Lesson 3: Applying Construction to Plants

2:23 AM, Wednesday February 21st 2024

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7:05 PM, Saturday February 24th 2024

Hello SlayerDelano, I'm ThatOneMushroomGuy and I'll be the TA handling your critique today.

First things first, please do your best to take clear, high quality pictures of your homework, try to do so during the day and close to an open window in order to get as much sunlight as possible.


Starting with your arrows your lines are looking fairly confident and smooth, which helps communicate a nice sense of fluidity as they move through the world. You're keeping foreshorting in mind while constructing your arrows which allows you to make really good use of perspective and the depth of your page, this gives a great extra layer of tridimensionality to your arrows.

It's good to see that you're making use of hatching as it helps you establish how your arrows twist and turn in space and further your own understanding of the tridimensional space these objects occupy, but there are a couple of times where you've placed it incorrectly, making it seem like your arrow is getting bigger the further away it is, and getting smaller as it gets closer, which goes against the rules of perspective.

  • Perspective works in the following manner: things that are further away from the viewer will look smaller, and as they get closer to the viewer they'll look bigger. The way this affects an object of consistent size and width that stretches across space is that certain segments of this object will look bigger and others smaller, either gradually or dramatically depending on the perspective of the scene, as such the bigger part of the arrow will always be the one that's closest to the viewer so the segment that's behind it should be the one receiving the hatching.


The linework for your leaves is looking smooth which helps communicate their fluidity and sense of energy, it's good that you're not only trying to capture how these structures sit statically within space, but also how they move across it from moment to moment.

It's good to see that you've experimented with complex leaf structures but remember not to skip construction steps when approaching them.

There are several of your structures which are looser than they could be, because you did not put down a boundary, you didn't establish the form that all of the later structures will abide to, despite complex structures being made up of several different parts, they still exist as a single entity, by not skipping construction steps you can ensure that your constructions are much more solid and specific.

This structure is looser than it could be, because you skipped construction steps and tried to capture the complex form of the structure right away, instead of constructing each individual arm with the leaf construction method and only then connecting them together. Even though leaves are single entities they can still made be made up of several parts.

Moving on to your addition of edge detail it's headed in the right direction, you're often approaching it additively - that is, constructing it on top of your preexisting structure, as well as putting it down with the same general line thickness as the rest of your construction, which are both good, however there are points such as in here where you're zigzagging your edge detail marks which is a mistake that should be avoided as it goes against the third principle of mark making from Lesson 1..

Your application of texture is looking decent, as you're following the instructions for texture in these structures, however you can definitely push your application of it further, as you've got several small and timid marks, and several big spaces of white which would communicate that the surface of your structure is smooth - which is the opposite of what leaf texture is like.

There's a lot more that we can do in order to more accurately communicate leaf texture as there's much more going on than just a few stray marks implying veins, take a look at this informal demo on how to approach leaf texture, and make sure to give these reminders on how texture works in Drawabox a read.


For your branches you're not sticking to the instructions for this exercise as closely as you should. While it's good to see that you're drawing your edges in segments you're not starting your new segment back at the previous ellipse point and superimposing it on top of the preexisting mark, you're starting your new segments close to where your previous mark ended, which partially removes the healthy overlaps we seek to achieve in these structures.

So remember how branches should be approached, by having your segment start at the first ellipse point, extending it past the second ellipse and fully up to the halfway point to the third ellipse, afterwards you'll start a new segment, making sure to place your pen at the second ellipse and repeat this pattern until your entire branch is complete.

For ellipses it's good to see that you're making an attempt to always draw through them twice, as that allows for a smoother mark overall.

When it comes to your application of the ellipse degree shift to your branches it can be improved, as it stands your degrees are too consistent and hardly change which is a mistake that flattens your structures. Remember that as a form shifts in relation to the viewer, so will the degree of the ellipses within that structure also shift.

Plant Construction Section

And lastly let's take a look at your plant constructions, your own attempts at the demos are looking quite nicely made, but unfortunately when it comes to your original constructions there are a couple of issues that arise, it seems to me you're not always sticking to the techniques and methods introduced in this lesson as thoroughly as you should, there are a couple of issues present in your work which affect the quality of your work and how much you're getting out of these exercises.

Here are some of the issues present in your work and how to address them in order to start to get the most out of this lesson.

I've noticed that for these pages you had a tendency to choose more complex plant structures with lots of elements to them, while this is not necessarily a mistake it can end up limiting your ability to hone your skills and fully become acquaintanced with the construction techniques and methods, choosing some less leafy and more simple structures would have allowed you to focus more on applying the construction techniques and methods to your structures, rather than trying to juggle several elements at once.

In addition to this it's good that you're attempting to challenge yourself by attempting to draw a palm tree, however trees are not a good choice of structure for this lesson. This is because trees are incredibly complex structures with too many elements to them, especially leaves, if you take a closer look at your reference picture of the palm tree you can notice that the palm tree leaves are actually made up of several smaller, thin leaf structure that make the overall shape. Because we must construct everything in Drawabox by using the methods presented to us this means that approaching an incredibly complex structure such with thousands of leaves such as this, while still drawing each of them with the leaf construction method and in an A4 page is just impossible.

As such stick to simpler structures and you will get much more out of the exercise.

Make sure that you're always constructing your forms fully and drawing through them. I've noticed that in in this camellia construction and in this construction you mostly drew the parts that would be visible to the viewer, rather than drawing through them.

This is a mistake as it limits your ability to work through these tridimensional puzzles and limits how much you're getting out of the exercise as not drawing through your forms means you're relying on your observation skills and trying to copy outlines, instead of engaging your sense of spatial reasoning and truly trying to understand how the object you're drawing works, and thus developing your skills as you become more acquaintanced with how different structures exist fully in 3d space.

  • When approaching cylindrical structures such as plant pots make sure to start with a minor axis in order to keep your several ellipses aligned to each other more easily.

Always keep in mind that the construction methods and techniques introduced in this course must always be applied to your work, as they're tools which will help you construct much tighter and solid looking structures, one example where you deviate from the construction methods can be seen here, where you draw the outline of the leaf structures instead of constructing them fully.

Your venus flytrap construction is the most solid, most tridimensional construction in your submission, good job! Although even here we can still see some things that can be improved, the way you're approaching the teeth of the venus flytrap flattens it out a bit, it's best to approach it in the same way you'd approach edge detail - drawing it out fully as a form that attaches to the preexisting structure.

For the "neck" of this trap you approached it with a single line, which does not communicate any sense of form or volume, and this feels odd since all of the other traps had their stems constructed with the branch construction method, again don't forget to always make use of the construction techniques introduced in these exercises.

Final Thoughts

In general you're starting to move in the right direction but you're still struggling on a couple of points and applying these methods consistently to your work, as such I believe you would benefit from tackling these exercises again before moving on to more complex tridimensional challenges.

Please reply with:

1 page, half of leaves, half of branches.

2 plant construction pages.

Next Steps:

1 page, half of leaves, half of branches.

2 plant construction pages.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
3:52 AM, Sunday March 3rd 2024

Thanks for your honesty in your critique of my work and giving me the opportunity to re-evaluate what I'm doing wrong, it means a lot. I've noted down noted down what you said so i can remember it for the future. Here are my revisions.


11:40 PM, Sunday March 3rd 2024

Hello SlayerDelano, thank you for getting back to me with your revisions.

Starting with your leaves they look much more solid anf tightly constructed as you put in the extra effort to keep all stages of constructions clear and specific, your addition of texture is also looking better, just be careful of adding in too many large areas of black to your work.

For your branches it's good to see that you're respecting the instructions for thr exercise more closely which allows you to create tighter and more solid constructions. But there are a lot of visible tails present in these branch structures, while this is a very common mistake you can attempt to mitigate it by limiting the amount of ellipses in your branches, by spacing them further apart you'll allow for a bigger length of runway between ellipses, and ensure a smoother, more seamless transition between marks.

Your constructions are looking much more solid as you make use of the construction methods and techniques introduce, and also because you're drawing through your forms, but don't forget to also make use of edge detail in any flower constructions you make, as it can help you elevate your construction beyond the basics and further communicate how the structure exists in space.

In general I believe you have shown improvement and that you have a better grasp of the techniques introduced in this lesson, as such I'm going to be marking this submission as complete. Good luck in Lesson 4.

Next Steps:

Don't forget to add these exercises to your list of warm ups.

Move on to Lesson 4.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
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