6:42 AM, Friday May 6th 2022
I'm glad to hear that you've had a better time sticking to the 50% rule - and that you've been listening to Steven Zapata. He's definitely an excellent source when it comes to developing a healthier mindset.
Starting with your organic intersections, there's nothing fancy or out of the ordinary here, but you've nailed the two main elements of this exercise. You've arranged the forms such that they create a solid, believable pile, with each sausage settling under the force of gravity. You've also established your cast shadows in such a way that they wrap along the surfaces beneath them, although I did notice that there is some potential inconsistency in the direction of your cast shadows - although this isn't for certain.
We can see some shadows being cast towards the left, and others to the right, and there's two possible causes for this. On one hand, you may consciously be putting your light source high above the pile, centered over it. This would generally result in much smaller shadows (think high-noon, where the shadows get really small), but that's really only the case with sunlight, which comes from very, very far away. If the light source were above the pile, but much closer, then you could ostensibly get more dramatic shadows like this. Alternatively, you may simply not have really thought too much about where the light source was going to be.
Either way, I would definitely recommend that you do these exercises with a light source leaning to one side or the other, simply because it does force you to think about how the resulting shadows will behave, rather than minimizing the problem altogether.
Continuing onto your animal constructions, you have done a fantastic job of building up these complex creatures through the build up of individual, complete, fully enclosed forms, one at a time. Your use of additional masses shows excellent consideration for how they wrap around the structures beneath them, and you're quite consistent in the use of contour lines to help establish the joints/connections between different forms as well. On top of that, you're extremely meticulous - not allowing yourself to jump and skip steps, but rather always thinking of it as a puzzle, finding that next little form that'll help you capture a specific element from your reference, but never attempting to correct any mistakes or inaccuracies.
That said, I am seeing a few points I want to bring to your attention that should help you continue to push yourself in the right direction as you move forwards:
You're doing an excellent job with the construction of your heads, although I do have a suggestion in regards to how to approach the eyelids. Instead of drawing the simple, iconic eye shape, try constructing the lids as their own individual additional masses, as shown here. This will help you focus even more on how they wrap around the eyeball structure - something you are certainly doing, but that can be pushed further.
When you build up additional masses along your animals' legs, you tend to focus more on forms that impact the silhouette of the given limb. There's also a lot of value in considering the pieces that fit inbetween those masses - basically the additional masses that sit internally within the limb's silhouette. This basically helps establish how the ones that do impact the silhouette fit together, helping to define their internal edges, as shown here on another student's work.
Also, I can see many different approaches to handling feet here. They're generally pretty valid (at least where you do block in the toes), but there are some where you tend to leave them at a slightly simpler state, like with your sphynx cats. For this, I find it very useful to work with "boxy" forms - that is, forms with strategic corners that help imply the presence of distinct planes, and the internal edges between them. If we look at this sphynx cat's feet, there's generally just one edge that actually touches the ground, making the foot silhouette feel more like a flat shape, than a solid form. Conversely, this one's feet have corners that imply a distinct front/side/top face for each paw. We can take this premise and expand upon it, by adding yet more boxy forms for each of the toes, as shown here, to build up a foot that is still relatively simple (the lack of internal edges helps avoid clutter), but manages to feel solid and convey more structure.
As to your question about the goat, I'm a little uncertain of what it is that you're asking, but I think I might understand - there may simply be a bit of a wording issue. You asked about the intersection between the mammals (mammaries? udders?) and the sausage (the torso sausage?), and whether you should have used a full circle instead. If I'm understanding you correctly, then you're asking about this line - in which case, I see no issue with how you've done it there. You're effectively establishing how that ball form and the mass above it are connecting, and you've defined that quite well.
So, that about covers it - you've done a fantastic job, so I'll happily go ahead and mark this lesson as complete. Keep up the great work!
Feel free to move onto the 250 cylinder challenge, which is a prerequisite for lesson 6.