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8:06 PM, Monday March 15th 2021

So, just to start - when all the pages in your submission are rotated 90 degrees, it makes critiquing your work considerably more difficult than it needs to be. The odd page being rotated isn't a huge deal, but this is a little excessive.

Starting with your organic intersections, these are looking pretty good. You're capturing the interaction between the forms fairly well, with a believable sense of gravity, and aside from the far right side, you generally keep the shadows consistent with a light source in the upper right. Of course this does mean there shouldn't be a shadow coming out on the right side, but it's a small mistake, just keep it in mind in the future.

Looking over your animal constructions, there is definitely a lot of positive things here, but there is also a general tendency towards being a little quick to put marks down without thinking through them all the way. This impatience does lead to some sloppiness and inefficiency, that I will point out, and will hopefully yield better results overall in the future.

The first point I want to raise is simply that you're waaay overusing contour lines, and because you're adding so many of them, you're not actually drawing each individual one as carefully and mindfully as you could, resulting in many whose curvature is just a little too shallow (like those on the penguin's belly). The thing about contour lines - and really any tool you have access to - is that you need to actually consider just what it is you're trying to achieve through their use. With contour lines in particular, especially those that sit on the surface of a single form, they tend to be subject to diminishing returns. That means that your first contour line may have more notable impact, your second less so, and your third even less.

What matters more is where those contour lines are placed. For example, with the sausage method, you are instructed to put a contour line at the joint between sausage segments to define the relationship between those forms in 3D space, and not to place them along the lengths of the segments. This is because the one at the joint will already do more than enough to make the sausage chain feel solid. Piling on more contour lines in between doesn't add any benefit, but instead it can distract the student from putting adequate time and effort into the contour lines that matter most.

Taking that further, to the additional masses, here students do sometimes have a habit of piling contour lines onto them - but like what I explained above, this can actually distract us from where our focus should be: in how we actually shape the silhouette of these additional masses as we draw them, ensuring that they are not amorphous blobs but rather having each individual curve and complexity in that silhouette respond directly to contact being made with some solid structure.

The thing is, the contour lines themselves only take a form and give it the illusion of volume - so you could ostensibly draw some random blob and then use contour lines to make it seem more three dimensional. The shortcoming here is that in doing so, you're still not establishing how this additional mass relates to the structure it's supposed to be attaching to - it's just being made to feel 3D in isolation. Conversely, if you just focus on the silhouette of your mass, and don't add any contour lines, it'll still feel 3D purely based off the relationship established with the main structure.

The main risk is that when students fall into the trap of just using contour lines to make things look 3D, they start to think that the solution to their problems are just more contour lines (rather than focusing on the silhouette).

All that said, you definitely have made some good use of the silhouettes of your additional masses, and you certainly are thinking about how they wrap around one another. This can and should be exaggerated and pushed further however, and with a decreased reliance on contour lines for every situation, I think you will be able to achieve that.

The most important way for you to improve, I believe, is to simply give yourself more time with every mark, to be more intentional with them. Many of your drawings give the impression that your lines are a little more haphazard, that things aren't necessarily going where you want them to. While that's normal, and does improve with practice, investing the adequate amount of time into each stroke is critical for achieving this. Note how in these examples I've drawn over some of your cats, every mark is placed in a specific manner, and is the result of keen forethought. I avoid unnecessary gaps, and always focus on how a given mass wraps around the structure beneath it.

We can particularly see the difference that intent makes when looking at the cat head I drew over. In yours, your marks were more timid, and less committed. It was unclear really what y ou were after when you were defining the eye sockets, and there was no clear form blocked out for the muzzle. I strongly recommend that you look through these notes on head construction in the informal demos page. This explanation will eventually be the basis of the main lesson notes (I've refined the overall approach and explanation, but I won't be able to incorporate it into the main lesson demos until I've gotten through the revisions for all the lessons prior to this). Those notes explain how you should be thinking about your head construction, focusing on all the components as pieces that fit together (rather than having them float loosely relative to one another).

Additionally, using this up-turned pentagon for the eye sockets provides an excellent wedge in which the muzzle can fit, as well as a flat surface for the brow ridge to sit upon. The specific shape of your eye sockets matters quite a bit, and right now it doesn't appear that you're approaching that with as much forethought as you should.

This critique's getting a bit long, so I'm going to just point at a couple other things quickly before assigning your revisions:

  • There are drawings here where you exhibit strong observational skills, and others where it feels like you're not paying as much attention to your reference images. The horses, for example, appear to be on the weak side of this, with the constructions becoming much more simplified as a result.

  • Remember to use the ghosting method as instructed - you seem to be pretty haphazard in your use of it. This is something I called out in my critique of your lesson 4 work, so I recommend you go back over what was written there.

  • You seem to be filling in the eyes with black a lot. Unfortunately, given that we're working with nothing but solid black and solid white, we don't really have the range of tones to be able to capture the local colour of our objects, and instead need to ignore it outright in order to maintain a consistent overall approach. So, reserve your areas of filled, solid black for cast shadow shapes only. Treat everything else like it's covered in the same flat white.

As a whole you are moving in the right direction, but there are a lot of ways in which you're just a little too loose, a little too impatient. You're clearly showing a well developing grasp of how to think in 3D space, but remember that these drawings aren't an opportunity to show off where your grasp of 3D space is right now - they are exercises to help you continue pushing it forwards, and solidifying it further. So taking the time to be more intentional with your markmaking, and to think about every addition in terms of being a complete and enclosed form, rather than individual marks that come together to create something 3D, is very important. You should have ample opportunity in the revisions to demonstrate your understanding of this. You'll find them assigned below.

Next Steps:

Please submit 4 additional pages of animal constructions. I'd like you to work on no more than one drawing per day - some students find this helps them to focus on putting as much time into that drawing as they can, and to push back the temptation to jump into a new drawing too quickly. If you need to, you can also spread a single drawing out over multiple sittings or days.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
6:45 PM, Monday March 29th 2021
edited at 6:46 PM, Mar 29th 2021

Hey, thanks for the critique. Sorry about the rotated images. I meant to go in and correct them but then I forgot...I would've fixed it if you sent them back so you wouldn't have to view them all sideways.

Anyway, here are the revisions with an attempt to keep all the feedback in mind: https://imgur.com/a/9z8wVxy

Thanks again.

edited at 6:46 PM, Mar 29th 2021
9:00 PM, Monday March 29th 2021

This is definitely looking much better - especially with the cat drawings on the second page. There are definitely areas on the monkeys where you're allowing yourself to use open shapes on its head - there's nothing wrong exactly about how you use them, except that it deviates from the main focus of how we're working through these exercises - so when doing drawabox, remember to keep your forms fully complete and enclosed, defining how they relate to the existing structure.

Anyway, all in all this is coming along well. I'll go ahead and mark this lesson as complete.

Next Steps:

Move onto the 250 cylinder challenge, which is a prerequisite for lesson 6.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
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