0 users agree
9:12 PM, Sunday April 23rd 2023
edited at 9:18 PM, Apr 23rd 2023

Hello HxHexa, I'll be the teaching assistant handling your lesson 5 critique.

Starting with your organic intersections you're starting to get a sense for how these forms interact in 3D space.

  • Try to stick to simple sausage forms for this exercise. The form at the lower left of this page and the form at the lower right of this page are getting too complex. The more complicated a form is, the more difficult it is to assert as being a solid 3D form, keep them as simple as you can.

  • We want the forms to slump and sag around each other with a shared sense of gravity. Leaving parts of the form at the top of this page unsupported makes it feel stiff and/or weightless. Here is how we might draw the form on top with a bit more of a sense of weight, wrapping around the two forms that are supporting it.

  • On that same form, I noticed you're repeating this mistake which I called out previously in your organic forms exercise in lesson 4.

  • On this page it looks like you've drawn your pile of sausages being viewed from above. I find this exercise much more manageable when the pile is drawn more at eye level, as you did on the other page. Imagine you're sat at a table, with a plate of sausages on the table in front of you. This will make it easier to explore how the forms wrap around each other in 3D space.

  • You're projecting your shadows far enough to cast onto the form below, but many of them are missing. I've completed one of your pages for you here. Try to consider where the shadow for the entire form will fall. For example you have the top form casting good shadows onto the two forms directly below it, but forgot that the shadow will continue along the the larger sausage at the bottom of the pile too. Don't forget that the forms will cast shadows on the ground plane too.

Moving on to your animal constructions I can see that you've taken care to build your constructions by adding complete 3d forms instead of altering the silhouettes of forms you have already drawn, good work.

I did notice one area where you'd underminded the solidity of one of your constructions, I've marked it here. By drawing two versions of the thigh it forces the viewer into choosing which one is correct, and whichever one they choose there will stil be another line on the page to contradict that decision, ultimately undermining the 3D illusion we're aiming for with these constructions.

On the same image I noted that you're sometimes using ellipses to construct your legs. As discussed in your lesson 4 critique and subsequent revisions this is a mistake as it stiffens your construction. Try to stick to sauasage forms as discusssed in your lesson 4 critique.

Your core construction is generally alright. Remember that the rib cage should occupy roughly half the length of the torso, it's quite short on some of your constructions, such as this horse. Remember to draw around your ellipses two full times before lifting your pen of the page, even if you feel like you can nail them in a single pass. This is something we ask you to do for every ellipse you freehand in this course, as introduced here. The torso sausage of this elephant is getting a bit wobbly and complex along the top there. Keep your sausage forms simple as explained here.

In lesson 4 we introduced the idea of building on constructions with complete 3D forms, here in lesson 5 we get a but more specific about how we design the silhouette of these additional forms. One thing that helps with the shape here is to think about how the mass would behave when existing first in the void of empty space, on its own. It all comes down to the silhouette of the mass - here, with nothing else to touch it, our mass would exist like a soft ball of meat or clay, made up only of outward curves. A simple circle for a silhouette.

Then, as it presses against an existing structure, the silhouette starts to get more complex. It forms inward curves wherever it makes contact, responding directly to the forms that are present. The silhouette is never random, of course - always changing in response to clear, defined structure. You can see this demonstrated in this diagram.

So, with this behaviour of additional masses in mind, I've redrawn some of the masses on this construction with letters to indicate the points I wanted to talk about.

A- This sharp corner in the additional mass on top of the rump is arbitrary. There's nothing in the underlying structure of the torso sausage to cause a sharp corner in the additional mass here. I've moved the corner over, so that it occurs in response the the additional mass pressing against the thigh.

B- I understand your logic in including sharp corners here. However, if we think about it, the rib cage is already fully encapsulated within the torso sausage, so it cannot protrude to cause complexity in the additional masses here. So I've smoothed out these two corners.

C- I wanted to point out that you'd done a really great job of wrapping this additional mass around your shoulder mass here, well done! The more interlocked they are, the more spatial relationships we define between the masses, the more solid and grounded everything appears.

D- Here there was an inward corner on an additional mass that was exposed to fresh air. As there's nothing present to press into the mass here, I split it into two pieces, so each mass can stay simpler.

E- There were more arbitrary sharp corners on the additional mass on this leg. Take a look at this diagram that shows how to wrap an addtional mass around a sausage form by trnastioning smoothly between curves instead of introducing extra corners.

One more tip for additional masses. I'd generally avoid having a single mass run over long distances as seen on this lizard. Trying to achieve too much wih a single mass can lead to accidentally making it too complex and flattening out. The masses on the underside of this construction also have a very minimal overlap with the underlying structures. I'd suggest wrapping them around the construction more to give them a firmer "grip" onto the rest of your construction.

It looks like you were using the branch method in a few places, such as the trunk and tail of this elephant. Please review the instructions for this exercise, you're extending each line segment halfway to the next ellipse, but remember when you start the next segment, it should be back at the previous ellipse, creating an overlap between your line segments.

The last thing I wanted to talk about is 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 Uncomfortable is 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 in this informal head demo.

There are a few key points to this approach:

1- The specific shape of the eye sockets - 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.

2- 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.

3- 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 eye socket 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 as shown in in this banana-headed rhino it can be adapted for a wide array of animals.

It looks like you tried out a few different things with your various head constructions. I think this wolf is one of the weaker ones. The eye socket is tiny, and floating isolated on the head without being connected to anything else. It looks like you tried to capture all the complexity and nuance of the muzzle in a single form. For constructional drawing we never add more coplexity than can be supported by the existing structures at any given point. Establish a solid foundation before worrying about details like lips. It can be tricky to construct a head with the mouth open, here is an example with a squirrel head to get you started.

You did a better job of building your head piece by piece and fitting the pieces together snugly on your hybrid suggesting that you were learning as you progressed through the set.


I'd like you to reread and rewatch the exercise instructions for the organic inersections, then take another swing at this exercise following the advice given earlier in this critique.

I've given you a few things to work on with yor animal constructions too, but as your work is generally progressing well I'll leave you to apply these points independantly in your own time. Of course if anything I've said to you here or previously is unclear or confusing you are allowed to ask questions.

Next Steps:

Please complete 1 page of the Organic Intersections exercise.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
edited at 9:18 PM, Apr 23rd 2023
1:44 AM, Friday April 28th 2023

Thank you so much again for the detailed critique. I think through this exercise, I have gotten a much better grasp of organic form intersections, and I feel like this revision looks quite better than what I had originally. Please do let me know if this will be sufficient, and again thank you for your help!


8:39 AM, Friday April 28th 2023

Hello HxHexa, no problem, and thank you for replying with the requested page of organic intersections.

These are indeed looking much better, good work!

Something you can think about in future is keeping the direction of your cast shadows consistent. I can see you've marked your light source at the top left, and most of your shadows are being projected away from this light source. There are a couple of spots, like the area I've marked in blue here where shadows are being projected left, towards your light source, which is inconsistent. Just something to keep in mind when you practise this in your warmups.

I'll go ahead and mark this lesson as complete. The cylinder challenge is next, best of luck and keep up the good work.

Next Steps:

250 cylinder challenge

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
The recommendation below is an advertisement. Most of the links here are part of Amazon's affiliate program (unless otherwise stated), which helps support this website. It's also more than that - it's a hand-picked recommendation of something I've used myself. If you're interested, here is a full list.
Faber Castell PITT Artist Pens

Faber Castell PITT Artist Pens

Like the Staedtlers, these also come in a set of multiple weights - the ones we use are F. One useful thing in these sets however (if you can't find the pens individually) is that some of the sets come with a brush pen (the B size). These can be helpful in filling out big black areas.

Still, I'd recommend buying these in person if you can, at a proper art supply store. They'll generally let you buy them individually, and also test them out beforehand to weed out any duds.

This website uses cookies. You can read more about what we do with them, read our privacy policy.