Lesson 5: Applying Construction to Animals

3:10 PM, Sunday June 5th 2022

DaB Lesson 5 - Album on Imgur

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Hi there,

How are you today?

Here is my submission for the lesson 5 homework.

I had to take a little more than two months off because of the random part of life. I hope I didn’t fall too far behind.

I look forward to your advice and thank you in advance for criticising my homework.

With kind regards

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8:28 PM, Monday June 6th 2022

As a whole, I'm quite pleased with how you've managed here. I do have some suggestions to offer, but as a whole you've put a lot of effort towards applying the concepts both from the lesson and from the things I'd raised in previous critiques, and it definitely shows.

Starting with your organic intersections, you've handled both the challenges of designing each sausage form such that it conveys a believable relationship with the forms beneath it (under the force of gravity and all that), as well as those involved in maintaining consistent, believable cast shadows that wrap around the existing structure. The only thing I'd advise you against is the upright sausage on the far right here, which ends up feeling kind of unstable, because it was added towards the end. Try to stick to building up the pile in ways that will continue to make it feel stable and "settled" - as though all of the slumping and shifting has finished, and the pile will remain more or less the same from moment to moment. The far right sausage definitely feels like it'll topple in the next second.

Continuing onto your animal constructions, I can see a lot of attention being paid to how each step builds upon the last, with additional masses being appended to your construction one at a time, always considering how their silhouettes can be designed in order to believably wrap around and "grip" the structure they're attaching to. I really only have a limited number of points to suggest. It's not that everything else is perfect, but rather that you are speeding off in the right direction, and I am confident that with continued practice, the concepts you're already understanding will continue to improve in terms of how effectively they're being applied together.

The first suggestion I have is fairly straightforward - try to avoid the temptation to increase the thickness of your linework as you progress through the stages of construction. I can see that you are indeed always drawing your marks confidently, but there is a noticeable thickening of your linework after you've laid down your initial masses. It would be better if you stuck to that initial thickness you used at the beginning. You can of course go back in later to add line weight, but rather than applying it to the entirety of your forms' silhouettes, reserve it for the localized areas in which overlaps actually occur, as shown here. As the base linework gets thicker, drawings can get noticeably clumsier, so I would avoid applying such line weight all over.

Second, another simple point and something you are already paying some attention to that I'd simply like you to push farther. When adding additional masses to your leg structures, consider both the areas where the silhouette would be impacted, and the cases where a particular mass might not break the silhouette at all. Such cases can help to fill in the gaps between the other masses, effectively helping us understand how they all fit together into a solid, continuous structure - and of course in so doing, it helps make everything feel more grounded. Here's an example of what I mean on another student's work, where we've included the mass in between the 4 along the edge of that foreleg.

Continuing on, a quick tip about constructing feet. Feet can be tricky - if we construct them with organic blobs, they can appear flat, and we may also end up having cut into their silhouettes in order to add the toes. But there is a better approach - if you make strategic use of corners in the silhouette, we can take it from an non-descript blob into something that actually implies the presence of distinct internal planes, without having to draw all the edges between them and adding more clutter. As shown here these "boxy" forms can feel quite solid and 3D on their own, and then we can build upon them with further boxy forms if we need to add toes.

The last thing I wanted to talk about is head construction. Lesson 5 has a lot of different strategies for constructing heads, between the various demos. Given how the course has developed, and how I'm finding new, more effective ways for students to tackle certain problems. So not all the approaches shown are equal, but they do have their uses. As it stands, as explained at the top of the tiger demo page (here), the current approach that is the most generally useful, as well as the most meaningful in terms of these drawings all being exercises in spatial reasoning, is what you'll find here on the informal demos page.

There are a few key points to this approach:

  • The specific shape of the eyesockets - the specific pentagonal shape allows for a nice wedge in which the muzzle can fit in between the sockets, as well as a flat edge across which we can lay the forehead area.

  • This approach focuses heavily on everything fitting together - no arbitrary gaps or floating elements. This allows us to ensure all of the different pieces feel grounded against one another, like a three dimensional puzzle.

  • We have to be mindful of how the marks we make are cuts along the curving surface of the cranial ball - working in individual strokes like this (rather than, say, drawing the eyesocket with an ellipse) helps a lot in reinforcing this idea of engaging with a 3D structure.

Try your best to employ this method when doing constructional drawing exercises using animals in the future, as closely as you can. Sometimes it seems like it's not a good fit for certain heads, but with a bit of finagling it can still apply pretty well. To demonstrate this for another student, I found the most banana-headed rhinoceros I could, and threw together this demo.

In all fairness you do employ elements from this approach in some of your head constructions, sometimes moreso, sometimes less so, but that's already moving in the right direction. Just be sure to apply it more fully going forward, and you'll get much more out of these exercises as a result.

And that covers it! I'll go ahead and mark this lesson as complete. You should certainly be proud of that - most students do end up with some revisions assigned here (often simply because the material is not as strong and clear for this lesson as it could be, which will certainly be remedied when my overhaul gets to this point). The fact that you were able to pull it off quite well shows that you're able to take the information from the scattered sources from which it comes (the text, the videos, the previous critiques and the additional diagrams I've provided there) and make the most of it.

So, keep up the fantastic work.

Next Steps:

Feel free to move onto the 250 cylinder challenge, which is a prerequisite for lesson 6.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
3:53 PM, Tuesday June 7th 2022

Hi Uncomfortable,

as always thank you a lot for taking the time to review my homework as well as for your advices, suggetions and encouraging word. And also for the additional Rhino-head demo.

I will try my best to keep your advices out in mind for my future drawingexcersises.

So I'll be back in 250 Cylinders.

All the best to you.

Kind regards

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