Lesson 3: Applying Construction to Plants

5:25 PM, Wednesday June 22nd 2022

Lesson 3 Homework - Album on Imgur

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Thanks for looking at my lesson 3 homework.

I really enjoyed this lesson as it allowed me to put together the construction ideas we've learnt up to this point.

I feel my sense of 3D space has improved since the earlier lessons, but maybe my line work has slowed down a bit.

When I watch other "dynamic sketchers" drawing they tend to go quite quickly and confidently but I found I was slowing down, especially when adding any texture elements.

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12:57 AM, Friday June 24th 2022

Starting with your arrows, your initial linework is coming along okay - could definitely be a bit more confident, but I can see that you are pushing the confidence in that linework. Confidence is key here, because it helps to push the fluidity with which the structure moves through space. But we run into a problem when you start piling on line weight - your line weight is not only extremely thick, but it's also drawn using a scratchier approach for the most part, which takes that initially confident linework and makes it much more stiff.

Line weight should still be applied using the ghosting method, to ensure a confident stroke - and furthermore, as explained here you need to be focusing it only on the areas where there are overlaps between your forms (like the spots where the arrow zigzags back and forth). Lastly, and this is very important: you've taken it upon yourself to reach for a thicker pen to add that line weight, but that is not permitted in the instructions. Every line you draw here is going to be, unless otherwise stated, drawn using the same 0.5mm fineliner. You do not reach for a thicker pen to add line weight. Line weight itself is meant to be subtle, without massive jumps between them.

There is just one case where we allow the use of a thicker pen, or even a brush pen - that's when you're filling in your cast shadow shapes (like the ones we use when tackling texture). But even here, those shapes are first outlined with the regular fineliner.

Continuing onto your leaves, your initial linework once again is pretty good - you're achieving a lot of confidence behind them, which helps establish not only how they sit statically in space, but also how they move through the space they occupy. But again - we run into issues when you start drawing on top of it. We've talked about the use of the thicker pen, so I won't go too much into that - but in general, your stages of construction should all be drawn with the same thickness, with line weight only being added towards the end, to clarify those overlaps.

Furthermore however, you end up with really loose relationships between your phases of construction, because you are effectively redrawing the entirety of your leaf at each stage, rather than building it up bit by bit. As explained here, we need to maintain tight, specific relationships between our phases of construction, and as shown here, each stage of construction stands for itself, with the subsequent steps making individual changes to that 3D structure.

Moving onto your branches, it seems you may not have followed the instructions all that closely here. This exercise focuses heavily on how the segments flow from one to the next, to create a smooth, seamless impression. As explained here in the instructions, each segment must go from one ellipse, past the second, and stop halfway to the third. The next segment then begins at the second ellipse and repeats the pattern.

At this point, I'm really running into the impression that you have not really held to the single responsibility all students hold when working through this course - to invest as much time as is necessary to go through the instructions as closely and carefully as they can, and to execute the work to the absolute best of their ability. I do think you're putting plenty of time into the execution of the work, but you are not heeding the instructions that have been laid out.

You mentioned watching "other dynamic sketchers" - perhaps that was somewhat misleading. This course is not dynamic sketching, as discussed back in Lesson 0. We do not apply a lot of the same principles, and we leverage similar exercises very differently, towards a specific focus. Your plant constructions themselves are not bad (although they do deviate from the instructions in all the ways I've already stated). So in a sense, they're fine, but only if the assignment was different.

So, I'm going to stop here and ask that you give this lesson another swing. This happens sometimes - a student gets the wrong impression, takes information from outside of the course and applies it without fully understanding whether or not it applies, and ultimately takes a wrong turn. While it's never pleasant, it is better something caught early as we've done here, so it can be addressed.

When you're done redoing the lesson, you will need to send it in as a new submission, which will cost you an additional 2 credits.

7:23 PM, Sunday June 26th 2022
edited at 9:58 PM, Jun 26th 2022

OK, thanks for the critique. I know you're all away currently but i'll leave this repsonse here, if you could reply when you get back I would really appreciate it. Making the transition from basic exercises to constructions is something i'm struggling with.

So to summarise here, so I don't end up repeating my mistakes, you're saying:

  1. My line thickness is inconsistent, scratchy and not applied in the correct spots. I need to be using the same pen to create subtle changes on partial areas of the line where there's an overlap to indicate line dominance.

  2. Outline cast shadows with fineliner first, fill in with brush pen if needed.

  3. Add to previous levels of construction, don't redraw the whole thing again.

I agree that my branches are not that great, I seem to really struggle connecting the lines into a smooth curve, i'm always nervous about slowing down as I don't want to lose the fluidity.

I'd like to get your thoughts on at least a couple of my constructions which are very different from each other. They're on pages 4 and 5 of my constructions. I've labelled them Potted plant and Pitcher plant. The reason I pick those is because they're very different from each other as the potted plant is further along the construction process whereas the Pitcher plant is more basic construction.

Are either of these going in the direction you're suggesting? Especially with the Pitcher plant as it is the more stripped down basic construction.

In addition, I know that you say it's not "dynamic Sketching" but at the start of lesson 3 it does say "This marks the beginning of the 'Dynamic Sketching' curriculum." Which you might want to edit to avoid confusion.


edited at 9:58 PM, Jun 26th 2022
5:28 PM, Friday July 1st 2022

Your three points are accurate. Thanks for calling out my left-over mentioning of dynamic sketching as well, I've gone in and updated that section.

As to your question about the two constructions, they're not actually as different as you may suspect. One being further developed than the other is less of a concern than the approach they both demonstrate. While the potted plant's flower pot was not approached correctly, and its stems did not have defined minor axes around which to construct them (as is part of the branch exercise), as far as construction goes they are the two in the set that were the closest to being correct, with the pitcher plant being generally OK and acceptable in a normal submission (although this may simply be because you were following the demo more closely).

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