Lesson 4: Applying Construction to Insects and Arachnids
The demos here have been drawn in the course of a student's homework critique, but contain information that can be useful to all working through this material.
Sticking to the trend of looking at more crustaceans, this is a demo I did for a student. It's based on a mixture of the student's own drawing and some other reference images, so I'm not sure if it's actually all that accurate to real shrimp - but the focus here is ultimately on how we can take simple forms and combine them, defining how they relate and intersect in 3D space, and building upon them in much the same way to work towards an overall more complex result.
Here's a demonstration of using a lobster as the focus of a constructional exercise. Always remember - constructional drawing, and everything we do within this course, is just an exercise.
Furthermore, it is an exercise that requires immense patience and care. Students are often eager to rush forwards and to skip steps. Everything builds upon the structure laid down before it, and if there is not enough to support the complexity you wish to add, your construction will fall flat.
Additive construction and using silhouettes
This demo focuses on how to apply additive construction (as opposed to using subtractive construction incorrectly by focusing on flat shapes rather than solid 3D forms). It also explores how you can imply the presence of top/side/front faces of an object through silhouette alone, and also how you can use that silhouette to demonstrate how one form wraps around one it is connected to, without the use of any internal edges being defined.
Cricket's abdominal segmentation
I often find that students have a tendency to flatten out crickets' abdomens, even when they do a great job with segmentation on other insects. Something about their bodies really lends themselves to it. Always think about how those layered segments of chitin conform around the underlying bodypart.
The turning of form
One thing we get into more and more as we talk about construction and form is the idea of forms having clear distinctions between their various faces. The top, the side, the front, etc. Even when a form has a seemingly smooth transition here, think about where you would distinguish these planes, and where the surfaces turn.
While many students will drop in some hatching lines and call it done, I want to encourage you to look a lot closer at your reference image and identify the wealth of visual elements and information that are being conveyed there. Look closely, and you'll find that it's not quite as simple as you may have thought.
Ellipse Master Template
This recommendation is really just for those of you who've reached lesson 6 and onwards.
I haven't found the actual brand you buy to matter much, so you may want to shop around. This one is a "master" template, which will give you a broad range of ellipse degrees and sizes (this one ranges between 0.25 inches and 1.5 inches), and is a good place to start. You may end up finding that this range limits the kinds of ellipses you draw, forcing you to work within those bounds, but it may still be worth it as full sets of ellipse guides can run you quite a bit more, simply due to the sizes and degrees that need to be covered.
No matter which brand of ellipse guide you decide to pick up, make sure they have little markings for the minor axes.