Lesson 4: Applying Construction to Insects and Arachnids

2:23 PM, Sunday August 22nd 2021

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One year of Draw A Box, uoooa!

As a side effect, now if an insect gets inside my home I dare to grab a piece of paper and gently throw it out.

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11:42 PM, Sunday August 22nd 2021

Starting with your organic forms with contour lines, you're doing a good job of maintaining the general characteristics of simple sausages as mentioned in the instructions, and your contour curves are drawn well to fit snugly within the form's silhouette. The contour ellipses you add at the tips, however, are frequently incorrect.

The contour curves and contour ellipses are effectively the same thing - they're just contour lines. We end up seeing an entire ellipse however, instead of just a partial curve, only on the tips that are facing towards the viewer. Across many of these (like the two top ones on the first page, but many others as well), your contour curves assert that both ends of the sausages are facing away from the viewer - but the contour ellipses you place on both tips contradict that.

Here's an example of various configurations of sausages. One where both ends are facing towards the viewer, one where one end is facing towards and the other is facing away, and one where both are facing away. Note how the contour ellipses match the assertion of the contour curves before them.

Moving onto your insect constructions, as a whole I'm actually very pleased with your work here. You've done a great job of focusing on working in a strictly additive, constructional fashion - that is, you've built up almost every single new aspect of complexity one step at a time, by adding new complete, enclosed, three dimensional forms one at a time and in many cases, considering how their silhouettes communicate the way in which they wrap around the existsing structure, or how they intersect with it. This has yielded a lot of results that feel quite solid, and really emphasize the nature of each of these drawings as exercise in spatial reasoning, and puzzles that help continually reinforce the idea that we're creating real three dimensional things, not just drawings on a page.

There are a couple suggestions that I have to offer, but in general I'm very happy with your work here:

  • Firstly, I almost never saw you do this, but there was one instance where you did end up modifying the silhouette of a form you'd already drawn, in the abdomen of this spider. Here it seems like that ellipse you drew extended a little too far out, so you went back over it to reinforce one of the more internal lines, leaving that additional section to be ignored. While I understand what you were after here, this kind of approach (altering silhouettes after the form is established) will actually undermine the solidity of that structure as shown here. It's best just to let those mistakes go, and move forward from there.

  • I can see that you've approached building upon your leg structures in a variety of ways. Earlier on your additional masses' silhouettes weren't quite as well considered (like here on the rhino beetle, but you definitely varied your approach as you pushed through the set, to varying levels of success. The key thing to keep in mind here (and I do think that you do a better job of this later on) is that we control where we place inward curves vs. outward curves. Outward curves occur where our form doesn't make contact with anything, whereas inward curves occur where something external presses against our given mass, as shown here.

  • I normally share this diagram and this one to help students approach the further construction along their insects' legs, but it seems to me that you've probably seen them already. Keep applying them into the next lesson as well, and your use of construction will continue to improve.

With that, I'll go ahead and mark this lesson as complete! Aside from that issue with your organic forms' contour ellipses, you're doing really well here. Keep up the great work.

Next Steps:

Feel free to move onto lesson 5.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
8:21 AM, Monday August 23rd 2021

Hi Uncomfortable, thank you for your critique!

I felt something was off with the organic forms but my brain stubbornly stopped there. Now with the examples you showed me it finally clicked.

Masses over sausages are a true headache for me. I'll keep the diagrams front and centered and hopefully I'll get more consistent by the end of the next Lesson.

Have a great day!

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