Lesson 3: Applying Construction to Plants
5:28 PM, Wednesday December 21st 2022
My pen is starting to lose ink so it's a bit light in places it shouldn't be.
My name is Ted and I am going to give you some feedback on your work in lesson 3.
I first looked through the entire body of work you produced to get an overall impression. Perhaps you are trying to do the drawings too quickly, which is a very easy thing to do, especially when working on something that you are comfortable with, or are faced with some tedious detail. I can see the hurriedness in some of your line work and in some small mistakes in the plant constructions. I will be more specific for each of the places I see it clearly.
Arrows... I beleive that you understand the concept of drawing the flowing arrows in 3D space, but some of the arrows are not as 3-dimensional as others. I suspect that you were drawing them very quickly. There are some places where the lines are constricted unnaturally. The lines should look parallel and taper ever so slightly. Every aspect of the ribbon should reflect passage through 3D space: the space between the lines, the space between the curves in the ribbon, and the relative width of a meander should all decrease as the ribbon flows away from the viewer. A few of your ribbons have one or more of those attributes remain close to the same as the move through the space. One trick I used to help myself get better at the ribbons is to make the vanishing point for all of the ribbons the top of the page and concentrate on having all the attributes look the same at different levels of the paper. I even practiced a set by drawing faint lines across the page at 1/3 and 2/3, then practiced making sure that the attributes in the top third were close, second third were close and bottom third would close. The result is a set of arrows that may not be as dynamic or interesting as some you have drawn, but 'interesting' is not the goal in this exercise. The objective is to show a flat plane flowing through 3D space to that the same concepts can be applied to leaves.
Leaf construction... Several of these look rushed and it is difficult to see the basic steps in leaf construction as described here: https://drawabox.com/lesson/3/2/videoleaves . The edge detail shows 'zig-zagging' instead of careful consideration of each mark. Observation of the reference is key for the detail. If you were not using references for the leaves, you should, and concentrate on what the details actually look like. The result of rushing the details and adding them more as a pattern is that the drawings look flat and cartoonish.
Branches... These look particularly rushed, and it is an easy exercise to want to hurry through. Ellipses... for this exercise the ellipses should all be the same length around the initial line that acts as the minor axis. For the most part your ellipses are the same length, but more than a few fall off the line as the axis, which is another indication of rushing. The ellipses also need to show degree shift, with the ends of the branches having round ellipses and the center ellipses being narrower. There is a specific way to draw the outside lines which is described here: https://drawabox.com/lesson/3/2/videobranches . Some of your lines have a lot of visible tails, and a couple look as though the pen was never lifted off of the paper. Some bisect an ellipse and others miss the edge of an ellipse entirely. As a result your branches are a bit too sketchy.
Plant constructions... For the most part I can see the use of construction technique in your drawings. There are a few that look rushed and have some incomplete construction. For example, there are a couple places where a stem/branch or two were not completed with the ellipses and connecting lines, so the result is a stem that is just two parallel lines. There are several places where the lines that should meet at a leaf tip do not, which is a sign of rushing and drawing without a careful study of the reference. The last drwing of the fan palm is a good example. The stems were not constructed at all. The leaves have origination circles, but the line work inside for the fronds is very hurried.
I am going to suggest some revisions for you to work on.
One page of leaf constructions... Concentrate on following the steps as closely as you can.
One page of branches... concentrate on the degree shift in the ellipses and cleanliness of the outside lines drawn as described in the exercise.
Two plant construction drawings... concentrate on breaking the task into its constructive parts and making every mark mean something. Try hard to not deviate from a reference too much... not that copying a reference exactly is necessary, but it is important to take more time to study the reference.
Thank you for the in-depth feedback! I will try to build in breaks for my studying. Sometimes being in the flow works against me.
I've added in the revisions to the initial folder and moved the previous exercise to "old". For the first plant revision, I tried to figure out how the leaf curls around the stem of the flower, but you can see that didn't quite work out. I also was unable to read how the edge of the leaf looks on the reference but I am unsure what flower it is.
For the second plant revision, I've marked ellipses where there are petals of the flower. These were for the flow line of the petals and not the whole petal.
I saw you mentioned the organic arrows too, but didn't add them as revision. I did some for warmup and will probably try and incorporate them in future warmups as well.
Please let me know what you think, and if I should work on something else. I'm especially interested on anything I should continue working on either during warmups or in general.
Thank you again!
these revisions look better. i can seen where you took more time and did not rush or marks as much as you did initially. The poppy bloom and seed pods are strongest. thr crocus blooms look a bit more simplistic, but still better than the initial drawings. Your leaf constructions are also stronger overall, but to draw the basic outlines without any detail will make a drawing look flat. I can see that clearly comparing the leaves you added detail on with those you did not.
You should wait for more reviewers to agree with moving on, and in the meantime practice using construction to draw leaves and plants with details. Use the texture lessons for thr detail.
The next lesson will apply construction to drawing arthropods. personally, i find this easier than drawing plants. i think it is because it is easier to see the three dimensionality of an animal than in a leaf or plant. Observation of thr reference becomes very important because the creatures have a lot more intricate detail then most leaves do.
Thank you for the continued guidance! I'll keep practicing the leaves and doing arrows for warmups. I've been doing some more leaves and I really have a hard time with visualising the bending.
I'm planning on getting on the texture challenge soon, and left most of them without texture because of that.
This is a remarkable little pen. Technically speaking, any brush pen of reasonable quality will do, but I'm especially fond of this one. It's incredibly difficult to draw with (especially at first) due to how much your stroke varies based on how much pressure you apply, and how you use it - but at the same time despite this frustration, it's also incredibly fun.
Moreover, due to the challenge of its use, it teaches you a lot about the nuances of one's stroke. These are the kinds of skills that one can carry over to standard felt tip pens, as well as to digital media. Really great for doodling and just enjoying yourself.