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12:00 AM, Thursday June 23rd 2022

At first I thought you'd mistakenly done the organic forms with contour curves instead of the organic intersections which were assigned with this lesson, but I realized that these are actually the same pages (although different photos) of the organic forms with contour curves that you'd submitted for your Lesson 4 work. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt here and assume you simply took photos of the wrong pages.

Moving onto your animal constructions, I can see that you're definitely leaning hard into the idea that these drawings are exercises - they're not about creating pretty pictures, but rather about building up structures one piece at a time, and always focusing on the idea that everything is three dimensional, existing in a 3D world. That said, I did catch a number of places where you still do make the mistake of adding partial/flat shapes to your constructions, instead of ensuring that every addition is its own complete, solid, three dimensional structure, as highlighted here on your ferret.

You definitely use a lot of additional masses, with a fair bit of consideration for how to actually go about designing them, this is super important, so make sure every single thing you add is completely self-enclosed and fully establishes the way in which it relates to the existing structure in three dimensions.

The second point I wanted t otalk about is the tendency towards piling on a ton of contour lines. This is actually a lot less helpful than you think - and can even be a little harmful. As we build up our constructions, there are basically two tools we have to use in order to define how the forms we add relate to the existing structure in 3D space, and which tool we use depends on the nature of that relationship. If the new form is interpenetrating the existing structure (like how we fit the sausages together when laying down the base structure of the legs), we use contour lines in a similar fashion to the form intersections in Lesson 2. Those contour lines define the joint between them, as though we were welding together pieces of metal, with the contour line demarking the weld line itself.

If however we have a mass that is wrapping around the existing structure, then everything is achieved through the design of the silhouette itself.

This also means that additional contour lines - like the ones we see here aren't terribly useful - although that one's not on you, I know the current intro video (which is quite old now) shows a similar use of contour lines. I've discovered through doing critiques more recently that adding contour lines in this way is unhelpful, but moreover they can actually convince the student that they're able to "fix" a mass after it's been drawn, leading them to put less focus into the design of that mass's silhouette. But alas, the silhouette holds all the cards, and requires all of our focus.

Continuing on, I did notice that despite my calling this out in regards to your Lesson 4 work, you still seem not to be adhering nearly as closely to the sausage method when constructing your animals' legs as you should. That's not a great look - any situation where I have to repeat pretty much the same advice I'd given previously suggests that the student is not taking the time they need in order to meet their single responsibility as students of this course. That is, to give each task as much time as is required to do the best of their current ability. When it comes to the constructions, it's about giving each form, each shape, each mark as much time as it needs - you're doing that fine. But it also means going through my feedback carefully, and doing whatever it is you need to apply it going forward as well as you can. If that means taking notes, rereading regularly, or whatever else - that's up to you.

So, currently you're prone to:

You also don't appear to build upon the sausage structure much with additional masses, though this was also something I called out in my previous feedback. It's really quite unfortunate, given the fact that your animal constructions are pretty solid, and simply heeding what I'd called out previously would have really pushed your work that much farther.

The last major point I wanted to call out is in regards to head construction. Lesson 5 has a lot of different strategies for constructing heads, between the various demos. Given how the course has developed, and how I'm finding new, more effective ways for students to tackle certain problems. So not all the approaches shown are equal, but they do have their uses. As it stands, as explained at the top of the tiger demo page (here), the current approach that is the most generally useful, as well as the most meaningful in terms of these drawings all being exercises in spatial reasoning, is what you'll find here on the informal demos page.

There are a few key points to this approach:

  • The specific shape of the eyesockets - the specific pentagonal shape allows for a nice wedge in which the muzzle can fit in between the sockets, as well as a flat edge across which we can lay the forehead area.

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

  • We have to be mindful of how the marks we make are cuts along the curving surface of the cranial ball - working in individual strokes like this (rather than, say, drawing the eyesocket with an ellipse) helps a lot in reinforcing this idea of engaging with a 3D structure.

Try your best to employ this method when doing constructional drawing exercises using animals in the future, as closely as you can. Sometimes it seems like it's not a good fit for certain heads, but with a bit of finagling it can still apply pretty well. To demonstrate this for another student, I found the most banana-headed rhinoceros I could, and threw together this demo.

Admittedly, your current approach does hold to some elements of this, and that is worth celebrating. But, I think this will really cement the exercise nature of the task even further, and help you get the most out of it.

And that's about it. There are definitely shortcomings here, and some disappointments, but as a whole you are handling this well and I'm confident that you will be able to address these issues on your own. So, I'll go ahead and mark this lesson as complete.

Next Steps:

Move onto the 250 cylinder challenge, which is a prerequisite for lesson 6.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
5:32 PM, Thursday June 23rd 2022

Thank you taking the time for another detailed critique.

Regarding the sausage forms I know I need to keep in mind that both ends are the same. I Definitely will get distracted in the act of trying to find shapes and not give the ones I'm drawing the focus it deserves.

Are there any particular demos I should revisit before moving on. (since it seems like this is the last lesson using organic forms?)

12:17 AM, Friday June 24th 2022

No one demo is of more importance than another - they all demonstrate the same core principles, applied to different subject matter. So, as you continue to move forwards, the material as a whole is something you should revisit.

That said, I mentioned that the lesson material is gradually (and more slowly than I'd like, but there's not much that can be done about that) being updated. This will come with new demonstrations and hopefully a clearer, more consistent presentation of the concepts reflecting the kinds of things I've mentioned in my critique, but perhaps more cohesively.

So, while you should continue practicing applying construction to plants, insects, animals, etc. going forward (as an exercise, not just drawing them from observation but rather breaking them down into simple forms and building them back up), it will be a good idea to take another look at the material once it's updated. There won't really be anything new that I haven't shared with you in the critique, but it will be presented more cohesively, which may help you further.

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