Lesson 6: Applying Construction to Everyday Objects

4:14 PM, Saturday March 19th 2022

Lesson 6 - Album on Imgur

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

Post with 25 views. Lesson 6

I tried to use the ellipse template when I could but because of the limit in size and degree, so a lot of the time the foreshortening wasn't what I would've liked.

Regarding the globe, after putting down the main sphere I didn't see much use in extra boxes so that constructed ended up being more loose. I'm not sure if that was the way I should've gone about it or not.

Lastly I have a question about my second drawing in particular. I tried to draw a glass (there's a photo of it at the end) that's an octagon at its base, then becomes a pentagon and then finally becomes a circle at the top. The issue I had was that I didn't know how to construct an equilateral circle or pentagon within a plane. The octagon I drew from dividing the plane into thirds had unequal thirds and I more or less had to guess the pentagon. How would I go about constructing equilateral shapes within a plane?

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1:30 AM, Tuesday March 22nd 2022

Starting with your form intersections, though your lines are somewhat faint here, you've done an excellent job in demonstrating a strong grasp of how these forms exist together within the same space, as well as how they relate to one another within that space. You've demonstrated some very strong spatial reasoning skills here, and while the curved-on-curved intersections can definitely be drawn a little more confidently (they're a little more timid than the corrections I marked out here), you're showing a clear understanding of how to approach them as well.

Continuing onto your constructions for this lesson, by and large you've done a good job. This lesson focuses primarily on the concept of precision, which is something that we've been fairly lax on up until this point, approaching our constructions by slapping a new form on and dealing with it, rather than planning it out ahead of time.

Precision is often conflated with accuracy, but they're actually two different things (at least insofar as I use the terms here). Where accuracy speaks to how close you were to executing the mark you intended to, precision actually has nothing to do with putting the mark down on the page. It's about the steps you take beforehand to declare those intentions.

So for example, if we look at the ghosting method, when going through the planning phase of a straight line, we can place a start/end point down. This increases the precision of our drawing, by declaring what we intend to do. From there the mark may miss those points, or it may nail them, it may overshoot, or whatever else - but prior to any of that, we have declared our intent, explaining our thought process, and in so doing, ensuring that we ourselves are acting on that clearly defined intent, rather than just putting marks down and then figuring things out as we go.

In our constructions here, we build up precision primarily through the use of the subdivisions. These allow us to meaningfully study the proportions of our intended object in two dimensions with an orthographic study, then apply those same proportions to the object in three dimensions.

While there are a few spots where you could have pushed that precision a little further - for example in the placement of the ports/slots on this construction, and the placements of the clasps on this trunk, I think this is something that you still largely did a great job with, especially with how you leveraged the subdivision throughout constructions like this awesome chest of drawers. I'm especially pleased with how you took advantage of certain cases where you could hinge off the diagonals rather than needing to pin down every orthogonal proportion in order to place your elements (like the drawers and on the wheel of your ipod).

As to your globe, that's honestly how I would have approached it too. A box for the base makes sense, but the bounding box we might use in most other situations is really just one of a few primitives we can use to represent an enclosure of space - and generally the one that is best suited to subdividing and kind of carving it down. But if no such carving is necessary, then how you've approached it here is perfectly fine.

Unfortunately as to your glass, I may not really have a satisfying answer, because it's simply outside of the scope of this course. As you noted yourself, if it were simply a matter of dividing it up into thirds along the base, that'd be fine - but unfortunately thanks to high school trigonometry, we know that the corner portions are right angle triangles, and their hypotenuse which corresponds with the diagonal corner of our octagon would be longer than the outer "thirds" of our subdivided square.

In order to create an octagon, most demonstrations I've seen involve using a compass to create an arc from each corner of the square, passing through the center of the square. Where the arcs touch the sides of the box are where you'd put the vertices for your octagon, as shown here.

Given that it requires us to draw arcs with a compass (so in other words, a circle), this is not something we can easily do. It's not impossible - we have techniques for drawing circles in 3D space (which were introduced in the cylinder challenge, and will further be explored in Lesson 7), but in order to draw them we'd still need to know where exactly they intersect with the square's edges, which is exactly what we'd want to draw the circles (or more accurately, ellipses) form.

Conversely, we could draw it out in 2D, and then analyze the proportions that result - it seems to be about 3/10ths on either side, with the octagon's horizontals/verticals taking up about 4/10ths in between - but I'm not sure how accurate that is mathematically, and so we'd still end up with what is likely an imperfect octagon (although one that is a little closer than the equal thirds).

This really shines light on the fact that Drawabox is not a course on plotted perspective. While this lesson and the last one get quite technical in their use of perspective concepts, it is still always holding to the principle that we do not plot back to vanishing points (since they're often far off the page, they're not a reliable tool we'll always have). While these last two lessons emphasize precision, it is still the precision we can achieve given our restrictions, and always towards the goal of each drawing being an exercise in developing your internal model of 3D space rather than instructions on how to solve every spatial problem. Sometimes you will have to delve into proper perspective, if perfection is really required here - although in my experience (speaking as someone who has spent at least some time working professionally as an illustrator and concept artist), perfection is unnoticeable, and has never been required.

That doesn't mean it's not worth learning, however - but it all depends on what your long term goals are.

Anyway! As a whole your work throughout this lesson as been stellar. So, while I apologize I wasn't able to offer a more satisfactory answer to your question, I will be marking this lesson as complete.

Next Steps:

Feel free to move onto the 25 wheel challenge, which is a prerequisite for lesson 7. I highly urge you to use your ellipse guide for the wheels - while it'll result in smaller wheels, you will find that it will overall make the task vastly more manageable, while also helping you to keep your focus on the meat of the exercise (rather than on executing perfect ellipses, which is still something that will require a ton more practice and mileage).

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
9:43 PM, Wednesday March 23rd 2022

I have one more question. In the lesson I remember you mentioning rolling with the punches while drawing, like working with the mistakes you made instead of correcting them or starting over. I tried to do that during this lesson but whenever I made an error like drawing a box that doesn't converge right or subdividing incorrectly I was never able to compensate for it, so it kept building over the course of the drawing.

I expect this sort of thing comes with practice but beyond that, do you have any advice on how to get better at working with my errors?

9:52 PM, Wednesday March 23rd 2022

The thing is, each of these drawings are just exercises - and pursuing the direction the construction goes, mistakes and all, rather than trying to steer it back to matching the reference is part of it. Fortunately, in this exercise and in Lesson 7, we have free use of a ruler, which can really help because it not only keeps our lines straight without much effort, it also allows us to see how our lines will go beyond their length, as they move away from the viewer, allowing us to orient those lines more effectively when adding subdivision and building up our constructions.

But mistakes will still occur. This course is always going to be about using exercises to improve your underlying spatial reasoning skill, to hone your instincts and subconscious actions and instill the good habits of confidence in execution, and patience in observation and forethought, to avoid the mistakes in the first place.

But again - mistakes will still occur, because these are exercises towards that goal, and their purpose is never to end up with a "correct" drawing. Everything in Drawabox is towards the long game, rather than teaching you how to actually make do with what you've got with a drawing thus far.

For that specific purpose however, you'll learn more about taking these kinds of approaches further, and actually creating pieces for the purposes of producing a "presentable" end result with courses like Dynamic Sketching. It's generally more expensive in most online platforms (~$800 for an instructed course with feedback on CGMA or from Peter Han himself), but New Masters Academy has dynamic sketching lectures by Charls Hu as part of their ~$35/month subscription - which if you hold off until early April, something we have planned with NMA will get you a little more value for that as well (if you're interested).

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Sakura Pigma Microns

A lot of my students use these. The last time I used them was when I was in high school, and at the time I felt that they dried out pretty quickly, though I may have simply been mishandling them. As with all pens, make sure you're capping them when they're not in use, and try not to apply too much pressure. You really only need to be touching the page, not mashing your pen into it.

In terms of line weight, the sizes are pretty weird. 08 corresponds to 0.5mm, which is what I recommend for the drawabox lessons, whereas 05 corresponds to 0.45mm, which is pretty close and can also be used.

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