Lesson 5: Applying Construction to Animals

5:14 PM, Monday January 10th 2022

Lesson 5 - Album on Imgur

Direct Link: https://i.imgur.com/JQF2y59.jpg

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lesson 5 was quite fun, although also quite difficult ahahah!

thanks in advance for looking at my drawings and reviewing them!

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10:59 AM, Wednesday March 2nd 2022


Hello, I'm going to review your work.

Starting with the organic intersections, these are largely looking good. There's a good sense of how these forms slump and sag over one another, and the cast shadows wrap around the surfaces which they're projected onto a single consistent light source. The only things to note is that some of these have pointy ends and the way you're being a bit careless when filling in the cast shadows as shown here.

Moving onto your animal constructions, I'm seeing some instances moving in the right direction but also a number of cases that calls for attention. I'll break these down to general construction, additional masses, leg construction, and head construction.

Starting with general construction, I'm glad to see you working through your forms additively rather than cutting into your forms, undermining their solidity for the most part. There are a couple of things I'd like to direct your attention to:

  • First off, the ribcage is too small, remember that the ribcage should take up about half the space and the pelvis should take up about a quarter of the space of the torso area, leaving the other half unoccupied by any solid mass as shown in this diagram. Remember that the sausage from should be sagging a little bit even if it doesn't appear that way in the reference initially.

  • There's a few instances of form shading and drawing in the stripes on the cat. This should be avoided as it serves no real purpose. Solid black shapes should be reserved strictly for cast shadows only and when applying texture (since texture is essentially a series of small bumps, cracks, or in this case, fur casting shadows).

Moving onto the additional masses, I noticed you have the tendency to overuse contour curves and as a result, placing them haphazardly and reducing their quality and effectiveness. We need to think about what the mark is meant to accomplish with each and every mark we make and if there are any other marks that are already accomplishing the same task as shown here. Going back to the point of contour lines, piling a ton of them isn't actually beneficial-they suffer from diminishing returns, so you're not really getting much out of them. But when do pile them on, we're more likely to be sloppy with it.

  • The other points come from how you're approaching the additional masses. When it comes down to it, the way the silhouette is actually designed matters alot. It helps to think about how this mass would exist on its own in the void of empty space. Think about a ball of clay existing on its own.

Then as it presses against an existing structure, the silhouette of this form gets more complex, inward curves forming where it makes contact responding to the form that's present as shown in this diagram.

In your case though, its a mixed bag. Sometimes the forms wrap around nicely, and then there are other times here where the way you're piling them shows no correlation to how these forms should sit in 3d space.

Onto the topic of leg construction, you seem to be employing different strategies for the legs. While its not uncommon for students to be aware about the characteristics 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.

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 as shown in this ant's leg and this dogs leg from lesson 5. I've drawn over your work to show how you could've used sausages for the legs on this deer.

Continuing onto the topic of head construction, Lesson 5 has a ton of different strategies in the informal demos section. Given how the course is developing new, more effective ways to construct heads so not all approaches are equal. As it stands, this tiger demo and this demo from the informal demos is whats generally more useful. This approach relies on a few key elements:

  • the specific pentagonal shape found in the eye sockets, which allows for a nice wedge in which to place the muzzle into as well as the flat area found in the forehead

  • this focuses heavily on everything fitting together-no arbitrary gaps or floating elements. This allows all the different pieces to feel grounded against one another like a three dimensional puzzle

  • we also have to be mindful as to how all the marks carve along the surface of this cranial ball, working on the individual strokes instead of using an ellipse for the eye socket.

I will say that there are a few elements of this approach in your work but still need to see it applied a bit more directly. So try your best to follow this approach as closely as you can. It might seem like sometimes its not the best fit for certain heads but with a bit of tinkering it can be done. Just look at this example of how the most banana headed rhinoceros is done using this approach.

Another point if advice that may help a great deal is to draw the eyelids wrapping around the eyeball structure as shown here.

One last thing I'd like to point out that I'm noticing is the usage of lineweight on some of your drawings. Some of these get thick along the silhouettes of the forms. Keep in mind that of all the tools we use, those are tools more geared towards specific goals. But sometimes when approaching construction, we allow ourselves to apply line weight to tackle problems its not meant to address.

For example, some students use line weight to hide mistakes where they were off in a mark they made and decide to correct the mistake with another mark. Unfortunately, this is not a harmless decision as it draws the viewer's attention toward it although unintentionally. Instead of looking at it as "that's not a mistake, i meant to do that" you're saying "oops, i made a mistake. Let me call attention to it". Then we have the issue where one might try to apply line weight to reinforce the silhouette of the entire object. We risk running into bridging flat shapes, introducing 2d elements on what's meant to be purely 3 dimensional construction. Remember that line weight is a tool with a specific use, meant to be applied locally to clarify overlaps of one object over another. You can see this in play on these overlapping leaves.

In conclusion, I'm getting the impression that you're not giving ample time as a drawing requires. These exercises can be very time demanding and many students may not even consider that they may be rushing through their work. Sometimes, you may not be able to finish drawing one animal in one sitting, and that's okay. What's important is that you're constantly thinking about the spatial problems and how these forms interact with one another, doing these exercises to the best of your current ability. If that means taking a break in between, then so be it.

Next Steps:

I'm going to assign some revisions and i ask you to complete another 2 pages of animals (1 day minimum per animal). Once you're done, come back with your submission so i can review it.

2 pages of animals

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
11:23 AM, Thursday March 10th 2022

Hey Wifu4Lifu, thanks for the very detailed critique, I'll try to draw these two other pages bearing in mind your advice, I think it will take quite sometime for me to bring in the revisions.

Anyway thanks again for the help!

11:16 AM, Tuesday March 22nd 2022
8:08 PM, Wednesday March 23rd 2022

Alrighty, sorry for the delay. Looking at your animal constructions, I am noticing an overall improvement and it does look like you've taken the critique into consideration. This is good, and I'd like to further add some suggestions to keep you in the right track here:

You're reducing the usage of contour curves and this is good. However, they are still hanging loosely along the torso so I'd recommend you do more organic forms with contour curves as warmups in the future. Make sure you employ the ghosting method using your shoulder before executing the mark.

Continuing onto your use of additional masses, I'm noticing that you're approaching them a little more timidly and having a fair bit of trouble with the intentional design on some of these as shown here. You're running into the hot dogs in a bun problem. Again, looking back into this diagram, this would be incorrect because there's nothing else pressing up against this ball of clay that causes it to behave this way. This is why we tend to use more of an s-curve when applying forms on top of another in most cases.

As far a leg construction goes, you seem to be making a clear effort to stick to the sausage method as often as possible. Much of your leg construction-or at least the base structure-is coming along decently as a result of this. However, you're not doing much else when it comes to building your forms on top especially in cases such as this rhino. There are a few spots where you'll add a few additional masses, but in most cases, these are very much limited to bumps that impact the silhouette, without much consideration to what's going on within the silhouette.

As seen in this dog's leg demo and this ant leg, the forms that sit along within the silhouette are still important because they're the connective tissue that hold together the forms that do impact the silhouette.

I do like how you're approaching your feet. Corners are a good idea since they help imply the presence of internal planes and generally to make these structures feel more three dimensional. I do notice you going for boxier forms but I do think following the approach shown here from another student's work would help you push this further. Sometimes, the references cut them off from view so I do encourage you to look into separate references when drawing them in such cases in the future.

Your head construction is moving in the right direction. You're thinking about what additional masses to add onto your initial structure and this is good. However, as seen in your rhino head, you're doing so by introducing flat shapes and again, this reminds us that we're drawing something flat and two dimensional and reinforces that idea to you as you construct it. Look at this demo again for reference. Notice how we start with a smaller cranial mass and introduce each additional mass that we slowly build in stages as its own self-enclosed form. There's no instance of working in two dimensions here. The same concepts of the intentional design of silhouettes apply here.

I trust that you'll be working through these points on your own, so I'll be marking this as complete. Feel free to move onto the 250 cylinder challenge.

Next Steps:

250 cylinder challenge

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