Congratulations! You've not only completed the course, you've also gone and collected your loot. And sure, your loot was just more work, and that work was not remotely easy, but all things considered you did do a pretty good job. You explored a wide variety of designs, you pushed yourself to collect reference (good on you for including it too, it's nice to see the wealth of inspiration from which you derived your work), and you exposed yourself to the process of design itself.

Now, your work isn't without its shortcomings, but there are certain ways in which you shot yourself in the foot somewhat. It's definitely unfortunate that you lost your ellipse guide, though considering that, you still did a pretty damn good job freehanding then in most cases. Some went wildly awry, but most were actually within a pretty reasonable degree of control.

That's not where you shot yourself in the foot though - the key issue with how you approached the challenge was just that your chests ended up pretty cramped. On one hand, I can totally see how working with a relatively limited ellipse guide would cause that, but once you'd been freed from those shackles by the gnomes that live in your house, you were effectively free to draw at a much larger scale. Drawing bigger - as it always does - gives us more room to think through spatial problems, but when it comes to design it also allows us to explore greater nuance and dig more deeply into the specific details and features we choose to add to our drawings.

There are a lot of places throughout your chests where you've added particular decorative elements, but given the space in which you have to actually fit them in, the most we can do is to put down very loose, vague approximations that suggest a feature without going into any real specificity. This small-scale approach is great for thumbnailing (iterating on many different designs quickly) because it lays out a lot of visual problems that need to be solved - but of course, eventually they do need to be solved. That's what design is - it's the process of identifying problems and then solving them through visual means.

Now, to touch on a few specific points:

  • On 25D, the one with the warped wood planks, I noticed that you defined the planks themselves starting out with some wavy lines. While this seems like the obvious choice, it actually does break one of the 3 commandments of markmaking - specifically, ensuring that each stroke maintains a specific trajectory. Drawing a line as being wavy from the get-go can often result in a line that reminds us that it is just running across a flat page. Instead, starting with a straight line and then building the 'bumps' of the wave through individual adjustments (as done to our leaves back in lesson 3). If we draw a wave with a continuous stroke, we can also fall into a sort of autopilot mode where we think less about how the line moves through 3D space, and more about how it's just going back and forth in a repeating pattern along the page.

  • When adding things like wood grain (12c, 12d), slow down a little and spend more time observing that reference. Study the wood grain's actual patterns, and be more purposeful when carrying over those specific details. Right now they're very clearly drawn from what you already understand and remember about woodgrain, so they lack the impression of being actually carried over directly from the reference image, which will tend to include a lot more nuance and complexity.

  • Same thing applies for dealing with separate wood planks, like 23c/23d. This technically falls under texture, so while we're not necessarily going to need to draw and define every single plank, we do want to make sure the lines we draw are treated as shadow shapes, rather than actual lines. That means focusing on having the lines taper towards the start/end, rather than remaining as uniform as they do here. We want to give the impression that the edges those lines suggest don't actually end, just the mark communicating them does. When a line tapers, it becomes more difficult to really pin down where we feel it ends - it can potentially continue on, just at a width we cannot perceive.

It's worth mentioning that I really liked chest 22c, 13d and 16c. 13d felt particularly solid and heavy, capturing a great sense of solidity to it. The segmented bars (not really sure what they'd actually be called) that separate out the surfaces on 22c were captured really well despite the limited space you had to work in. And while 16c's floral pattern was definitely loose (given again, the space you had to work in), I think it was a very interesting direction to explore, and all things considered it was still suggested fairly well.

All in all, I think you don't give yourself enough credit. I do of course think your results would have been better had you give yourself more room to work, but all things considered you did do a pretty good job. So again, congratulations on completing the challenge - and on becoming a little more of a completionist than everyone else :P