Lesson 6: Applying Construction to Everyday Objects
Bluetooth Speaker Demo
Step by step
As one might imagine, we're starting with a box. you'll notice immediately that the far right vertical line of this box is a bit dramatic. When this happens to you, you may think, "well damn, I'm going to start over on a fresh page". Don't.
Mistakes happen, but there's a lot of value in seeing a construction through to the end regardless.
You'll also notice that I've drawn crosses on many of the planes of this box. If you're not sure of what I'm doing here, or if you haven't watched the advanced boxes video, go give it a look. It covers concepts involved with splitting a box into equal parts, which is integral to this lesson as a whole.
As you can see in the reference image, this speaker has very clearly curved (beveled) edges. It's often a bit tempting to just jump right in and curve them immediately, but I want you to fight that urge.
Instead, we're going to deal with straight edges and sharp corners as long as we can through this construction. The reason for this is that a curve is, by its very nature, a vague answer.
In previous lessons and demonstrations, I've explained the constructional method to consist of a series of questions being answered. We take a very complicated question, or problem, and we break it down into many smaller, manageable ones. We then, through drawing, answer each question or solve each problem, working our way up until eventually the whole complicated question is answered.
A curving line, if not following a clearly defined path, is by its nature a vague answer that can summarize or represent many different combinations of straight lines.
Applying the technique discussed in the intro video for this lesson, where we take a line on a plane and mirror it across the center of that plane, we can transfer one end of our cut corner to the opposite side. This can be used whenever you need to transfer such a detail to the other side of the plane it is on.
With our corners cut, we still have a bit more construction to do here - positioning the big button. I've mostly used a combination of approximation and mirroring the vertical lines across the center of that front plane to create a squarish cut, centered horizontally and set towards the bottom half of the box as observed in my reference image.
I was eyeballing that position, though upon further inspection after the fact, I found that the top edge of the button sat flush with the vertical center of the box. My estimation came pretty close, but I could definitely have been more conscientious about that.
And the rest, as always, is a matter of line weight. You'll also see that I've made some pretty prominent choices on how to convey the roundedness of that corner. I've applied here a technique you may also see on cylinders as well, where the roundedness of that surface is conveyed with straight lines going up and down the length of the tube, rather than contour lines circling around it. I find this to be much more effective, and you can achieve a sort of transition from really thick ones towards the middle of my "shading", gradually getting thinner towards the outside. It also replicates an effect one might see on more polished metal.
I've also added the outline of a basic cast shadow. More often than not I'll avoid filling these in, as I don't want to draw attention away from the object itself. A simple outline of a basic approximation of the form is usually enough to make the object feel grounded, as though it's resting on a table or something, rather than floating in space.
This is another one of those things that aren't sold through Amazon, so I don't get a commission on it - but it's just too good to leave out. PureRef is a fantastic piece of software that is both Windows and Mac compatible. It's used for collecting reference and compiling them into a moodboard. You can move them around freely, have them automatically arranged, zoom in/out and even scale/flip/rotate images as you please. If needed, you can also add little text notes.
When starting on a project, I'll often open it up and start dragging reference images off the internet onto the board. When I'm done, I'll save out a '.pur' file, which embeds all the images. They can get pretty big, but are way more convenient than hauling around folders full of separate images.
Did I mention you can get it for free? The developer allows you to pay whatever amount you want for it. They recommend $5, but they'll allow you to take it for nothing. Really though, with software this versatile and polished, you really should throw them a few bucks if you pick it up. It's more than worth it.