Lesson 4: Applying Construction to Insects and Arachnids

3:54 AM, Wednesday April 1st 2020

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Hello its been a bit, ive been having a tough time with life especially the past few weeks have been quite hectic for me (and everyone else in this weird time haha) but i tried my best to just sit down and finish this lesson, even if it ends up really terrible.

it was super difficult i took breaks and quit so many times from being frustrated at things not coming out right and you know generally just making really ugly drawings its hard to look at.

my proportions need a ton of work i tend to draw some things too small or big im not sure if i should work on that? but it might get too hard if i try to think about 3d forms and proportion all at once.

also i honestly dont quite understand shadow at all so that turned really bad real fast.

anyways i did what i could & apologies for the bad quality photos (i didnt wanna disturb anyone since it was late while taking these photos) thanks a bunch for the critiques as always. :)

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11:07 PM, Wednesday April 1st 2020

Starting with your organic forms with contour lines, you're largely doing a pretty good job, though your second page is markedly better in getting your contour lines to wrap more convincingly around the sausage forms (primarily because you're more willing there to overshoot those curves). I also noticed that while you are mostly doing a good job of sticking to simple sausage forms, you're falling short by a bit with some forms that get a little fatter through their midsection, or that have ends that are either of different sizes or not quite spherical. You are very close, so it's something you just need to keep in the forefront of your mind when doing this exercise as the simpler our sausage forms are, the more easily we can capture the illusion that they are solid and three dimensional.

Now, in many aspects you are doing an excellent job with your insect constructions. You're definitely thinking a lot about how to build things up from simpler forms, starting with your major masses and gradually introducing more simple elements to work towards a more complex object with more nuanced silhouette without losing the illusion of solidity. There are a few little hiccups in your approach, but by and large you're doing a good job.

One of the things that I noticed was that you aren't entirely consistent in how you construct your insects' legs. Sometimes you adhere to the sausage method, but there are several instances where you apply only certain aspects of it. It's normal that you'll come across plenty of insects with legs that don't appear to entirely match a "chain of sausages", but it's doubly important that you still apply the sausage method consistantly, adhering to all of its major points (using simple sausage forms, ensuring those sausage forms intersect and then reinforcing those intersections with contour lines right at the joint and no where else). This is because what we are creating with this is an underlying structure or armature that captures both the solidity and fluidity of those legs. Most approaches will either focus on one or the other - appearing very solid but somewhat stiff, or flowing gesturally but appearing flat. The sausage technique gives us the best of both worlds. From there, we can always build on top of it to add bulk where necessary, as shown here.

I definitely agree that you're also struggling with those cast shadows. The key to cast shadows is that they establish the relationship between the object and the ground itself, giving us something we can relate to easily (the floor) as a new way to understand the object. The issue with your approach is that you always kept the cast shadow the same distance away from the silhouette of the object at all times. Instead, the distance of the shadow from the silhouette tells us how far a particular part of the object is from the ground - so if it's all the same distance, then that tells us the object is really hugging the ground.

Instead, you'll have the part of the shadow cast by the foot cling quite closely to it (because the foot is very close to the floor), but as we get up into the leg, it'll start to move farther away. Farther still will be the body, giving us a sense of how the body is being held a distance above the ground. The shadow shape itself doesn't need to be exact, or even all that close to the object. It just needs to convey these distances in a way that will help ground the object. Here's how I'd approach the shadow on your hercules beetle.

As far as your proportions go, they're not that far off. There are some that stray a little, but you are right not to try and worry about too many things simultaneously. This course is focused on capturing the illusion of form and developing spatial reasoning skills - proportion will continue to develop with practice, as you get used to applying and developing your observational skills through many more studies. You're not struggling with it to such a degree that I'm concerned, so I wouldn't shift your focus there just yet.

So! With that, I'm fairly pleased with your results. I'll go ahead and mark this lesson as complete. Just remember that the sausage method is important not only in the context of insects, but in constructing any sort of gestural, flowing forms. We'll continue to use it throughout the next lesson as well.

Next Steps:

Feel free to move onto lesson 5.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
3:32 PM, Thursday April 30th 2020

Sorry for the late reply, I had to take a break from drawing for a bit but thanks for the great critque as always!

yeah about the sasuages i guess because i was watching your demos while drawing you didnt use the sasusage method for some of the bugs and i contemplated whether or not i should do it but youre definately right i should stick with drawing sausages as best i can.

and for shadows i just wasnt sure where to place it or how wide or big to make the shadow compared to the actual main forms, or what shape to make the shadow if that makes sense?

on the hercules beetle the horn is a bit curved but you drew the shadow's horn flat? (i might just have to study lighting/shadows more)

again thanks for the critque im planning to start lesson 5 soon so im pretty nervous but excited :)

10:18 PM, Thursday April 30th 2020

On the subject of the hercules beetle's horn and the shadow it would cast, remember that a shadow is essentially taking 3D information and projecting it down into two dimensions. This process inherently throws away certain pieces of information, depending on various factors. In this case, since the light source is higher up, and the curvature is primarily on the Y axis, then the curvature won't actually have much impact on the shadow itself. If the light source were more to the side of the beetle, then we'd catch more of that curvature.

1:42 AM, Wednesday May 6th 2020

ohh okay that makes it a lot more understandable thanks!

small question about the lesson 5, it says to draw:

2 pages of birds, 1 of which should be construction only (with no detail or texture)

4 pages of two non-hooved quadrupeds (wolves, cats, bears, ferrets, etc.) - meaning, pick two subjects and do two full pages for each.

im a little confused as to how many pages this actually means.

so if i choose to do a wolf, i would do 2 full drawings of a wolf? (i assume in different positions or something?)

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