Lesson 4 is the lesson I was dreading the most and I think that’s true of the majority of people that do the Drawabox course. That is, lesson 4 is insects and arachnids. This lesson was kind of an interesting combination of hard surfaces and organic animals. It was interesting from a technical standpoint, unfortunately it was incredibly difficult for me to look at the references for any significant amount of time. I live in Australia, so most of these bugs have the potential to pop out from nowhere and murder me. This is the first lesson with no exercises at the start, which is unfortunate, because I could’ve used some in drawing insect legs. Uncomfortable recommends an approach using sausagelike forms connected by balls which I found very hit and miss, particularly as my accuracy with my shoulder on the smaller sections left much to be desired. That said, if for some ungodly reason, I decided to draw insects again, I’d definitely be trying to incorporate the sausage forms a lot more. I did fill a page with sausages connected by balls connected by sausages in an attempt to make a kind of exercise out of drawing insect legs. Along with this, I did some experimentation in laying forms over the top of a box for my scorpion drawing, making sure to draw through both forms and thinking about how one laid over the top of the other. I’ve included this page below.
I actually found I was a lot less squiffy about the bugs when I broke them down to their body parts and wasn’t drawing it in its entirety. The legs are still super, super creepy though. In this lesson, I managed to pin down the cause of a bad habit that had snuck in during lesson 3. Reverting to drawing with my wrist. I didn’t entirely manage to kick it, but I’m much more aware of it now and what is causing it, thanks to a conversation with someone on the Discord chat. Occasionally when I’m not 100% sure of the line I want to put down, I will timidly draw with my wrist, often without the confidence I should have. This is understandable given the stark dark lines I’m putting down, but it’s not a good excuse because these are exercises and studies. Do not forget to keep rotating that page, even when drawing objects! You need that comfortable, confident angle, no matter what. Turn, turn, turn the page.
It was also during this lesson that I realised that I was actually drawing in a constructional manner and not just leaning heavily on the observational skills I developed in my four years at university. It was somewhere around my second page that I realised I’d drawn a piece that differed somewhat from the reference and managed to keep it looking solid and 3D. This was when I realised I was finally getting it! I was seeing these things in 3D and even though I made a mistake, I still treated it like a 3D object that I could wrap further forms around in perspective. This is what Drawabox is all about and it makes dealing with mistakes in dark black ink a lot easier to face.
It takes a lot of practice to understand how these things interact with each other and what they’re doing but if you believe the lie, then everyone else will too. I tackled a minimal amount of textural detail in these because I don’t feel it’s particularly important. Where I did include texture, I thought about exactly where I was putting it and selectively broke the silhouette. Most of the time, you don’t even need internal detail when you break the silhouette. This habit was not particularly hard to break, if I’m honest, even though I did a lot of photorealistic digital painting before this, in which I included every little detail even when it wasn’t important. To wrap this post up, I think there were a lot of successes for me in this lesson despite my desire to get through it quickly and I really hope some of these revelations help someone struggling with their confidence and 3D thinking. If you work hard, you will figure it out. Believe me, you will. I could barely draw in perspective 12 months ago and my drawings were extremely flat and heavily reliant on shading, like this guy.
Below is the album of my lesson 4 work.