Sausages, Sausages, and More Sausages

Posted by pladd on April 12, 2016

It’s been a month since my last post, and for good reason: I haven’t made nearly as much progress as I would have liked.

I hear you judging me. Why are you judging me? STOP JUDGING ME, IMAGINARY BLOG AUDIENCE.

My wife and I have had a busy last few weeks. We traveled back to our hometown to visit family and friends. Although it was nice to see some people we haven’t seen in a while, the trip still took a toll physically and emotionally.

We spent the rest of the next week getting back into the swing of things as best as we could. Then, last weekend, we had a friend come into town to visit us. Guess how much art practice I got done in that time? Here’s a hint: I did not get any art practice done in that time. And then I didn’t practice much for a while because reasons.

Look, I’m just making excuses at this point. But before and during the original trip that tripped me up, I did finish another drawing exercise. I drew me a whole mess of…uh…let’s call them “sausages.”

Look at those things. Sausage on top of sausage on top of sausage. Like some sort of party. A party of sausages.

Some of you might be confused by this drawing. Some of you might be hungry. Some of you might be aroused. I can understand; I was all of those things while drawing this.

Uh, except for the third thing. I didn’t say “aroused,” I said “aroused.” Whoops, no, wait, I meant “aroused.”

Oh man oh jeez SHUT UP.

So why draw these sausages? It’s actually a continuation of the form intersection exercises I’ve been working on. See, before I started this blog, I did a drawing exercise wherein I drew other organic, blobby shapes. Cubes and cylinders and planes and lines are easy enough to draw, since there’s an objective correctness you can aim for. But organic shapes are a lot more free-form.

Look closely at that thing off to the side. Did I draw it correctly, or did I make a fundamental mistake?

Trick question! The answer is “aroused.”


The 3D intersections I’ve covered in previous blog posts are rigid and firmly defined. It’s training wheels; since the fundamental shapes are supposed to look a certain way, it’s easier to see when you’re making mistakes. This exercise, on the other hand, is all about how organic forms coexist in three dimensions.

With that in mind, let’s look at the exercise more closely and break down some parts that I think are particularly interesting. As always, check out the BIG HUGE version of the image here.

Thing 1: Paul Is Getting Better At Blobs

I know! I’m as surprised as you are. But check it out (you can click for a larger version):

This was my very first pass at the organic forms exercise. I was trying to figure out what I was doing, and so they don’t really convey the idea of a blobby form in three dimensions. They feel flat and lifeless to me.

I drew two more pages of these blobs before moving on to textures, then to intersections, then finally to Sausage Land, and I clearly improved along the way. Just look at those sausages again. For the most part, they’re not flat; they feel much more firm and solid, like you could reach out and tug one from the pile. Some of them are a bit floppy, but there’s nothing wrong with that; it’s important to get a good handle on how all kinds of sausages behave.

Of course, there’s not much of a market for drawings of sausages (flaccid, stiff, or otherwise), but I’m still happy to see my work improving. It’s really more about skills development than money.

Thing 2: Paul Didn’t Plan Well Enough

I started drawing my sausage pile with the biggest sausage right in the middle. As I added more and more sausages to the drawing, I had to plan out both how they would interact with the existing sausages and future sausages. Would they lay on top of each other? Would they just barely touch, or would they get all close to each other? Which one would be on top? Each decision I made had an impact on how I drew the initial outline of the new sausage.

Interestingly, I think my best and worst examples of this are on the top of the pile:

Look at that cute little guy, just hanging out. It’s sitting on top of that other sausage properly. It just feels right.

Now, for contrast. Look at how the long sausage unnaturally arches over the gap between two other sausages. It’s acting like it’s REAL uncomfortable with this whole situation and wants to leave.

Thing 3: Certain Kinds Of Lines Are Just Crazy Helpful

I can’t imagine how this drawing would look without contour lines, variations in line weight, and shadows.

  • Contour lines help further describe each sausage in 3D.
  • Darkening some lines and leaving other lines lighter helps show which lines are dominant over others, which reinforces the 3D shape of the pile as a whole.
  • Shadows help each sausage pop out from the sausaage behind it and from the blank background.

Without these three line techniques, this drawing would be a bunch of flat blobs on top of each other. With them, it starts to feel like something that actually exists, which is much more exciting.

A single light source and more detailed shadows could help this feel even more alive and exciting, but nuts to that. This isn’t a polished, finished piece. Also, I would probably mess it up; one new art skill at a time! I don’t think I can handle two at once.


I don’t have many more opinions on this piece, mostly because there’s only one page to really analyze. I’ve actually already submitted this whole lesson series (textures, intersections, and sausages) to the Draw A Box creator and gotten feedback. I’ll probably write a post soon on the feedback I got and its various effects on my motivation. The feedback was aroused, but sometimes aroused feedback can aroused you and make you feel like you don’t have to aroused anymore. I’ll have more to say in my next post.