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1:12 AM, Wednesday April 20th 2022

Here are the three animal pages:

I knew that the fox fur was wrong. I tried to improve the squirrel drawings after going over the raccoon with fur demo. I did another picture of a squirrel and hope that I got a little closer this time. When I did wing on the hybrid, I was looking at the complicated leaf demo for inspiration. I redid a bird with wings so that I could try again. This time I followed your example. Still a little lost on the cast shadows. I think I am getting stuck on the word shadow which seems inadequate to describe what you are after. Maybe it's just me.

And now the elephant in the room. Oh and I did an elephant. But actually I have been meaning to ask a question but wanted to wait until I was further along in the lessons to ask. It's about those pretty pictures we have been avoiding. I wholly approve of what you are teaching and how you are teaching it. I'm all in. But, at some point, the goal is pretty pictures for most of the people coming to Drawabox. I am wondering if at some point you will post a lesson or article on "And now what". How do you transition from the exercises here to a more finished drawing? I don't think the 50% rule is enought to get a person there. It probably wouldn't be a lesson (unless it's lesson 0.2) but maybe an article. When you did the drawing of faces that you tore up in your demo, you didn't use construction lines. So how do you get there? I have thoughts about it, but I am more interested in yours.

12:58 PM, Wednesday April 20th 2022

You're making progress here, but there are still quite a few things I called out in my feedback that you have either tried to address but are still running into issues with, or haven't addressed at all.

In terms of the things that you're trying to address, but aren't quite there yet:

  • You are making a concerted effort to work with more complete, fully enclosed forms for each additional mass, though you appear to be actively avoiding the use of any sharp corners in the silhouettes of those masses. What I explained previously was not that sharp corners and inward curves, which result in more complexity than their corresponding smooth/rounded/gradual corners and outward curves, are bad. Rather, that based on how our masses are meant to attach to the existing structure, there are places where we must use outward curves (like where the mass is not making contact with anything else), and there are places where we must use inward curves (like where the mass is making direct contact with another part of the existing structure). Similarly, we use sharp corners where we need to transition from a section not making contact to a section that is making contact, and smooth/gradual corners when we need to jump from one kind of a curve to another, but where there's no direct contact to provide us with that sharp, sudden transition. Right now, you're not using any sharp corners or inward curves, and so your additional masses feel more like individual shapes pasted on top of the drawing, rather than solid forms wrapping around a 3D structure. If you compare this elephant example with your example, specifically in the kinds of shapes I use for the additional masses, and also look back at the examples I gave you previously, that may help.

  • Your fur is still really overdone, and you're focusing a lot more on just putting down a ton of strokes than on the execution of each individual stroke. If we ignore the "internal" sections of fur (which I largely eliminated from your fox, because the internal stuff doesn't have nearly as much impact) and focus only on the fur that comes up at the silhouette of your forms, you're drawing these individual strokes that cut right past the silhouette's edge. If you look at my adjustment of your fox however, you'll notice that each stroke comes off the existing edge and returns to it, in an attempt to extend that silhouette as seamlessly as possible. This isn't something we'd do when dealing with normal construction, but this is precisely what we need to focus on when establishing a texture to a form's surface. Be precise and accurate with your marks, and invest the time that requires of you. Instead of putting down a couple hundred marks that aren't executed to the best of your ability, that aren't given as much time as you could to improve how directly they reflect your intent, put down a dozen or two that are given enough time for that.

As for things you didn't address:

  • In your wings, you still tried to use a sausage structure to build up the bones first - something I specifically told you not to do.

  • You also ended up using a lot of ellipses instead of sausages when building up that bone structure - you do this to a lesser extent here and there (I think you may well be trying to address this, but I'm not sure - it comes up in other places like your squirrel's upper arms).

  • You don't appear to have followed anything I mentioned about head construction

As a whole, you're not giving me the impression that you've really absorbed my previous feedback in its entirety. The first section of issues, that's normal - a student is not expected to be able to successfully apply everything after the first round of feedback. That's why I've gone into more detail with those. But I've kept the second list brief, because these points - especially the head construction, where I devoted an entire section to pointing you to a specific demonstration/approach, told you what to focus on, and so on - were ignored entirely.

I do not think this was your intention - but it does speak to carelessness, and that carelessness costs us both time.

So, I'm going to assign some further revisions below. Take your time with these, and take your time in reading (and rereading periodically) the feedback you've received already. The feedback I give is generally dense by its very nature, so do not expect to absorb it all in one read-through.

As to the other thing you mentioned about the course, Drawabox has a very limited focus, and its intent is not to give students a one-stop shop for everything. I do however include plenty of course recommendations throughout the course material (initially it was limited to the first page of Lesson 0 but as we rolled out our new partnership with New Masters Academy this month, I have expanded that considerably, which you may not yet have had the chance to see, though it has also required me to limit my recommendation of competing resources).

You are certainly right that the 50% rule is not enough to get a student there - and more importantly it's not intended to get them there. Its target is very different, to get students used to the idea of drawing things that don't turn out the way they want them to.

That said, there is no one track I can recommend to students. Everyone comes to Drawabox with their own goals, and each one is told to set those goals aside (at least within the context of the course), and that regardless of what it is they wish to pursue - be it illustration, concept art, figure and character drawing, painting, or whatever else - what we focus on here will help everything else go down more smoothly.

But every student is going to have a different path alongside, and after Drawabox, depending on what it is they wish to pursue.

As to "how did you get to drawing faces without construction" - well that comes back to the fact that Drawabox isn't teaching you an approach for drawing. Everything we do here is an exercise, and the purpose behind them is to train your instincts and rewire the way in which your brain perceives the things we draw, as they exist in 3D space. I'm not great at drawing faces without construction, and when I'm drawing anything of consequence, I still start with some amount of structure even if it's fairly loosely defined. But what allowed me to cross the distance from where you are now, to where I am, is developing my brain's understanding of 3D space. And that's also what sets someone like me apart from a master like Kim Jung Gi - his spatial reasoning and visual library are developed so much farther than mine.

The remaining question that I imagine one might ask of course, is what did I do to learn? Well, I took a big risk - I quit my job, moved across the continent, and attended Concept Design Academy for 6 months. There I studied with Peter Han (Dynamic Sketching, upon which I based Drawabox, though I stripped away all of that "pretty drawing" stuff and bolstered the 3D spatial reasoning elements farther, and gradually fit my course in as a sort of precursor to Dynamic Sketching, in order to help students make better use of it), and with Kevin Chen (Analytical Figure Drawing). I felt these two courses played quite well off one another, and I'd been looking for something comparable to recommend to students that approached figure drawing in a similarly analytical fashion.

I'd recommended things like Proko, Hampton, and Brent Eviston, but it actually was that sponsorship deal that exposed me to Steve Huston, who teaches in an extremely similar fashion to the way that I learned. So, as far as my own trajectory, what I'd recommend to students is that they take Dynamic Sketching (this is offered by a few different sources, from Peter Han himself, to CDA, to CGMA, all of which are quite pricey but include thorough feedback, to New Masters Academy which is vastly cheaper but has more limited options for feedback), and that they take figure drawing with Steve Huston (also available at NMA - the links for most of these are available on Page 1 of Lesson 0). Keep in mind however that there are so many paths one can take, and it all depends on what it is you're looking to do, which direction you want to go, whether you're looking to do this professionally or as a hobbyist, what your budget is, etc.

Anyway, I recommend that you flip back through the pages of the lessons - Lessons 3-7 mostly have NMA course recommendations which you can check out (they're in a little grey box to let them stand out without being obnoxiously ad-like), but since they were added recently you may not have seen them.

Next Steps:

Please submit 3 additional animal constructions. I want you to work on no more than one of these drawings per day - so if you finish one drawing in a given day, you should not start the next one until the following day.

And of course, it is the drawing that determines how much time it demands of you, so if you do not have the time to do that in a single sitting (which you may well not - these drawings can take quite a while), you should simply spread it out across multiple sittings or days as needed.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
3:56 PM, Wednesday April 20th 2022


Well let me first begin by saying I am not trying to ignore what you said or waste your time, but perhaps I am focusing on the wrong things. I did try to reduce the fur but clearly not enough. I feel like there is a grey area that I am crossing over once I finish construction when adding details. It's almost like "If I am not trying to make a finished picture, what's the point of any detail?" Except perhaps a shadow here or there. I will do another furry critter and see if I can get it right.

I did try to use your wing demo as my model, but it wasn't attached to a bird, so maybe I just missed that part of it. None of your bird demos have wings in flight, so I assumed that the feather which are flatter (which is why I first drew it using a leaf model) would attach to the skeletal part of the wing. Also, I do feel you can see the musculature of the wing in the photo, which is why I added it as a separate structure. I will try another bird and see if I can get that right.

As for the heads, I am clearly missing something there. I do feel lost when attaching parts to the cranial mass. I will follow the demo's again and try just some head studies as part of my resubmission. I attempted multiple squirrel heads before I got to even what you see there.

I think I see what you are saying now about the added masses. The lines do come to a sharper point on the sample. I have a different picture of an elephant and will attempt that one again.

I really thought I did better on this submission, but I will try to improve. It's hard to hear a critique at times, but necessary to grow. Thanks for the advice for continuing forward. I appreciate it.

4:39 PM, Wednesday April 20th 2022

Just to clarify the point about the head constructions, one extremely important point you missed (since you stated you did try to follow the informal head construction demo I linked previously), is that you are leaving arbitrary gaps between the different elements of the head. That demo focuses very heavily on the idea of everything being a puzzle piece that fits together tightly and specifically.

Additionally, keep in mind that you should only be doing the work you're assigned. I go into this at greater length in this video on getting the most out of drawabox from Lesson 0. It is quite new, as this was one of many points I felt that students weren't picking up on from the previous iteration of the content.

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