Lesson 4: Applying Construction to Insects and Arachnids

12:16 PM, Sunday July 3rd 2022

Lesson 4 Insect - Google Drive

Lesson 4 Insect - Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/19tqACSWC76Ef69XGw-kxjDIjZ_cztPfK?usp=sharing

Hi, here’s my submission for lesson 4. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

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10:31 PM, Monday July 4th 2022

Starting with your organic forms with contour curves, nice work! Just a couple things to look out for:

  • The ends on some of your sausages get a little more stretched out, being ellipsoid in shape rather than circular.

  • Also, while you're doing a good job of reversing the contour curves' direction when the sausage method bends backwards on itself, you do still need to remember that the individual contour curves should be getting wider/narrower based on how each cross-section is oriented in space relative to the viewer. You can review the Lesson 1 ellipses video if you're unsure of why that is.

Continuing onto your insect constructions, there's a lot you're doing well here, along with a number of major points that I can provide further information on to help you get the most out of these exercises going forward.

As a whole, there's a lot that you're doing here that really goes a long way to help make your constructions feel very solid and three dimensional. Looking at the ant from page 4 for example, your use of contour lines in building up segmentation, and many of your base forms feel very solid - but at the same time (and I'll point this out more specifically), there are definitely actions you're taking there that operate in 2D space (where you're treating the object as a drawing, and taking great liberties in how you engage with it), along with actions that occur in 3D space (where you're respecting and reinforcing the 3D nature of the forms you've already built up.

Because we're drawing on a flat piece of paper, we have a lot of freedom to make whatever marks we choose - it just so happens that the majority of those marks will contradict the illusion you're trying to create and remind the viewer that they're just looking at a series of lines on a flat piece of paper. In order to avoid this and stick only to the marks that reinforce the illusion we're creating, we can force ourselves to adhere to certain rules as we build up our constructions. Rules that respect the solidity of our construction.

For example - once you've put a form down on the page, do not attempt to alter its silhouette. Its silhouette is just a shape on the page which represents the form we're drawing, but its connection to that form is entirely based on its current shape. If you change that shape, you won't alter the form it represents - you'll just break the connection, leaving yourself with a flat shape. We can see this most easily in this example of what happens when we cut back into the silhouette of a form.

So if we look at that same ant construction, here I've shown in red where you've cut into the silhouettes of forms you'd already established, altering them in 2D space, as well as in blue where you've extended off the silhouettes of existing structures, but without giving us enough information to understand how those additional forms actually relate to the existing structure in 3D space.

Instead, whenever we want to build upon our construction or change something, we can do so by introducing new 3D forms to the structure - forms with their own fully self-enclosed silhouettes - and by establishing how those forms either connect or relate to what's already present in our 3D scene. We can do this either by defining the intersection between them with contour lines (like in lesson 2's form intersections exercise), or by wrapping the silhouette of the new form around the existing structure as shown here.

This is all part of accepting that everything we draw is 3D, and therefore needs to be treated as such in order for the viewer to believe in that lie.

You can see this in practice in this beetle horn demo, as well as in this ant head demo. You can also see some good examples of this in the lobster and shrimp demos on the informal demos page. As I've been pushing this concept more recently, it hasn't been fully integrated into the lesson material yet (it will be when the overhaul reaches Lesson 4). Until then, those submitting for official critiques basically get a preview of what is to come.

Continuing on, I noticed that you seem to have employed a lot of different strategies for capturing the legs of your insects. It's not uncommon for students to be aware of the sausage method as introduced here, but to decide that the legs they're looking at don't actually seem to look like a chain of sausages, so they use some other strategy. In your case, I think you employ the core principles of the sausage method in a number of cases, but you are quick to deviate from them.

The key to keep in mind here is that the sausage method is not about capturing the legs precisely as they are - it is about laying in a base structure or armature that captures both the solidity and the gestural flow of a limb in equal measure, where the majority of other techniques lean too far to one side, either looking solid and stiff or gestural but flat. Once in place, we can then build on top of this base structure with more additional forms as shown here, here, in this ant leg, and even here in the context of a dog's leg (because this technique is still to be used throughout the next lesson as well). Just make sure you start out with the sausages, precisely as the steps are laid out in that diagram.

And that about covers it! Overall you're doing really well, but keeping the distinction between actions taken in 2D space and actions adhering more rigidly to reinforcing the illusion that everything is always three dimensional, will help you push these exercises further, and ultimately will help you rewire your brain even more effectively in terms of developing your internal model of 3D space.

I'll go ahead and mark this lesson as complete.

Next Steps:

Feel free to move onto lesson 5.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
5:16 AM, Wednesday July 6th 2022

Thank you so much for your feedback!!!

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Staedtler Pigment Liners

Staedtler Pigment Liners

These are what I use when doing these exercises. They usually run somewhere in the middle of the price/quality range, and are often sold in sets of different line weights - remember that for the Drawabox lessons, we only really use the 0.5s, so try and find sets that sell only one size.

Alternatively, if at all possible, going to an art supply store and buying the pens in person is often better because they'll generally sell them individually and allow you to test them out before you buy (to weed out any duds).

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