Lesson 5: Applying Construction to Animals

2:18 PM, Sunday February 20th 2022

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Nyello nyello :D

Finally got through Lesson 5 and I think I improved over the course of it! Still there is a lot I had trouble with, so thank you so much for your feedback if you chose to give it ? I love cats and I'm sad I couldn't do them justice so obviously I look forward to any kind of feedback but please help me out with cats especially haha.

I included the links to the all the references I used for better understanding!

Thank you ~

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1:29 PM, Sunday March 6th 2022

Hi, I've looked through your submission and although there are a few parts moving in the right direction, there are a number of things I'd like to direct your attention to.

Staring with the organic intersections, you're doing a solid job with laying out the sausages in such a way that they wrap around one another with a believable sense of gravity. However, when it comes to the shadows from which the forms cast upon, i can see some improvements to be made. Your shadows don't quite follow the surfaces upon which they cast correctly, and tend to be minimized, resulting in inconsistencies. Be sure to always keep a consistent light source and cast the shadow regardless of whether they are cast onto another sausage or the ground itself. When casting a shadow, be sure to draw the shape first then carefully filling it in as shown here.

Moving onto the animal constructions, there's a tendency to start with faint lines, then doing a follow up pass with darker marks. This might not seem like a big problem at first glance, but it actually changes how we perceive the elements of our drawing. This leads us to believe these earlier masses to be less like they're solid and 3 dimensional, and more like they're just marks on a page. There are plenty of cases, for example, on this owl's head where you ended up adding individual marks or partial shapes instead of adding each individual mass as it's own self enclosed structure. There's no regard to how they pertain to the other masses that it makes contact with.

To that previous point, I am seeing other cases where you're cutting into your construction thus undermining the solidity of your forms. As shown here those areas are marked in red. I've highlighted in blue a number of areas where you drew one off marks, except these areas exist in two dimensions. There's no defining trait to suggest that this form exists in the three dimensions at play.

Getting back to the topic of cutting into forms I noticed you cut into the wings of this owl. I would avoid approaching it this way since it makes the wings themselves feel very flat. Wings actually do have thickness and volume to them, so be sure to approach them more like this.

Continuing onto the additional masses, I'm seeing cases like on this moose where you cut straight across, thus reminding us that the form it's resting on isn't actually three dimensional. This is sometimes known as the "hot dog in a bun" problem.

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. The silhouette is never random of course, always responding to the form that's present as shown in this diagram.

Another issue I'm seeing come up is the random corners existing in places where they shouldn't be, as seen on the back of this cat for example. Sharp corners should be used to indicate a sharp turn onto the other side of a form.

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. There are a few spots 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.

There are a few instances where the feet you're drawing are coming out as blobs on the sausage forms. Sometimes, this is a result of the reference image not providing a good enough source of information because the feet are cut off, for instance. This results in your feet coming out half-assed. When it comes to it, corners in a silhouette help to imply the distinct planes on that form, without adding any internal line work. This gives us an excellent base upon which to add yet more boxy forms for toes and such. This demo from another students work should help better illustrate what this means.

Lastly, 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 created equal. As it stands, this tiger demo and this demo from the informal demos is what's generally most meaningful as far as spatial reasoning goes. This approach relies on a few key elements:

  • the 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 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 workaround it can be done. Just look at this example of how the most banana headed rhinoceros is done using this approach.

Another point of advice that may help a great deal is to draw the eyelids as their own separate additional masses, wrapping around the eyeball structure as shown here.

I think I've pointed out a number of areas in which you can definitely stand to improve upon, so I'll assign some revisions to give you the opportunity to apply these concepts here. Once you're done, come back and I'll look over your work.

Next Steps:

3 pages of animals construction only. No texture.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
12:07 PM, Tuesday July 26th 2022


First and foremost thank you for reviewing my homework and sorry I took ages to come back to it. Life has been really stressful and I got hit by a bad artblock when I started the review homework so I paused everything. I'm back now though, even though I'm not sure I improved.

This assignment was very hard for me and even though I understood what you said my hand couldn't seem to replicate what I saw and thought and it kind of sent me down a spiral ^^; I did my work though, even if I'm still frustrated and I'd be incredibly grateful if you could look over it again after all this time ?


Thank you!

6:11 PM, Tuesday July 26th 2022

Definitely better. There are a few places that could still improve, but as whole you're doing great! You're no longer cutting into forms, your lines carry the same weight, and the forms themselves are feeling solid. I can tell you've taken the points I've raised into consideration. Good job! Now, there are a few things I'd like to point out that hopefully will help improve your work even further:

  • The first thing that stands out to me is this bear you drew. There are spots that, like I've outlined in my previous critique, you've added flat open shapes rather than introducing other 3 dimensional forms and defining their relationships among one another. Make sure you review that section and work on it moving forward.

  • You've placed too many contour curves on this fox so try not to get carried away with that. Remember that piling a ton of them isn't actually beneficial-they suffer from diminishing returns, so you're not really getting much out of them.

  • I've noticed that you've made and attempt at introducing forms within the silhouette on the limbs of this monkey. This is good. The trick really comes down to fitting these pieces snugly with each other and exist with purpose. Think about how these pieces hold the leg together and overall makes it feel more grounded.

  • The same applies when working on the head construction. The forms you introduce onto your base structure should fit together like solving a jigsaw puzzle.

Overall, I think you've improved a great deal and are ready to move on. Just make sure to work on these points moving forward. Feel free to move onto the 250 cylinder challenge.

Next Steps:

250 cylinder challenge

This community member feels the lesson should be marked as complete, and 2 others agree. The student has earned their completion badge for this lesson and should feel confident in moving onto the next lesson.
12:01 PM, Wednesday July 27th 2022

Thank you so much!! I'm glad to hear that, because it was very much a pain. I'm glad it payed off ^^

Thank you for your tips! I'll come back to them when doing animals again :D

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