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10:35 PM, Monday July 18th 2022

Starting with your arrows, you're doing a great job of drawing these with a great deal of confidence, which helps immensely in conveying the sense of fluidity with which they move through the world. This carries over nicely into your leaves, where you're capturing not only how they sit statically in 3D space, but also how they move through the space they occupy.

When it comes to adding edge detail however, you run into two main issues:

  • You're quite prone to zigzagging your edge detail, allowing it to pass back and forth across the existing edge rather than building it up with individual marks. This results in a very weak relationship between the phases of construction, which in turn impedes the solidity of those earlier stages from carrying forward as we build up more complexity. Remember - the process is not to redraw the entirety of your leaf at every stage, but rather to build upon the existing structure in 3D space, one bit at a time.

  • The other point is that you appear to change how much time/effort you put into each stroke based on how many you have to draw. For example, if you only have a few bumps to add for a leaf's edge detail, you'll individually give them more of your time. But when you have a ton to add, you tend to be pretty sloppy with each individual one. I actually talk about this tendency in the purpose section of the ghosted planes exercise. I recommend you give that a read.

Continuing onto your branches, you've done this one well for the most part. There are however a few things that come up here and there, rather than being present across the board:

  • Remember that as shown here each edge segment starts at an ellipse. You have a tendency to start it further along, which minimizes the overlap between them.

  • Take a bit more care in planning out your ellipse before you execute it, to ensure that the alignment actually follows your minor axis.

Moving onto your plant constructions, here your work is actually quite well done. I'm very pleased to see the heavy focus on confident linework and smooth executions. You're drawing all your leaves/petals in their entirety (even when they overlap one another) which is great, and you're capturing a great sense of fluidity throughout your constructions.

I have just a couple of points to call out:

  • Here and here you've definitely confused the detail phase for decoration, and ended up focusing more on form shading (which as explained here should not play a role in our drawings for this course) rather than the textural principles from Lesson 2.

  • Here I can see you going back over your lines - not to add edge detail or to add line weight (which as explained here should be concentrated at the localized areas where the overlaps between forms occur, in order to clarify how those overlaps behave), but just to arbitrarily reinforce existing lines.

Now, I'll leave you to address the issues in your leaves exercise on your own. They are notable, but you should have all you need to fix them in your warmups. I'll go ahead and mark this lesson as complete.

Next Steps:

Move onto lesson 4.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
8:27 PM, Tuesday July 19th 2022

Thanks for the critique. Its very clear and I will definitely make an effort to be more mindful of my mark making as things get more complex. I have a question if it isn't too much of a bother. Would the attempts at shading in my leaves exercise and/or 7th plant construction be more in the right direction? I'm not sure if I understand how (if at all) I should be adding cast shadows on individual leaves that don't have veins popping out like the one in the basic leaf construction diagram.

4:18 PM, Wednesday July 20th 2022

The 7th plant runs into the same kind of issue. It comes down to the fact that you're interpreting the addition of detail here as being an opportunity to decorate your drawings. That is, to basically do whatever you can to make the drawings feel more interesting and visually pleasing. It is entirely normal to feel like this is necessary or important, but it is not actually what our goal is here.

What we're doing in this course can be broken into two distinct sections - construction and texture - and they both focus on the same concept. With construction we're communicating to the viewer what they need to know to understand how they might manipulate this object with their hands, were it in front of them. With texture, we're communicating to the viewer what they need to know to understand what it'd feel like to run their fingers over the object's various surfaces. Both of these focus on communicating three dimensional information. Both sections have specific jobs to accomplish, and none of it has to do with making the drawing look nice.

Instead of focusing on decoration, what we draw here comes down to what is actually physically present in our construction, just on a smaller scale. As discussed back in Lesson 2's texture section, we focus on each individual textural form, focusing on them one at a time and using the information present in the reference image to help identify and understand how every such textural form sits in 3D space, and how it relates within that space to its neighbours. Once we understand how the textural form sits in the world, we then design the appropriate shadow shape that it would cast on its surroundings. The shadow shape is important, because it's that specific shape which helps define the relationship between the form casting it, and the surface receiving it.

As a result of this approach, you'll find yourself thinking less about excuses to add more ink, and instead you'll be working in the opposite - trying to get the information across while putting as little ink down as is strictly needed, and using those implicit markmaking techniques from Lesson 2 to help you with that.

7:06 PM, Wednesday July 20th 2022

Thanks for the extra clarification. Looking back now I can certainly see how the shadow shapes I put down aren't implying any forms going along the surface. Gonna keep your less is more advice in mind during future attempts.

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