Lesson 2: Contour Lines, Texture and Construction
12:38 PM, Friday September 25th 2020
This was hard, but I can see my progress. I definitely need to focus more on 50/50 rule
Starting with your ellipses, you're definitely demonstrating use of confident, fluid linework, and are doing a good job of pushing how those arrows flow through the world. There are two things I would recommend however:
Instead of having the motion of the arrows push primarily in one dimension (the zigzagging is very tight here) try to aim for a much more loose, flowing zigzag that goes back and forth in longer strokes. You get a little closer to this in the bottom right of your second page.
When doing those longer zigzags, make sure you capture how the gaps between the zigzagging sections get smaller as we look farther back, due to foreshortening. You can see this demonstrated here.
Moving on, you've definitely paid a fair bit of attention to sticking to simple sausages, although there are some ways in which you're not quite adhering to the characteristics of simple sausages as mentioned in the instructions. You're not far, but there are some points to keep in mind:
We want the ends to be circular/spherical - some of y ours get kind of stretched, resulting in ellipses more than circles
The ends should be equal in size. You usually get this right, but there are a few that have one end somewhat bigger than the other.
The width of the sausage should remain consistent - you've got some areas, especially when the sausages bend, where they tend to pinch a little through the midsection.
Looking at the contour ellipses, you're definitely drawing these very confidently, which keeps them round and smooth, and helps push the idea that they're wrapping properly around this rounded surface. You do however need to work on their alignment to the general flow of the sausage as a whole, as many of them tend to slant a little this way and that, instead of running perpendicular to the sausage itself (which is represented by the minor axis line - though it's normal for us to kinda mess up while trying to draw it through the sausage's center). Your contour curves are much the same - you've even got one where the minor axis line is basically straight, and the contour curves themselves very clearly slant rather than aligning to it properly. Definitely something to work on.
Lastly, I noticed that you drew the degree of most of your contour lines to be pretty consistent throughout the full length of the forms. The degree of a contour line basically represents the orientation of that cross-section in space, relative to the viewer, and as we slide along the sausage form, the cross section is either going to open up (allowing us to see more of it) or turn away from the viewer (allowing us to see less), as shown here.
Continuing onto your texture analyses, here you've mostly done a great job of moving in the right direction. The first row is especially well done because you're clearly relying on individual, purposefully designed shadow shapes, and you're using them to control the density of your textures as you shift from left to right. In your next two rows however, you definitely adhere to the principle of this in many ways, but the use of simple lines does cause you to outline more of your cracks, rather than focusing entirely on the actual shadows being cast by the forms.
To put it simply, you're focusing on drawing the cracks, the negative space - not focusing on drawing the shadows cast by the chunks of stone/wood. Aside from purposely trying to think always about the actual forms that are present in your texture, and relating each one to a specific shadow that you're drawing, another thing that can help avoid this is to draw each and every one of your textural marks using this two-step process. It forces you to think of them all as shapes (never as simple strokes).
As a whole though you're moving in the right direction and are demonstrating strong observational skills.
Admittedly, in your dissections I think you actually hit the brakes a little bit on the observation part of things. You are clearly capable of high attention to detail, but in your dissections you had a greater tendency of working from memory (which usually happens when we're not observing our reference frequently and consistently). As explained here the longer we spend without looking at the source material, the more opportunity our brain has to oversimplify the things we have seen, which we store in our memory. As a result the things we draw based on that recollection comes out really cartoonishly.
Also, keeping the matter of avoiding outlining your forms in mind, I recommend you give these notes a read.
Admittedly your second page is definitely much better than the first, and you clearly show way more patience in studying your reference. For this I have just one recommendation - draw your sausages bigger, so you're given much more room to work through those textures. You ended up trying to cram them in a fairly limited space, and while you did a pretty good job of that, there was ample room on the page to get much more resolution in there.
Moving onto your form intersections, overall you've done a pretty good job of constructing these forms such that they feel cohesive and consistent within the same space. You also did a good job of executing your lines with the ghosting method, with a great deal of patience and care, which all contributed to the solidity of the forms. Just one thing - remember that as explained here you're meant to avoid stretched forms like longer cylinders.
Along with drawing your forms well, you're also off to a solid start with the intersections themselves. This exercise is meant to merely introduce students to the idea of thinking about how the forms relate to one another in 3D space, and how those relationships can be defined on the page. We're not actually concerned with whether or not students get them right at this stage - mistakes are normal, as it's a very difficult concept. That said you are doing pretty well. This is something we'll continue to explore through a variety of ways throughout the rest of this course, and you appear to be well primed to benefit from that kind of analysis.
Lastly, your organic intersections are off to a good start - the second page is DEFINITELY way better than the first, and shows a more solid grasp of how you're meant to think about the interaction between the forms as they exist in 3D space. It's clear that you've learned a fair bit from this exercise between those two pages, and as a whole I'm pleased with your progress.
All in all while there are definitely things to keep an eye on and to continue working on, most of this is normal stuff. As such, I'm happy to mark this lesson as complete.
Feel free to move onto lesson 3.