Lesson 4: Applying Construction to Insects and Arachnids

1:04 PM, Sunday July 3rd 2022

Capsnuf - Drawabox Lesson 4 - Applying Construction to Insects and Arachnids - Album on Imgur

Direct Link: https://i.imgur.com/TaXASOB.jpg

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Hello hello

Some bugs for your judgement!

After doing the demos a month ago I worked through the other drawings over the last two days this weekend. I wanted to include 10 of my own studies as well as the demos that I completed, hope that's ok.

I did make a silly mistake with laying in a rear leg with the grasshopper drawing (it was the last drawing after maybe doing too many studies in one day yesterday and going bug eyed) - I tried fixing it but then just left it as it was. I was mostly ok with how the rest of that particular drawing went though (aside from the too-small abdomen) so figured it was best to include.

Anyway -- I look forward to your feedback. Thanks in advance!


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10:55 PM, Monday July 4th 2022

Starting with your organic forms with contour curves, overall these are coming along well, but there are four main things I want you to keep an eye on:

  • Firstly, do not skip any steps from the instructions. This exercise has us drawing a central minor axis line through the center of each sausage, to help us in aligning our contour curves.

  • You're generally pretty close to sticking to the characteristics of simple sausages, although there are some small deviations, with some ends being more stretched out than others, and where the midsection of a given sausage gets wider rather than maintaining a consistent width.

  • Keep in mind that the degree of our contour curves should be getting wider as we slide further away from the viewer, as discussed in the Lesson 1 ellipses video.

  • Be sure to draw through all of the ellipses you freehand throughout this course, including the small ones at the tip of our ellipses.

There's one last thing I want to mention - this only happened once so it may simply have been a slip-up that you're aware of, but here I noticed that you placed an ellipse on an end of the sausage that the contour curves tell us is facing away from the viewer. Remember that these ellipses are no different from the contour curves, in that they're all just contour lines running along the surface of the form. It's just that when the tip faces the viewer, we can see all the way around the surface, resulting in a full ellipse rather than just a partial curve. But, in this case if the end is pointing away from us, there would be no ellipse at all.

Continuing onto the insect constructions, you've really knocked this one out of the park. I think one of the big reasons is because of how carefully you've followed the demonstrations - including the more recent informal demos, like the shrimp and the lobster. These in particular stress the importance of ensuring that every action we take occurs in 3D space - where we're manipulating complete, new, tangible forms, and establishing how they relate to the existing structure in such a way that they respect and reinforce the solid nature of that existing structure, rather than contradicting it and flattening out the result with actions taken purely in 2D space, where we only modify the silhouettes of the forms present in the scene, rather than those 3D forms themselves.

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. Not modifying the silhouettes of our forms, as shown here, is one of those useful restrictions we can apply to ourselves. A 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.

You've held to this principle very well overall, by defining the relationships between the different stages of construction across most of these.

Continuing on, one thing I did notice is 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. Generally you only really deviated by neglecting to define the joint between the sausage segments, or where you were tackling an older demo that simply didn't use the technique, although there were some cases like this leaf leg bug's back egs where you drifted farther from the formula.

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! All in all you've done very well. 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.
10:50 AM, Thursday July 7th 2022

Thanks so much for the feedback! I'll admit the leaf-footed bug was a bit rushed. I think on the whole I did try and consciously stick to the method but probably need to spend more time overall and slow down on the drawing studies. This will probably help with some proportion errors too.

Anyway, thanks again! Looking forward to lesson 5. :)


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