Lesson 5: Applying Construction to Animals

12:13 AM, Thursday February 25th 2021

Imgur: The magic of the Internet

Direct Link: https://i.imgur.com/ZLcK9Kv.jpg

Post with 21 views.

I included more pages since I tend to draw big. This was a challenging but fun lesson, I had a harder time to draw animals if fur or feathers were blocking the shapes of their body. Appreciate the feedback!

0 users agree
1:44 AM, Friday February 26th 2021

Looking through your work, there's a lot of good stuff here, but there are also a number of points I want to draw your attention to that should help you improve your overall progress here.

The first point I want to make is a big one, and it's one I called out in my critique of your Lesson 4 work: Do not alter the silhouette of a form once it's been drawn. Every addition to a construction must be a solid, complete, enclosed 3D form of its own. Don't attempt to simply "envelope" forms with new silhouettes, don't add lines that only create part of a form (closing itself off by being pressed against the silhouette of another form), and so on.

On this bear I've pointed out a number of places where you broke this rule. In some cases you bridge across from one form to another by simply adding a basic line, but in others you end up "enveloping" the animal in a new layer of fur. That's an understandable mistake - remember that fur is just something we apply to the silhouettes of our forms. There should not be a gap between your fur and the forms it's being applied to. Furthermore, as explained here you should be drawing each tuft of fur with a separate, purposeful mark, designing them intentionally instead of falling into automatic, repeating patterns or mindless back-and-forth. This will ensure you don't break the third principle of markmaking from Lesson 1.

On that bear I also pointed out the fact that you're not adhering entirely to the sausage method when constructing your legs. You're straying by using forms other than simple sausages, and by not reinforcing the joints between forms with contour lines. This last point applies across the board - it helps a great deal to improve the 3D illusion by defining the relationships between forms with contour lines. You did a better job of this back in Lesson 4, so I didn't dwell too much on it, but I did state that this technique would be used throughout Lesson 5 as well when showing you the dog leg demo.

So - there are some pretty big areas where you neglected to apply points that were raised in my last critique. Paying close attention to the feedback you're given and ensuring that you read it repeatedly - even right before doing your Lesson 5 work - is a good idea to keep it fresh in your memory.

The next point I wanted to touch on has to do with how you go about creating the impression that your new, additional masses actually "wrap" around the existing structure. Right now the way you've drawn them does feel more like they're flat shapes being pasted onto the page - but there's a way we can fix that.

The key is to think about first how the additional mass exists on its own, floating in the void. Here it would be in its simplest possible form, like a ball of soft meat or clay, made up entirely of outward curves - since there's nothing there to press in on it. We only start to develop complexity in that silhouette when we press it against the existing structure of our animal. As it makes contact, it develops more inward curves and corners, conforming to the surfaces it's pressing against - though the edges not making contact remain simple. You can see this concept demonstrated in this diagram.

The point is that the silhouette matters. We're not just slapping an arbitrary shape on the page - instead we're thinking about how, when it presses against the other forms, its silhouette is going to purposefully respond to the specific forms it touches. At no point should the form's silhouette have complexity without a corresponding form to cause it, but it also should have some complexity to correspond with every form we know to be present.

Here's some additional masses added to one of your pages of rabbits. I also noted some areas where you opted to take shortcuts, switching from construction to just drawing things from observation without establishing how those structures actually exist in 3D space. Every drawing we do in this course is an exercise in spatial reasoning - so just drawing things purely from observation without first considering how they exist in 3D space (explicitly on the page by constructing them) isn't useful to us here.

Also, I did notice that you have a tendency to go back over marks, or draw a little more roughly. Don't forget that you should be using the ghosting method for every mark you draw, and you should not be going back over marks without a good reason. Line weight, for example, is one potential reason but it has its own rules. It should only be applied in key localized areas to clarify how specific forms overlap one another. It shouldn't be applied to the entire silhouette of a given object or form, just for the hell of it.

The last thing I wanted to offer is that while your head construction is certainly moving in the right direction - you're thinking about the eye socket and moving in the direction of getting the muzzle to fit up against it (though this isn't always fully constructed and defined), I do want you to read through this explanation from the informal demos page. It goes into greater depth about how to think about the different structures of the head and how they all fit together, as well as how the eye socket is the first step to separating a rounded surface into a series of more complex planes.

So, I've outlined a number of things for you to work on. I'm going to assign some additional pages below, so you can demonstrate your understanding of this material.

Next Steps:

Please submit 4 additional pages of animal constructions. I recommend that you stay away from detail/texture (like fur) for now and focus only on building each construction fully and intentionally, without skipping any steps or taking any shortcuts.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
2:02 AM, Friday March 12th 2021


Been meaning to reply back sooner....but things kinda got busy. Much appreciate your feedback! I reread your notes, I was aiming to be more mindful with my marks. I still feel that I'm not wrapping the form around the silhouttes correctly, or drawing the sausages for the legs as well.


6:49 PM, Sunday March 14th 2021

So while your overall constructions are coming along well, the two issues you pointed out are indeed the ones I'd have called out myself.

To start with the sausages, you are indeed not sticking to simple sausage forms throughout, specifically for the upper thighs of animals like your wolves. This is a conscious decision you're making, though your own phrasing makes it out to be a passive issue that is just happening. Don't think of it that way - you are in control of the forms you attempt to draw, and you very specifically did draw seg segments that were decidedly larger on one end than the other. Construct those as simple sausages, and then add bulk by introducing additional masses to that structure afterwards. Don't attempt to address many different problems all at once.

As to the additional masses, it seems the way you're constructing those forms is still ignoring the presence of any other masses on the structure. As shown here, you need to be mindful of the presence of things like the shoulder and hip masses, having your additional masses actually wrap around them instead of just overlapping them as though they're not present. Furthermore, try and stretch those additional masses further so they actually take opportunities to wrap around those other structures, in the cases that they're barely touching, or just a little ways away from one another. These are opportunities to emphasize the relationships between the forms you're adding and the structures that already exist.

It's common for students to pile on additional contour lines because they feel that their additional masses don't feel 3D enough, that they just look like flat shapes pasted on top of their constructions. Unfortunately, more contour lines don't solve the problems at hand. It's all in how the silhouette itself is drawn (as described before, when I presented this diagram explaining how the silhouette wraps around the existing structure).

Looking at your previous submission, there is definitely a lot of overall progress here - but there are specific choices you have to consciously make when building up these constructions. You're very close, but there is a little further to go.

Next Steps:

Please submit 2 more pages of animal constructions. Focus on correcting these two specific issues. Also, I want you to refrain from adding contour lines to your forms like this. You can (and should) continue to use the contour lines that define the intersection/relationship between different 3D forms, but don't add any that sit on the surface of a single form.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
9:22 AM, Wednesday March 24th 2021

I was more mindful of how additional masses sat on top of silhouette forms, also how they interact with other forms as well. Also I hope the legs look more like simple sausages, I think I get thrown off a bit looking at a reference and breaking down how legs and thigh area connect with each other.


View more comments in this thread
The recommendation below is an advertisement. Most of the links here are part of Amazon's affiliate program (unless otherwise stated), which helps support this website. It's also more than that - it's a hand-picked recommendation of something I've used myself. If you're interested, here is a full list.
The Science of Deciding What You Should Draw

The Science of Deciding What You Should Draw

Right from when students hit the 50% rule early on in Lesson 0, they ask the same question - "What am I supposed to draw?"

It's not magic. We're made to think that when someone just whips off interesting things to draw, that they're gifted in a way that we are not. The problem isn't that we don't have ideas - it's that the ideas we have are so vague, they feel like nothing at all. In this course, we're going to look at how we can explore, pursue, and develop those fuzzy notions into something more concrete.

This website uses cookies. You can read more about what we do with them, read our privacy policy.