12:44 AM, Friday April 2nd 2021
Overall you have done a pretty good job with your construction, but in a lot of ways, your efforts have been directed somewhat incorrectly. To put it simply, you've clearly been very focused on producing a detailed end result, and while you still stuck to a lot of the main principles of the course and this lesson, most of the detail you added didn't really help towards the overall goal we have here. In some ways, it obfuscated a lot of your good work, and in some places made a bit of a mess.
What we're doing in this course can be broken into two distinct sections - construction and texture - and they both focus on the same concept. With construction we're communicating to the viewer what they need to know to understand how they might manipulate this object with their hands, were it in front of them. With texture, we're communicating to the viewer what they need to know to understand what it'd feel like to run their fingers over the object's various surfaces. Both of these focus on communicating three dimensional information. Both sections have specific jobs to accomplish, and none of it has to do with making the drawing look nice.
Therefore the marks we put down for texture serve a particular purpose, and when you add texture - especially a lot of the arbitrary little lines you added here and there along the animals' body (well after already having given an impression of short fur) didn't really accomplish that overall goal any better. They were largely superfluous.
When working through your drawabox drawings in the future, think about what it is you're trying to achieve with your drawings, and focus on concrete goals. "A detailed drawing" isn't concrete, nor is "a nice drawing". Instead, try to think in terms of who is looking at the drawing in the end, and what they get out of it. What information is transmitted from you to them, by way of this collection of lines on the page. Allow that perspective to steer your actions, and to rein you in when you get too caught up in it all.
This is particularly helpful in regards to what you called out yourself - "I still have issues maintaining nice, clean lines". Maintaining clean lines is a choice one makes by taking the time to think, consider and plan prior to each execution. Arguably many parts of your core construction were pretty clean, but when you got into detail, your linework tended to get a little more erratic and haphazard, focusing more on putting down a quantity of marks (especailly when conveying fur) rather than considering the quality of each stroke. As a result, your lines don't appear clean and purposefully designed.
Your wording however implies a passive role in this. It's kind of interesting how the way in which we describe things impacts how we engage with them. To describe something passively to a point absolves us of our responsibility. To describe it actively reminds us that it was a direct result of how we chose to behave.
Long story short, you've got the skill and the capacity, but you haven't yet taken hold of the steering wheel. You're allowing the car to drive itself. Now there's a metaphor that won't make much sense before too long.
Moving onto more concrete, specific issues, there are a few things that caught my eye. I've marked out some of them on this page of lions:
I noticed that you have a tendency to skip a step when adding fur. Your fur should be added to an existing structure, just building directly onto its silhouette - not creating a whole new mass of its own. So for example, as shown in these notes from the lesson, you wouldn't jump right into the fur - the ball form upon which it's built should be added first.
Your head construction is coming along well, though sometimes I am noticing that the eye sockets can be designed a little more intentionally. In the explanation from the informal demos page, I show the use of a pretty big pentagonal shape, with the point facing downwards. I've found this to be extremely effective for constructing eye sockets, specifically because of how it leaves a wedge for the muzzle to fit into, and a flat top across which the brow ridge can be laid. Try to follow this particular recipe when constructing your head structures.
Also, remember that the eyeball is generally quite a bit bigger than the visible portion - so don't be afraid to draw it larger.
As seen on the shoulder of the top-right lion, always look for places where you can wrap your additional masses around existing parts of the structure - for example, the shoulder mass is always a good piece to press your masses against. It's this interaction with other forms that should influence the very specific, designed shape of the additional masses.
One thing that helps with the shape here is to think about how the mass would behave when existing first in the void of empty space, on its own. It all comes down to the silhouette of the mass - here, with nothing else to touch it, our mass would exist like a soft ball of meat or clay, made up only of outward curves. A simple circle for a silhouette.
Then, as it presses against an existing structure, the silhouette starts to get more complex. It forms inward curves wherever it makes contact, responding directly to the forms that are present. The silhouette is never random, of course - always changing in response to clear, defined structure. You can see this demonstrated in this diagram.
Anyway, all in all I still feel your structure is coming along very well. You just need to tone the superfluous details down, and bring yourself back to focusing on the core structure above all. Really any situation where the detail obfuscates that structure, rather than reinforcing it, is a situation where you need to question exactly why that's happening. Since most of our construction is based on what we can see in our reference image, it's not that common that we'd construct something only to contradict or hide it with the addition of fur. Instead, the fur would generally follow the same contours, reinforcing our understanding of the forms we're looking at.
So, keep working on that, but I'll go ahead and mark this lesson as complete.
Move onto the 250 cylinder challenge, which is a prerequisite for lesson 6.