## Lesson 2: Contour Lines, Texture and Construction

##### 9:09 AM, Monday July 18th 2022

Hello thank you for taking the time to critique, there are a few textures I didn't understand, for example I don't understand the texture of meat and how that would cast a shadow and generally most smooth surfaces like insect shells or fruits, as well as animal fur / human hair.

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##### 11:38 PM, Wednesday July 20th 2022

I'll be the TA handling your Lesson 2 critique.

You're making progress towards understanding the concepts introduced in this lesson and hopefully this critique will help you in your future attempts.

• Starting off in the arrows section your lines are looking smoothly and confidently drawn. There are spots where your arrows bulge/narrow suddenly, this is an issue because it gives the impression that your arrows are stretching which hurts their solidity. Remember that as our arrows move closer to the viewer we want them to widen consistently. It's good to see that you're trying to implement line weight, just remember that you want to keep your applications subtle and you'll become consistent with mileage. here are some things to look out for when applying it. I'd like you to experiment more with foreshortening in your future attempts, by utilizing it in both the arrows themselves as well as the negative space between their curves we can create a stronger illusion of an object moving through 3D space as demonstrated here.

• Moving into the organic forms with contours exercise some of your forms are getting a bit too complex. We want to create our forms with both ends being the same size and to avoid any pinching, bloating, or stretching along the form's length as discussed here. You're keeping your line work confident here which is great, if you feel uncomfortable working with contours still don't stress with more mileage it'll become more natural. Speaking of contours I'd like you to try and shift the degree of your contours more. The degree of a contour line basically represents the orientation of that cross-section in space, relative to the viewer, and as we slide along the sausage form, the cross section is either going to open up (allowing us to see more of it) or turn away from the viewer (allowing us to see less), as shown here.

• In the texture exercises you're focusing largely on outlines and negative space rather than cast shadows created by forms along the texture itself. This makes it difficult to create gradients with implied information which we could then use to create focal points in more complex pieces, by doing so we can prevent our viewers from being visually overwhelmed with too much detail. For more on the importance of focusing on cast shadows read here. I'd also like to quickly direct you to this image which shows that when we're working with thin line like textures if we outline and fill the shadow we will create a much more dynamic texture than simply drawing lines.

I'll include a write up on texture at the end of this critique as well that will hopefully help clarify some things. It's quite lengthy so it's best to keep it separate.

• It's quite common for people to feel like they don't fully grasp the form intersections exercise, if you feel like you may fall into this category try not to stress too much. This exercise is just meant to get students to start thinking about how their forms relate to one another in 3D space, and how to define those relationships on the page. We'll be going over them more in the upcoming lessons.Your forms are looking quite solid here and they believably appear to belong in the same cohesive 3D space, good work.

Overall this was a solid submission, while you may have some things to work on I have no doubt you will improve with more mileage. I'll be marking your submission as complete and move you on to the next lesson.

Keep practicing previous exercises as warm ups and good luck in lesson 3!

Texture explanation time

Sorry in advance cause this will be quite long.

Rather than being able to give you just one or two pointers about things to work on, texture is often a case of people trying to simplify the steps too much and it's easier for me to just explain the entire process.

First things first, open up this leaf texture picture, I find leaves are a good example and a texture that people are often drawn to and do incorrectly.

The first thing you may notice is that this image isn't in colour and instead in black and white, this is helpful because people often get distracted by shifts in colour and will try to darken an area in their drawing if the colour happens to be darker (Like when they're trying to draw meat, they'll get distracted by the fat which appears white they make it the lighest section. when in reality meat will have small pores if you zoom in close enough that create cast shadows which is what you should actually focus on). We shouldn't rely on converting images to black and white but it is helpful and something you may want to consider when practicing.

Now if I handed a student this image and told them to use it for their texture exercises there are two typical outcomes I would expect.

The first is that they would draw all of the veins (or many of them if they aren't extremely patient), and this would be an example of focusing on outlines.

The second result that I would expect is that instead of drawing the veins themselves they would either fill the veins in completely with black or they would fill in everything but the veins completely with ink, and this would be them focusing on negative space.

This is where students get a bit confused at the start, they feel like they're looking at the image and drawing what they see but it comes out wrong. I should clarify that it's not necessarily incorrect, there is a time and place when obsessing over small details can be helpful but this is largely an exercise about learning how to imply information and thinking in 3D space. Remember that what we're learning here isn't observational drawing, it's constructional and while observation is definitely a part of the construction method there's an extra step that people tend to neglect in the beginning.

With that in mind let's go over the correct way to tackle these problems, bring up the leaf image (it's here if you closed it) and let's break down what we're working with. What people tend to neglect is that we're trying to think about the 3D space of the image we're observing and drawing. If we look at this leaf the veins are really just long organic forms, or cylinders if they're particularly rigid. The fleshy bit of the leaf could be thought of as either a plane or a thin box, and due to gravity's effect it will likely curve a bit (we don't need to think too much about it curving in this case because we're working so close up, but it's good to think of how the environment can have an effect).

To put it simply, a leaf is just organic forms that are intersecting with each other and a plane/box, just like the forms we practiced with in the form intersections exercise. With all of these forms in mind we can place a light source and depending on it's position and intensity we can create cast shadows much like we did in the organic intersections exercise.

An example of this can actually be seen in the picture itself. Let's just focus on the large main vein as well as the branching vein on the left. You'll notice that if you look along the bottom edge of the main vein there's a cast shadow, and on the right of the branching vein there's a shadow. From this information we can assume that the light affecting the leaf the most is somewhere to the upper left of the image and it's creating the cast shadows we want to draw.

This is an example of what drawing cast shadows might look like, it comes up early on in lesson 3 when Uncomfortable shows the process of drawing a leaf. You can see that he's not actually drawing the veins themselves, and instead just implying that they exist by creating cast shadows. Keep in mind that this leaf is fairly evenly lit and the point of the texture exercise is to work with light gradients but regardless it's a good example of what we're trying to achieve. There are times where capturing shadows doesn't immediately give the impression of what you're attempting to draw but it's just a single tool that you can use. You may not think that drawn leaf looks like a leaf, but if it was green, had a stem, and was attached to something that resembled a plant your brain would begin fill in the gaps until it goes "oh that's a leaf".

Implying information helps both the creator as well as the viewer, it saves the creator time from having to obsessively capture every tiny detail and it prevents the image from becoming too visually noisy and overwhelming for the viewer.

Craig Mullins is a painter whose work I appreciate a lot and I feel does an amazing job of implying information through shadow, colour and brush strokes. I highly recommend looking up some of his work if you'd like some examples of just how powerful implied information can be.

In regards to some of the examples you brought up, meat and fruit will have small pores if you zoom in close enough. Each strand of hair will cast shadows, and some objects are smooth and don't case much of a shadow unless you can zoom in incredibly close. These are all possible to draw but they definitely are more difficult and may not necessarily be the best textures to pick.

Hopefully that clarified things a bit. Best of luck in lesson 3.

Next Steps:

Keep practicing previous exercise as warm ups.

Move on to lesson 3.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
##### 4:09 AM, Thursday July 21st 2022

Thanks for the texture explanation, it really cleared things up for me and I can see now how I was focusing on the outlines and negative space instead of the cast shadows themselves.

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