Lesson 7: Applying Construction to Vehicles

7:26 PM, Tuesday May 4th 2021

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Sorry it took so long submitting this module. Some personal life circumstances preoccupied me.

As always, stay safe!

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3:06 AM, Friday May 7th 2021

Hah- I get the "stay safe" a lot with homework submissions, but this time it made me chuckle. I'm currently being pushed out of my home because of damage caused by a neighbouring apartment's burst pipe, and flooding that got into my bedroom, so times have been stressful! But thank goodness for insurance.

Getting into your homework, the first thing I want to mention is simply that it's very clear that you do have a strong grasp of 3D space and spatial reasoning, and that you also have strong observational skills. It's also clear that when it comes to choosing how to tackle these drawings, or the expectations that you lay out for what you're going to achieve with each of them (or how long they're going to take), you're kind of shooting yourself in the foot.

There are two main problems that arise here:

  • In the lesson, you are allowed and encouraged to use tools like rulers, ellipse guides, ballpoint pens, etc. in order to help you focus on the meat of this lesson and to really push the boundaries of what you think you can achieve. It doesn't really seem like you took advantage of any of those things, however. It seems you're still freehanding a lot of your linework. You may be using a ruler in some places, perhaps for laying out the initial bounding box, but there are a ton of places where reaching for a ruler would free you up to focus on solving the more pressing issues in your constructional drawings. When I allow students to use those tools, it's not a kindness - it serves a purpose. By using a tool to do some of the heavy lifting, you're able to focus more on the constructional problems ahead of you. Breaking things into simple forms, really building out those structures with primitive elements, and then refining them in 3D space to build to more complex detail. If you're worrying about freehanding your lines, then you're severely limiting the amount of cognitive capacity that can be afforded for these legitimately difficult tasks. Some students may claim that they wanted to practice their ability to draw freehand too - but there are plenty of exercises you've been introduced to which you can do that more effectively without splitting your attention. This is not the time.

  • For the most part, you're not actually employing constructional techniques. Take a look at this helicopter for instance. As far as the resulting drawing goes, it's not too bad (aside from the wonky rotor blades - drawing them with an ellipse to define their bounds and orientation in space, like the petals from the hibiscus in lesson 3 would have been more effective, solving that one problem first before worrying about each individual blade). The issue is that you started with a bounding box, subdivided a little, and then threw away everything you've been learning and drew the rest of the helicopter by observation. That is not what is being asked of you here. In effect, that's what you did for most of these drawings - you're skipping steps, and relying on drawing what you see. The fact that you have developed a strong grasp of 3D space throughout these lessons has carried you through, but what you're effectively doing is demonstrating what you can do - not employing the drawings as exercises to help you develop further.

I'm obviously going to be asking for revisions, and I think what I've already shared above might be enough to make you realize that you accidentally went down the wrong path here. And that's perfectly okay - it happens. For a lot of students, it happens at lesson 5, because a lot of people are super excited to be drawing animals, and it clouds their focus. I will however share with you one other thing:

The drawings for this lesson are, by their very nature and complexity, expected to take a long time. It's completely normal for them to take many hours, to even last over a few sessions - because after all, there's no rule that you have to complete a drawing in a set period of time. Just that you need to do what you can to execute each mark to the absolute best of your ability, to construct each form to the best of your ability, to build up each drawing, step by step, stage by stage, to the best of your ability.

While I don't generally share other students' work (I don't like giving the impression that I'm comparing end results and quality), here I make an exception. Check out the Lesson 7 work submitted by veedraws. Most specifically, take a look at the timetable she included there.

I by no means expect you to be spending quite so much time on this lesson, but the fact of the matter is that when we invest more time, our results inevitably improve because it forces us to take more time for each and every step. You, of course, have skipped steps, so as a result less time was taken. So this time around, allow yourself to take that time, to build things out one step at a time. Remember that if the structure/detail you wish to add to a construction cannot be reasonably supported by the scaffolding that is already present, you should not be adding it - instead building up to it with further steps in between.

As a side note - I'd recommend using a ballpoint pen this time around. You're going to be putting down a lot of lines for all the individual forms and structures, and ballpoint can make it easier to keep them somewhat clear.

Next Steps:

Please submit an additional 5 pages of vehicle constructions.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
9:11 AM, Tuesday May 11th 2021
edited at 11:28 AM, May 11th 2021

Understood. This lesson was admitedly a head scratcher for me. I can't promise the next revision will remedy the problem, so please, keep that pointed critique coming for this one. It really does recontextualize my approach for me.

I do have 1 question though: Is there a point I can reach where I have applied too much construction? I know that's the opposite problem I'm experiencing, but everytime I charted a detail, I couldn't help but ask myself if that's really necessary, like if there's one major detail that's parallel to a very close construction line. Is it really a line I should invest in or should I just make that intuitive mark?

I don't want to sound flippant here since obviously relying on instinct won't be enough to develop my faculties here.

edited at 11:28 AM, May 11th 2021
5:38 PM, Thursday May 13th 2021

The ghosting method has three stages to it. In the first one - the planning phase - we ask ourselves what a given mark is meant to contribute to our drawing, or to our understanding of how that construction exists in space. There are circumstances where a mark simply doesn't do much - for example, if you've got some contour lines on the surface of a form, adding another probably isn't going to help, and will instead add to the clutter.

Of course, if a mark helps us more precisely figure out the position of some element we wish to add, even if it is not a direct part of the object itself, then it is still of value and should still be added.

Don't think in terms of "too much construction" - just consider whether the elements you're building up could benefit from a little additional constructional information and support. If you can improve your precision a little more, if you can do something to make a curve just a little more specific and solid. These drawings are, as always, just exercises in spatial reasoning. Anything that helps you better understand the space in which you're working, and the way the object you're constructing occupies that space, is going to be valuable.

For what it's worth, you are faaar from putting in too much construction. You were in your submission skipping quite a few steps, so I would definitely err towards more construction rather than less.

5:27 PM, Sunday May 16th 2021

Understood. I'll up the construction for the next submission

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2:41 AM, Wednesday May 26th 2021
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