Lesson 3: Applying Construction to Plants

1:38 PM, Wednesday February 2nd 2022

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I stuck with 1 plant drawing per page and tried to make each one a bit bigger, i hope that is ok. I enjoyed this lesson a lot, although (like the previous ones) i struggled with it. Anyways, thanks for the feedback and the entire course. I dont have much drawing experience and so far, i feel like i benefitted a lot from it. :)

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9:42 PM, Friday February 4th 2022

Drawing big is good, and important, so there's nothing to worry about on that front. On the flipside, I do frequently have to warn people not to draw too small.

Jumping right in with your arrows, these are showing a lot of confidence and fluidity in how they move through space, which in turn carries over quite well into your leaves, establishing not only how they sit statically in 3D space, but also how they actually move through the space they occupy. You're also generally handling the addition of edge detail pretty well, building it off the existing silhouette in a manner that maintains the solidity from the previous stage, rather than outright trying to replace it. I do have one quick point to call out however.

Construction is all about laying down specific assertions, then following/adhering to them as we proceed. For example, when drawing more complex leaf structures with multiple arms, we start out with a general leaf shape that establishes the overall footprint of the whole structure. This initial leaf shape defines the extents to which the individual smaller "arms" will extend, and thus each flow line you subsequently draw must extend to its perimeter. Here I've marked out how your individual arms ought to have extended out, given the previous step of construction. Now of course this may not match whatever reference you were using at the time, but construction isn't about matching reference images at all costs. The reference serves as a source of information, and a direction in which to aim, but following what has been established in previous phases of construction is more important because that's what will maintain the solidity of our constructions.

Continuing onto your branches, you're largely doing a good job here and I'm pleased to see the clear shift in your ellipses' degree to demonstrate the turning of the form as the tube flows through space, but there is a notable issue in how you're applying the edges themselves. This exercise focuses on a very specific manner of overlapping the edges so we can achieve a smoother, more seamless transition from one to the next, and that is something you're largely missing. As explained here, each segment flows from one ellipse, past the second, stopping fully halfway to the third. The next segment then starts at the second ellipse and repeats this pattern. You tend to have your segments stop only slightly past the second ellipse, and often have your next segment start a little further down, resulting in a very minimal overlap and a much more sudden shift from one segment to the other.

Onto your plant constructions, I can definitely see considerable growth over the set, and by and large you're doing pretty well. I do however have a few points to call out here as well:

  • A minor point, but in cases like your aloe vera plant where a form (your flower pot in this case) gets cut off the side of the page, do not leave it open ended as you did here. This reminds the viewer that they're looking at a flat page, and fails to establish the form as something three dimensional, simply because it doesn't provide enough information. Instead, cap it off - as though you cut the object with ab lade, resulting in an ellipse at its bottom to close off the form and reinforce the illusion that it is a three dimensional structure.

  • Another point about that flower pot - make sure that you're constructing any cylindrical structures around a central minor axis to help align your ellipses to one another, and when it comes to flower pots they are generally more than just a simple cylinder. Add additional ellipses to define any other necessary structural elements - one inset within the opening to define the thickness of the rim, as well as another to define the level of the soil so the plant itself has something to rest upon or intersect with. This also gives you a surface upon which to cast cast shadows to further define the relationships between these three dimensional elements.

  • For your fern drawing, I noticed that you were cutting off the leaf structures right at the branch. Always be sure to draw each structure in its entirety, even if it ends up intersecting other structures to do so. These intersections are actually valuable, as they allow us to define an actual line to establish the relationship between forms. Furthermore, drawing each structure in its entirety also helps us understand how the forms sit in 3D space rather than just as shapes and lines on a page. We can see a similar situation with your sunflower's petals - drawing them such that they actually cut into the central mass of the flower would be more useful as far as these exercises go.

  • Also regarding the fern, I noticed that with some of these you were diving into a much wavier silhouette way too soon. As shown here, establish the simple leaf silhouette, then add whatever edge variation is required onto that structure. Do not skip steps.

  • I should also mention that ferns, if I'm not mistaken, generally consist of many smaller leaves, with the ones you've defined here being branches rather than individual leaves. To that point, it seems you stopped this one far earlier before actually completing the whole structure. While this isn't a big deal for me, there's no reason to stop a construction halfway through. Even if it requires you to split a drawing across multiple sittings or days (which is entirely normal, despite people seeming to not even consider it oftentimes) to complete a given drawing.

Aside from those points, you're largely doing well. So, keep those in mind, but feel free to consider this lesson complete.

Next Steps:

Move onto lesson 4.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
2:10 PM, Saturday February 5th 2022

Hi Uncomfortable, thank you for the helpful review!

I definitely should have spend more time on the fern construction, i probably rushed that one a bit. Drawing leafs with multiple "arms" was more of a challenge than i thought it would be and i'm planning to practice them more in the future.

Anyways, thanks again and im looking forward to attempt lesson 4 now. :)

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A lot of my students use these. The last time I used them was when I was in high school, and at the time I felt that they dried out pretty quickly, though I may have simply been mishandling them. As with all pens, make sure you're capping them when they're not in use, and try not to apply too much pressure. You really only need to be touching the page, not mashing your pen into it.

In terms of line weight, the sizes are pretty weird. 08 corresponds to 0.5mm, which is what I recommend for the drawabox lessons, whereas 05 corresponds to 0.45mm, which is pretty close and can also be used.

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