The Indomitable (Winter 2022)

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rabuuhs's Sketchbook

  • The Indomitable (Winter 2022)
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    5:04 AM, Thursday May 25th 2023

    So from what I understand you find lesson 7 difficult due to the lack of reference angles available for the vehicles / available tutorials. Before I answer your concerns I would recommend to skip drawing the demo's as they involve outdated approaches which uncomfortable will probably update in the future. I would still recommend you watch them to learn how to utilize the techniques introduced into the lesson (like repeating measurements and drawing a circle in perspective). Reading the text and the lesson 6 demo on orthographics will help you more.

    The critical aspect about lesson 7 is orthographic studies of the vehicle, both front and side views are pretty much essential if you want to construct the vehicles precisely. Usually with lesson 7 this involves a bit more guesswork when making the orthographic plans (due to the limited amount of references) but that is completely fine for 2 reasons. The first reason being that the orthographic plans are merely to set our intentions of what we're going to draw and where we will draw it so that when we are constructing the vehicle we don't get distracted and can focus on the hard part of the exercise which is thinking in 3d space. This means that it doesn't really matter if the wheel of a car is either 21/50ths or 23/50ths because as long as it looks like a car and the proportions are roughly correct then the measurements don't really matter, its all about setting the intention of where you will draw something and sticking to it. This also ties into the second reason being that it's okay if the vehicles don't look like the reference or they look out of proportion because at the end of the day these drawings are just exercises to get us thinking in 3d space so it doesn't really matter if they look bad.

    With that being said the lesson does get easier if you get more/better references but it is entirely possible to do a construction with just one photo (I did it here) which just goes to show that the orthographic views are what is most important.

    It also seems like you want a step by step approach to the lesson, so here's what I think the general procedure for each vehicle should look like.

    1. Gather references of the vehicle so that you can at least see the front and side of it.

    2. Draw orthographic views either starting with the side or the front and make sure the details line up on both and making sure you measure the car in wheels as that is the only accurate/precise measurement you can do (usually this means getting a circle template and using a circle as "1" wheel. An example of this is on the double decker bus I posted earlier where you can see that I measure it as 4 wheels wide and 4 wheels tall using circles, from observation.). An important note about drawing the front view is that you want to account for distortion as it can seem like the car gets wider the further back it goes which isn't the case. The views can be done digitally if you find that it's easier although I recommend doing it on paper as it can train your observational skills.

    3. After you've drawn your front and side views you should draw a horizon line on a new piece of paper first and then either draw a bounding box for which the vehicle will be drawn in or draw a box for the front and then draw a box for each separate piece of the vehicle like uncomfortable did in the cab over truck demo I personally only ever did a bounding box for the whole vehicle so I'm not sure how the other method would work. For the bounding box to be accurately measured to your vehicle you need to use an ellipse template to replicate how many wheels wide / long / high you drew it on in your orthographic plans and instead of circles they are now ellipses as we are drawing in perspective.

    4. After you've drawn the bounding box specific to your vehicle you can now replicate your orthographic side and front views and if you've lined up the details on both views it should look like half a vehicle. After this point you have to extend the lines in 3d space and figure out how it would look like which is the hardest part of the exercise.

    • Important notes

    • This "step-by-step" assumes you are going to use a bounding box to fit the vehicle inside

    • This method is extremely time consuming (constructions can take up to 20+ hours depending on how far you take it) so make sure you take it at your own pace and not rush them.

    • look at other lesson 7 submissions who construct accurately (here are some including mine | https://imgur.com/a/8Fxz7Y2 | https://imgur.com/a/HbYG4k4 | https://imgur.com/a/oO6707p ) and try to figure out how they constructed the plans and vehicles with subdivisions and try to reconstruct it in your head. These submissions go through pretty much the method that I described above (as far as I can tell). If you are really stuck you can try use one of their plans and try to construct the vehicle yourself from it as practice for drawing the construction.

    • always use subdivisions and make sure you can replicate every line you make, if you want some tips on subdivision I made a reply to another question which gives tips on how to subdivide effectively here

    • even if you follow the step-by-step method and look and understand other constructions you might be confused which is perfectly fine, this lesson is the hardest and might take a while for you to fully understand how to do it. I only understood how to do it well after my 5/6th vehicle so as long as you keep at it you will understand eventually.

    • always break down curves into a chain of straight lines, most students forget / miss this instruction so it's worth repeating especially for lesson 7. The reasoning for this can be found here

    • I probably missed something given I've wrote it all from my memory of doing lesson 7 so if anything is confusing or you have any questions don't hesitate to ask

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    4:21 PM, Friday April 28th 2023

    Congrats on completing lesson 6! I'll do my best to give you useful feedback so that you can improve.

    Starting with your form intersections, you've done a great job! Normally students still struggle at this stage with complex intersections like round-on-round/flat but your work demonstrates an understanding in all types of intersections. However, there are a few instances of intersections involving spheres which could be done better. To help your understanding I'll share this diagram along with this intersection pack made by optimus on discord and this guide I made on how to use paint 3D to make your own intersections in 3D space to increase your understanding.

    Moving onto your object constructions, you've also done a great job here as well by demonstrating a great a mount of patience and care in each construction. This lesson is the first point at which we really focus on the concept of precision in our constructions. Up until this point, going through Lessons 3-5, we're primarily working in a reactive fashion. We'll put down masses, and where the next masses go depends on how large or small we ended up drawing the previous ones. There's no specific right and wrong, just directions in which we're moving which impact just how closely we matched the reference. You can think of it as a manner of constructing that works from inside out. Conversely, what we're doing here works outside in - everything is determined ahead of time, and as we build out the various aspects of our construction, we either do so correctly based on our intentions, or we miss the mark.

    Precision is often conflated with accuracy, but they're actually two different things (at least insofar as I use the terms here). Where accuracy speaks to how close you were to executing the mark you intended to, precision actually has nothing to do with putting the mark down on the page. It's about the steps you take beforehand to declare those intentions.

    So for example, if we look at the ghosting method, when going through the planning phase of a straight line, we can place a start/end point down. This increases the precision of our drawing, by declaring what we intend to do. From there the mark may miss those points, or it may nail them, it may overshoot, or whatever else - but prior to any of that, we have declared our intent, explaining our thought process, and in so doing, ensuring that we ourselves are acting on that clearly defined intent, rather than just putting marks down and then figuring things out as we go.

    In our constructions here, we build up precision primarily through the use of the subdivisions. These allow us to meaningfully study the proportions of our intended object in two dimensions with an orthographic study, then apply those same proportions to the object in three dimensions. You have used subdivions and orthographic studies effectively so I won't go over how to use them. Instead I'll point out areas which you can improve on.

    • First I noticed you constructed a lot of curved objects which is great, but failed to make them into a chain of small straight lines first before curving them. The reason we should turn them into a chain of straight lines first is so that we can get more precision on the exact position of the curve in 3D space which therefore allows us to construct it accurately. This is especially important in lesson 7 where we deal with cars which are incredibly vague and curvy.

    • Actually that's pretty much the only thing I can find for you to improve on. Pretty much all of your errors got fixed by the time you got to the last object so there isn't a reason to point them out. You've kept the plans nice and simple and have replicated them perfectly onto the construction.

    Overall this is a very good submission that shows a very good understanding the lesson. If you have any questions or are unsure about anything feel free to ask.

    Good luck in the wheel challenge when/if you return!

    Next Steps:

    Wheel challenge

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    1:50 AM, Thursday April 27th 2023

    Congrats on completing the wheel challenge! I'll do my best to give you feedback so that you can improve.

    Before I start on the challenge itself it's important to note that even if the ellipse template you have is bad it's still better to use it then to not. Because by using it you eliminate the need to think about doing clean lines and aligning ellipses to the minor axis and instead focus more on the wheels themselves.

    Starting with the structural aspect of your wheels, you've done quite well. While freehanding certainly put you at a disadvantage (and I will always stress that the allowance of using an ellipse guide is not a kindness - it's to specifically help students focus all of their mental energy on the core focus of the exercise, without committing some of it to executing their ellipses as desired) you've largely handled it quite well. I'm pleased to see that you're mindful of achieving a curving profile to your wheels, which helps to capture the sense that the tire is inflated, rather than solid all the way through, and that it would land with a bounce rather than a solid heavy thunk. Though this is more so for the freehanded wheels as I can guess that the template limited you a lot which prevented you from achieving the inflated effect of the wheels. While this is unfortunate just be sure to draw your wheels more like 23 and 11 where the middle of the wheel is larger than the sides.

    You've also handled the spokes of your rims quite well in most cases, establishing not only the outward face of the spokes but also their side planes, so as to establish them as solid forms. The only circumstance where I felt you fell a little short on there was with wheels like number 21 and 19. The rims are drawn flat because you failed to add a side face like you have on other wheels.

    Continuing with the textural aspect of the challenge, you have fallen into the same trap that most students do at this stage, and it is largely by design. We are far enough removed from Lesson 2 that most students forget the principles of implicit and explicit mark-making, the use of cast shadows, and so on. This challenge serves as a good reminder that it is important to review that material before finishing up the course.

    You use explicit mark-making to construct the protruding tire tread "chunks" in order to establish how they sit in space. You then go on to incorporate filled areas of solid black, but the opportunity to merely imply those textural forms has already passed once those forms have already been drawn. In addition, you usually fill in the side planes of those forms, which is more akin to form shading.

    Explicit mark-making is not always an effective tool for every task because it locks us into a very dense amount of visual detail. This can be fine if we're looking at wheels floating in the void, but when we use them as part of a larger vehicle, they become focal points, drawing the viewer's eye to them whether we want them to or not. This severely limits our ability to guide the viewer's eyes through a piece.

    Conversely, implicit mark-making allows us to alter how we convey the texture (in terms of how densely we pack in that information) without changing the nature of the texture itself, which we can see here on this example of bush viper scales.

    Another point to consider, however, is that this can be pretty easily detected with very chunky textures, but when we're dealing with much shallower grooves, the distinction between doing it correctly and incorrectly can be pretty slight. Hell, the actual visual result can be the exact same, but the manner we think about it can make the difference.

    When dealing with tires with shallow grooves - or any texture with holes in it - students can be prone to viewing the groove itself as being the "textural form" in question. So, they focus on drawing it, filling in the groove with black and moving on. But of course, the groove isn't a form - it's an absence of form. Instead, the forms in question are the walls along the sides of the groove, casting shadows upon one another, and upon the floor of the groove itself. This diagram demonstrates this concept visually, to make it somewhat easier to understand.

    Lastly, here are a couple of additional diagrams - more focused on how we think through the texture analysis exercise in Lesson 2 - but still applicable here since it's all about understanding how to approach identifying our forms without drawing them, so we can imply them with cast shadows alone.

    • Firstly, this diagram (or alternatively this one which is essentially the same, just framed a little differently in case it makes more sense) demonstrates how texture requires us to think about the relationship between the light source and each individual form.

    • And secondly,this diagram shows, using a texture of melted wax, how we can think about first identifying the forms themselves, and then designing the shadows they'll cast.

    • Additionally this diagram helps to differentiate between a cast shadow and form shadow which can help make the cast shadow notes make more sense

    Anyway, I'll still be marking this challenge as complete. Just be sure to review the texture material, especially these notes. If you have any questions or are unsure about anything feel free to ask.

    Good luck in lesson 7!

    Next Steps:

    Lesson 7

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    1:24 AM, Thursday April 27th 2023

    Congrats on completing the cylinder challenge! I'll do my best to give you feedback so that you can improve.

    Starting with your cylinders around an arbitrary axis, the first thing that stands out to me is that all the cylinders look the same which means you haven't varied the rate of foreshortening on them. For cylinders, 71 and 68, you appear to have your side edges running basically parallel to one another on the page. This challenge has us rotating cylinders freely and randomly in space (as we did for the box challenge), and unfortunately a vanishing point would only go to infinity (resulting in lines parallel on the page) if the set of edges they represent are running perfectly perpendicular to the angle at which the viewer is looking out into the world. In other words, we only draw them with parallel lines on the page if the edges themselves aren't slanting towards or away from the viewer through the depth of the scene, but rather running straight across their field of view. Given the random rotations we use in this challenge, this perfect of an alignment is not something that would happen often, if at all, and so forcing those vanishing points to infinity would be incorrect. You do fortunately have many cylinders that don't have parallel side edges like that although are very close to parallel. Everything else you are doing correctly so just by varying the rate of foreshortening can help you get more out of the exercise.

    Continuing onto your cylinders in boxes, overall you've done pretty decently here, although there are some points to pay closer attention to. This exercise is really all about helping develop students' understanding of how to construct boxes which feature two opposite faces which are proportionally square, regardless of how the form is oriented in space. We do this not by memorizing every possible configuration, but rather by continuing to develop your subconscious understanding of space through repetition, and through analysis (by way of the line extensions).

    Where the box challenge's line extensions helped to develop a stronger sense of how to achieve more consistent convergences in our lines, here we add three more lines for each ellipse: the minor axis, and the two contact point lines. In checking how far off these are from converging towards the box's own vanishing points, we can see how far off we were from having the ellipse represent a circle in 3D space, and in turn how far off we were from having the plane that encloses it from representing a square.

    In being as fastidious as you have been in applying the line extensions as instructed, I can see that you've been giving yourself ample opportunity to assess where your approach could be adjusted to bring those convergences together from one page to the next. As a result, your awareness of those proportions have improved, and while there is of course still plenty of room for improvement, you should be well equipped to tackle the related issues that arise as we tackle Lesson 6.

    That's pretty much it! I won't be assigning revisions but just make sure that you work on varying the rate of foreshortening on your cylinders. If you are unsure about anything or have any questions feel free to reply with them!

    Good luck in lesson 6!

    Next Steps:

    Lesson 6

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    4:24 AM, Monday April 17th 2023

    So with official critique I did all of lesson 6, 7 and the wheel challenge in ballpoint because the line work can be done lighter and thinner. Fineliner can be used but it will most likely make the image unreadable so it's best to not use it. The only place I can recommend you use it in is on the wheel textures for the small cast shadows on the treads. Other than that you don't need to use fine liner.

    3:44 PM, Sunday April 16th 2023


    As for knowing where to start, it all comes down to your judgment and how precise you want to be. Like in the usb plans I quickly did, both are valid approaches to starting an object with one being more precise. Essentially you decide whether you should divide it into 3rds or 5ths, you determine how to approach it, the orthographic plans allow you to make decisions for where you want everything to go before you construct the object. If it's still confusing I just made a video demo for a fairly simple object here which I haven't edited at all except for text on the screen explaining the process. The video just shows how I would go about constructing an object for lesson 6 which may or may not clear up any confusion you had.

    If it didn't feel free to ask if you still are confused.

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    9:03 AM, Saturday April 15th 2023

    So, from what I understand you are having trouble with every aspect of subdivision so I'll break this response down with each concern you've raised with pictures to go along with it.

    Before I do though, it's important to recognize the purpose of subdivision. Lesson 6 (as well as lesson 7) focus solely on the concept of precision. Precision is what you do before you even begin drawing, it's basically planning what you are going to draw. If we take the ghosted lines exercise for example, just by placing the dots of where we are to begin and end the line increases precision. The actual line we draw doesn't influence precision at all because at that point it comes down to accuracy, which is often confused with precision. Here's a picture to help demonstrate the difference. Therefore subdivision is used in both lessons to increase precision so that we can be as precise as possible to increase our understanding of the object in 3D space. They are also used to discriminate tasks so that we can get the most out of the exercise. This is done when they are used with orthographic plans, as by creating and subdividing a plan beforehand allows us to make decisions about where everything will go before we construct the object. This essentially allows us to make 2 / 3 plans of different views of the object and if done correctly, the problem then is figuring out how to transfer the plans to the construction (understanding of 3D space (which is what we want to improve and focus on)). If the plans aren't done then you have to figure out where everything has to go while also thinking in 3D space which not only increases the difficulty of the exercise but at the same time you get less out of it.

    So starting with how to determine how much you should subdivide. This entirely depends on you and how far you want to take an object. For example, lets say I wanted to make a plan of this usb. I could do either one of those plans and both would be fine even though one is more comprehensive and precise. It all depends on how far I think I need to go for that specific object. As long as all the important elements have been subdivided precisely so that they can be transfered to the construction then you can subdivide as much or as little as you want.

    For subdividing with fractions, there's this imgur album that shows you how to do it. But if you find yourself thinking "Is this 27/50ths across or 29?" when subdividing / planning an object then you should always just round to either 2/5 or 3/5ths because it's not about reproducing the object down to the last millimeter, it's about making as many decisions before drawing the object instead of while we are drawing it. My personal advice is to never go past 10ths as I've never gone further than that and there isn't really a need to. Also you could just stick to the traditional subdivision method of dividing by 2 each time.

    Finally I have some tips for subdividing which could help reduce clutter in your drawing and could help with placing elements that don't align to subdivided lines.

    • First, only subdivide what is necessary. This may sound obvious and you might think you're already subdividing the minimum amount but there are some tricks you can use which can reduce the amount that you need to subdivide. If you're going for a lot of precision and you have a corner or a small detail that is present elsewhere on the object you can subdivide that small detail first and the shoot the line off across the plan to where the other detail is and build off of that line as shown here (the green line to the right). You can build off of any line this way as long as you subdivided it first because that allows us to replicate it onto the construction. You can also divide quadrants into 3rds (highlighted red in the previous image) and 5ths (top left quadrant of the previous image) and build off of them to precisely place elements.

    • Second, this pertains more to the lines themselves. You should always draw as light as you possibly can when drawing subdivision lines and then harder when you draw the lines that shape the object. This will essentially highlight the object in your view and will help you not get lost while drawing (+ it looks better). If you forget to draw light you can always go over the important lines again to try bring the object out of the mess but it's always better to go light.

    • Third, make sure you draw curves as straight lines. This isn't really a tip but just a reminder that you should always draw curves as a chain of straight lines before drawing the curve. I mention this because 99% of lesson 6 and 7 submissions I critique always forget this.

    I hope this answers your questions about lesson 6! Remember that everything here can also be applied to lesson 7 when you get to it and if anything was unclear or if you have further questions don't hesitate to ask. Also if the pictures were unclear I'm considering doing a live demo of an object and a vehicle to make the process clear so let me know if you prefer that over the pictures.

    8:56 PM, Tuesday March 28th 2023

    Good job on completing the revision!

    Overall you did the exercise correctly, however I should have probably been more specific in what I meant by round-on-round/flat surfaces. This basically means all the intersections but focusing on ones that create the round and flat ones. For example a cone and a sphere, a sphere and a cylinder, cylinder and cone etc. not just spheres and boxes. This only limits you to 2 intersections and doesn't really challenge your spacial reasoning skills because you are essentially just repeating the same intersection over and over. For the intersections themselves I noticed you tried surrounding the boxes with spheres which ended up creating impossible / "see through" intersections. This basically means you draw intersections where you can't see them. This is a good exercise once your spatial reasoning has advanced to the level where form intersections is easy but for now try to only do intersections which the viewer (you) can see. Finally, while the lines for the boxes and outer part of the sphere are certainly confident, the intersections themselves become very messy due to the repeated line work which tells me you aren't really ghosting that much and are instead re-drawing the lines based on instinct. Every mark done in the drawabox course should be thought out and deliberate by ghosting many times and thinking before hand. Additionally the lines on the boxes themselves are diverging which is impossible for a box to do.

    I won't assign revisions as the major errors are from different lessons, however I strongly recommend you take a look at the box challenge and lesson 1, focusing specifically on line work and boxes. As you mentioned in your other reply, since you've been doing drawabox for a couple of years now you probably haven't done warmups consistently for those years but even just 10 minutes a day can go a long way.

    About the stuff you wrote on AI, I actually thought it would never be able to be automated but it was actually one of the first things to be automated which is quite interesting. Because of this more and more artists have been posting less and less which is disheartening and depressing as people are accepting that they will lose their skills to AI. It would be nice if society shifted from a labour to leisure economy but I think that is still far off into the future, probably when AGI is developed as the current narrow AIs won't be able to replace every job (probably?).

    Anyway, congrats on completing drawabox! If you have any questions don't hesitate to reply.

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    5:29 PM, Friday March 24th 2023

    Congrats on finishing lesson 7! I'll do my best to give you feedback so you can improve.

    Starting with your form intersections there are a few issues I'd like to address. The first being unconfident linework. Generally by the time students reach lesson 7 they should have built up enough mileage with the ghosting method and markmaking from warmups. I can only guess that you've neglected doing warmups so I strongly suggest that you continue to do them after you finish the course. Moving on to the intersections themselves, I can see that you do a good job for flat-on-flat intersections but problems start to appear on the round-on-flat and round-on-round intersections. Remember that instead of thinking of the intersections between forms, think of them as between surfaces. Usually for round-on-flat curves there will be a "C" shape between the 2 like your cylinder going through the box. For round-on-round, it's usually an "S" curve between the forms. From what I can see you still end up using C curves which makes the objects look flat. I'll be asking for a revision of this exercise with cleaner line work and more intersections between round-on-round/flat surfaces just to make sure you have a good understanding before finishing the course. I'll give you this diagram which may help your understanding as well as this form intersection pack (made by optimus on discord) and this guide on how to use paint 3D to make your own intersections and to experiment with different configurations.

    Your boxed cylinders are looking good so keep it up. The reason uncomfortable asks for this exercise again at the end of the course is to see if students are doing it correctly so when doing warmups they can still get value out of the exercise.

    Finally for your vehicle constructions you've done a really good job with these! I can see you've patiently and carefully built up the constructions. I only have a couple points to make.

    First it seems like you've only blocked out the general shape of the vehicle on the orthographic plans and did the subdivision on the construction itself. While this isn't wrong, it can be more beneficial to do all the subdivision on the orthographic plans before doing it on the construction. Doing it this way allows us to separate the decision making process and the thinking in 3d process allowing us to focus on one task at each step instead of multiple on one step. Uncomfortable has updated the orthographic plan instructions from lesson 6 and 7 in case you missed it. The one on lesson 6 has an example which illustrates how orthographic plans can be used to precisely define specific landmarks on an object however that can also be transfered to vehicle plans as well.

    Second, you've opted for a grid like approach in the subdivision which is ok, however you didn't replicate this grid onto the constructions (from what I can see) which essentially makes them useless as you can't transfer information from the plan to the construction. Luckily this is made up for by the fact you did subdivision on the constructions but it's still important to make the plan match the construction. On the topic of plans I'd also suggest that you base the plan off the wheel measurement as that is much more accurate than a grid (on cars atleast). This may not be possible in your case as from what I can see you don't have an ellipse / circle template but if you end up doing these exercises again I suggest getting one.

    Third, the 7th vehicle down (the truck) ends up looking flat because you didn't extend the top points to the other vanishing point which you may have missed. This is why separating the 3d thinking process is essential as you are less likely to get distracted and miss small mistakes like that. Also on that same vehicle (and a couple of others) you end up using form shading which is something that this course avoids. This is the difference between cast shadows and form shading which shows how cast shadows suggest form and form shading describes the form. I assume you were doing this with the line hatching as well which is also something to be avoided in this course as it's another form of form shading.

    Finally I suggest taking a look at this submission as this is what I consider as a perfect example for the exercises. In sharing this, I don't want you to compare your work to theirs as that would be missing the point. I share this so you can get a different perspective on how to approach these exercises.

    Overall though you've done a great job with this lesson, with a few minor tweaks to your approach I feel like you can get more out of the exercises if you choose to do them again. If you have any questions or if anything was unclear don't hesitate to ask.

    Next Steps:

    1 Page of form intersections

    • With confident linework

    • More focus on round-on-flat and round-on-round intersections (check out the links if you need help understanding them better)

    When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
    4:51 AM, Tuesday March 21st 2023

    Very well done!

    You've demonstrated an extreme amount of patience and dedication and have shown you understand the lesson perfectly. There is honestly not much to critique!

    Good job!

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The Science of Deciding What You Should Draw

The Science of Deciding What You Should Draw

Right from when students hit the 50% rule early on in Lesson 0, they ask the same question - "What am I supposed to draw?"

It's not magic. We're made to think that when someone just whips off interesting things to draw, that they're gifted in a way that we are not. The problem isn't that we don't have ideas - it's that the ideas we have are so vague, they feel like nothing at all. In this course, we're going to look at how we can explore, pursue, and develop those fuzzy notions into something more concrete.

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