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3:17 AM, Thursday June 2nd 2022

Starting with your arrows, overall you've done a great job of drawing these with a great deal of confidence, which really helps to push the sense of fluidity with which they move through the space. This extends nicely into your leaves, where you're not merely capturing how they sit statically in 3D space, but also how they move through the space they occupy.

I'm pleased to see that you're approaching your edge detail in a manner that maintains tight, specific relationships between the phases of construction, introducing each new little variation as a separate mark that rises from and returns to the previous phases' edge in a seamless manner.

I have just one two minor things to call out:

  • Hatching is really effective when we're dealing with primitive forms, in order to get specific information (like which side of the box is facing the viewer) across. When we get into drawing actual objects however, hatching, especially as broadly and generally as you've applied here to kind of fill in whole surfaces, is better off avoided, simply because it can make us more prone to using it where it actually can be harmful (in terms of texture/detail/etc and luring us into using form shading, which as explained here does not play a role in this course.

  • And for the "veins" of the leaves, you're currently representing what are tube-forms (despite being small) as lines, which simplifies them in a way that eliminates their volume and presence in 3D space altogether. Instead, always remember that when we tackle textural detail, we're implying the presence of those forms by drawing the shadows they cast. You can see an example of this in the leaves exercise instructions, in step 4.

Continuing onto your branches, unfortunately here you may have missed some of the instructions, as you aren't drawing the edge segments as they're demonstrated here. As shown in that diagram, each segment starts at an ellipse, continues past the second and stops halfway to the third. The next segment then starts at the second ellipse and repeats the pattern from there, effectively resulting in a healthy overlap between them of about half the distance between the ellipses. This allows for a smoother, more seamless transition between them, and is a significant part of the exercise.

Moving onto the plant constructions, by and large you've done pretty well, but I do have a few recommendations to offer:

  • The first of these is that you have a tendency to overuse line weight, going back over way more of your linework than you really need to. I'm also not 100% sure on this, but it does sometimes seem like you're doing it with a different pen. If that's the case, remember that all the drawing we do throughout this course uses the 0.5mm fineliner unless otherwise instructed. We can use a thicker pen or brush pen to fill in cast shadow shapes, but only when they've been outlined/designed with your usual pen.

  • Try to use your line weight in a much more limited fashion. As explained here, I find it to be most effective, given the tools we're using here and the limitation to stark black/white, to use line weight specifically to clarify how different forms overlap, sticking to the localized areas in which those overlaps occur instead of going back over a ton of your linework.

  • In constructions like this one you do get a bit more prone to zigzagging your edge detail back and forth, so keep an eye on that.

One last thing I wanted to talk about is the concept of texture vs. decoration. Currently when you get into the detail phase on some of your drawings, you appear to end up focusing more on decorating your drawings - that is, making them appear more visually pleasing by whatever means available to you. Unfortunately decoration isn't a terribly concrete goal to work towards. It's a moving target, with no specific point at which one has added "enough" decoration.

What we're doing in this course can be broken into two distinct sections - construction and texture - and they both focus on the same concept. With construction we're communicating to the viewer what they need to know to understand how they might manipulate this object with their hands, were it in front of them. With texture, we're communicating to the viewer what they need to know to understand what it'd feel like to run their fingers over the object's various surfaces. Both of these focus on communicating three dimensional information. Both sections have specific jobs to accomplish, and none of it has to do with making the drawing look nice.

Instead of focusing on decoration, what we draw here comes down to what is actually physically present in our construction, just on a smaller scale. As discussed back in Lesson 2's texture section, we focus on each individual textural form, focusing on them one at a time and using the information present in the reference image to help identify and understand how every such textural form sits in 3D space, and how it relates within that space to its neighbours. Once we understand how the textural form sits in the world, we then design the appropriate shadow shape that it would cast on its surroundings. The shadow shape is important, because it's that specific shape which helps define the relationship between the form casting it, and the surface receiving it.

As a result of this approach, you'll find yourself thinking less about excuses to add more ink, and instead you'll be working in the opposite - trying to get the information across while putting as little ink down as is strictly needed, and using those implicit markmaking techniques from Lesson 2 to help you with that.

And that about covers it. I'll leave you to review the branches exercise yourself, and apply those corrections when practicing the exercise in your warmups. You may consider this lesson complete.

Next Steps:

Move onto lesson 4.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
2:42 PM, Thursday June 2nd 2022
edited at 2:49 PM, Jun 2nd 2022

Thank you very much for your feedback, I will try to focus more on the issues mentioned.

About the pens, I have two brands - Staedtler and Uni Pin, both 0.5mm, but I have a bit of a problem with both, using them gradually but quite quickly sort of reduces the amount of ink they leave on the paper and also loses the ability to draw at a slight angle. When I decide to replace the pen with a new one, the lines are noticeably different, thicker.

I use the older pens, which write noticeably thinner, for warm ups and drawing "for fun", while I use the "fresher" pens for assignments.

I also have quite an interesting and somewhat funny, probably psyche influenced problem with the certainty of my lines, I think my warm ups and drawings for fun are more certain and accurate than assignments :) I suppose time and mileage will sort it out.

edited at 2:49 PM, Jun 2nd 2022
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