Lesson 4: Applying Construction to Insects and Arachnids

11:14 AM, Wednesday July 21st 2021

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Here is my submission for lesson four!

I definately liked this one better than the plants and I felt a bit better at drawing these too. I can definitely see some of my own improvement from the first couple of drawings here compared to some of the last ones. But I still feel my line confidense isn't all that and sometimes I draw shapes I don't want. For example: I would often draw a leg part way thicker than it's supposed to be. Any tips regarding that or whatever else would be great.

Thank you for your time!

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7:27 PM, Thursday July 22nd 2021

Starting with your organic forms, these are coming along pretty well. The lines are confident but there are a few things to keep an eye on:

  • I'm seeing alot of pinching and swelling here. Make sure you're sticking to the characteristics of a simple sausage as explained in the instructions. They're not that far off, but i think you're straying from them consistently enough that it looks like you weren't aware of this. Remember, sausages are supposed to be two balls connected by a tube of consistent width.

  • Your contour curves have their degrees all the same. Remember that, as discussed in the lesson 1 ellipses video that these should get wider as it moves away from the viewer along the sausage form.

Moving onto your insect constructions, overall I think you've done a pretty good job on them. I'm pleased to see that you're building these solid three dimensional forms in phases, defining how these forms sit in space and their relationships among one another. There are a few things I want to call out though.

Starting with this ant you showed, I've marked in red where you attempted to extend the silhouette by adding flat open shapes on its head.

Instead, if we want to change what's already there, we should introduce other three dimensional forms and establish the relationships between the additional masses either by defining the intersection with contour lines (as mentioned in lesson 2's form intersections) or by having them wrap around one another, where the presence of one form displaces the other. You can see this in practice in this beetle horn demo and this ant head demo.

I also recommend you look at the two demos on the top of the informal demos page, specifically the shrimp demo and lobster demo. These show how we can build up the insects in stages and see how the additional forms sit in space. This is all about accepting that everything we see is three dimensional and getting the viewer to believe in the lie we are trying to create.

Moving onto the topic of legs, I noticed you seemed to employ different strategies here. While not uncommon for students to be aware about the basic properties of the sausage method, but instead they decide not to adhere to them because the legs they're looking at don't actually look like a chain of sausages to them. In your case though, it seemed like you were aware but simply strayed alot.

These are challenges we must deal with because usually we have situations that lean too far on one side or the other, either something being solid but stiff, or gestural but flat. The sausage method as a base structure allows us to capture the solidity with the gestural nature of legs. Once in place, we can lay in additional masses to convey the complexities as shown here, here, this ant's leg, and even in this dog's leg. This'll become relevant coming into the next lesson.

Lastly, there is an issue with your line weight. Specifically, on this beetle and on this fly. I'm seeing heavier marks along their silhouette. Remember that line weight shouldn't be used loosely like that. It's a tool with a specific use, meant to be applied locally to clarify overlaps of one object over another.

While there is a good deal to keep in mind here, i think it's fine if i marked this as complete. Just make sure you're applying these principles moving forward.

Next Steps:

Lesson 5

This community member feels the lesson should be marked as complete, and 2 others agree. The student has earned their completion badge for this lesson and should feel confident in moving onto the next lesson.
11:07 AM, Sunday July 25th 2021

Sorry for the late response. I got vaccinated and the side effects fricking kicked my butt.

But wow! This is probably one of the most in depth and comprehensible critiques I've gotten (which is saying a lot honestly cause I've gotten some great critiques). So thank you for your time and effort.

Regarding the sausages, I'm well aware of both those points and I most likely were while drawing them. I just think I lose control or stop thinking about it for a second and draw something else from what I intended. Then I try to be subtle about the contour lines since they're not supposed to be too foreshortened. But I end up doing the same curve over and over instead.

Regarding the ant I totally agree. I never thought to use that technique in that way but I'm glad it was brought up now.

About the legs I'm a bit confused though, because I feel like I always used sausages? The quality of those sausages vary immensely and that's again because of my poor line control and confidence. After looking over those great examples you gave and just hindsight in general I definitely could've done a lot more to clarify their construction. Whether that was through wrapped forms or adding balls to thicker portions like they do here . Is that what you meant or is there something else I'm missing?

Lastly I agree with what you said about the line weight. I couldn't tell you what happened exactly but it I guess it doesn't matter too much.

Again, thank you for your time and effort. It's greatly appreciated :)

4:30 PM, Sunday July 25th 2021

Yes that's what i meant. Remember to stick to the characteristics of a simple sausage - two balls of equal size connected by a tube of consistent width - is what we should striving for, before adding those masses later on.

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