Lesson 4: Applying Construction to Insects and Arachnids

11:37 PM, Tuesday May 17th 2022

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Does drawabox go into proportions eventually?

Also, I included my progress on the texture challenge, am I headed in the right direction?

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10:20 PM, Wednesday May 18th 2022

To answer your question, Drawabox does not get into proportions (except in some small, relevant ways in Lessons 6 and 7 that are more specific to geometric construction rather than the organic stuff we're doing here), as they are not technically required for the core focus of the course, which is developing a student's spatial reasoning skills. Everything we do cover comes back to that central goal, and anything that is not strictly necessary for it is left out. For that same reason, we don't actually get worried about students whose insects and animals are off in their proportions, unless they're really egregiously so, in which case it's usually more a matter of not investing as much time as is required in the observation of one's work. In other words, rushing.

It is however entirely possible to misjudge proportions, or to accidentally execute a mark to be longer or shorter, or larger or smaller, than intended - while still having the end result come out feeling solid and three dimensional.

Either way, looking at what you've submitted here, you are not currently in a position where I feel you need to be worried about your proportions.

Starting with your organic forms with contour curves, you are by and large doing quite well, although I think that you may want to put a little more time into the execution of each individual contour curve, and the use of the ghosting method (specifically the planning/preparation phases) in order to improve the overall control with which they're executed. Right now it does look like you're going from one to the next rather quickly, which is impacting how accurately each curve is able to fit snugly within the sausage's silhouette.

Also, don't forget that you should be drawing through each and every ellipse two full times before lifting your pen, as discussed back in Lesson 1.

Continuing onto your insect constructions, there's a lot you're doing quite well here. As a whole you're doing a great job of focusing on working from simple to complex, and avoiding taking steps that jump too far head in complexity. Also, throughout your work here there are a lot of places where you're making a point of thinking in 3D space, and actually engaging with your structures in such a way that you reinforce their 3D nature.

That said, there are places where you make certain small choices that counteract this strength, and I think taking a moment to discuss this will ultimately help you get more out of this kind of drawing exercise. 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.

Here on one of your constructions I identified in red where you've cut back into the silhouettes of your forms (mainly to refine the shape of those sausages), and in blue where you've attempted to build onto the structure but without introducing a complete form - just attaching a shape to what's already there, which can only really exist in two dimensions.

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 forward, you have generally been quite good about sticking to the sausage method when constructing your insects' legs, which is very good to see. This same approach will play a big role in the next lesson as well. I did however notice that when tackling your grasshopper, you did deviate from it. Totally understandable, but the sausage method goes beyond simply allowing us to capture one kind of leg structure. 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 - and here we circle back to the idea of building upon structures with complete, 3D forms - 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).

That about covers it! As a whole I'm still pleased with your progress. Be sure to keep the points I've raised here in mind as you move onto the next lesson, but each of these points can continue to be addressed there. 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.
10:05 PM, Tuesday May 31st 2022
edited at 10:24 PM, May 31st 2022


edited at 10:24 PM, May 31st 2022
11:00 PM, Tuesday May 31st 2022

Oof, that was a rough series of edits. I get you were trying to delete the message, so I assume you found the answer yourself, but just in case (because it doesn't hurt to answer it anyway):

The best approach to use here is to ensure that the first drawing on a given page is given as much room as it requires. Only when that drawing is done should we assess whether there is enough room for another. If there is, we should certainly add it, and reassess once again. If there isn't, it's perfectly okay to have just one drawing on a given page as long as it is making full use of the space available to it.

So there are circumstances where you may want to just have one drawing take up the whole page, but it depends on the situation. Ultimately, just focus on giving each drawing as much space as it requires.

12:43 AM, Wednesday June 1st 2022

Ok, thank you

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