your animal constructions.
Move onto the 250 cylinder challenge, which is a prerequisite for lesson 6.