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7:07 PM, Thursday May 13th 2021

Congratulations for completing the 250 Box Challenge!

Before we begin I just want to let you know that in general TAs will ignore student self assessment or critique so as not to contaminate our own critique of your work. You should also keep in mind that it is perfectly normal and expected for students to make mistakes or even completely misunderstand some parts of the material. All of these things that we might call failures are normal parts of the learning process. Our job as TAs is to identify mistakes in a students work or understanding and help correct that. So try to relax and remember that the only thing any one expects of you is to do the work assigned to you to the best of your current ability, mistakes and all.

Now, if you have any questions not answered in your critique, feel free to ask them here. Back to your critique.

I can see you made some good improvement with the quality of your mark making. Your lines steadily become straighter and more confident looking as you progressed through the challenge. You drew your boxes at a pretty good size and with a variety of orientations and foreshortening. You also start to do a better job of getting your sets of parallel lines to converge more consistently towards their shared vanishing points!

While your mark making has improved, I do see that you still hesitate in some areas. This is likely due to prioritizing your accuracy over creating a smooth, confident looking line.

Just remember that the confidence of the stroke is far and away your top priority. Once your pen touches the page, any opportunity to avoid mistakes has passed, so all you can really do is push through. Hesitation serves no purpose. Mistakes happen, but a smooth, confident mark is still useful even if it's a little off. If the line is wrong, we leave it and move onto the next step. Accuracy is something that you will improve on as you continue working through Drawabox and practice ghosting.

Now, while it is important that you use the ghosting method of each mark you make while doing Drawabox one thing you can try to help with ending your marks closer to where you want them is lifting the pen off of the page rather than stopping the motion of your arm. You can do this with extra line weight as well. I would also recommend that you read this comment by Uncomfortable, where he talks more about hesitation.

I noticed that you still struggle a bit with applying your extra line weight. When you go to add weight to a line it is important that you treat the added weight the same way you would a brand new line. That means employing the ghosting method here as well. You should be taking your time to plan and ghost through your mark so that when you go to execute your extra line weight, it is done confidently and so that it blends seamlessly with your original mark. This will allow you to create more subtle and clean looking weight to your lines that reinforces the illusion of solidity in your boxes/forms. Extra line weight should be applied to the silhouette of your boxes, as shown here. I recommend that you try adding your extra line weight in no more than 1-2 pases so that you can easily identify mistakes in your work. This diagram should help also you better understand how to properly apply your extra line weight. Something to keep in mind as well, when you are working through Drawabox you should be employing the ghosting method for every mark you make. This includes the hatching that we sometimes use for our boxes.

Some of your boxes were drawn a bit small. Part of the reason for the 5-6 boxes per page rule is so that students have enough room to draw their boxes larger while having room to check their convergences. By drawing your boxes very small you limit your own ability to execute your lines from the shoulder confidently, which affects the quality of your mark making. Drawing bigger also helps engage your brain's spatial reasoning skills, whereas drawing smaller impedes them. It isn't a problem if your line extensions end up touching other boxes on the page so long as the boxes themselves do not touch or overlap. This should give you enough room to draw your boxes at a larger, more useful size.This, along with varying the foreshortening and orientations of your boxes, will help you get the most out of the exercise.

For some of your boxes, you appear to have purposely tried to keep your sets of lines parallel on the 2D page, drawing them all to an "infinite" vanishing point. As explained in this section, because these boxes are oriented with us looking at the corner of the box, you should be drawing your boxes in 3 point perspective - meaning with 3 concrete vanishing points, each set of lines converging towards a real point in space, even if that point is far off and the convergence is gradual. At no point in the instructions does it state that you should draw your boxes without any foreshortening. All of the boxes you draw will have some foreshortening even if the convergence is very gradual. The circumstances in which vanishing points go to “infinite” as discussed in lesson 1 are only in specific orientations that run parallel to the viewer. In this exercise we are working with completely random rotations and so those cases are exceedingly rare. You can also watch this video I made where I demonstrate how I approach drawing boxes.

To clarify, when I say "sets of parallel lines" or refer to your sets of lines as parallel, I am referring to lines that are parallel in 3d space not parallel on the page. If you remember from lesson one, the core principle of perspective is that when we draw a 3d form on a flat surface those lines that are parallel in 3d will now converge towards a shared vanishing point on the page.

Which means your sets of lines will not appear perfectly parallel on the page. Think about how those lines converge, do not purposely try to keep them parallel on the page.

I think this diagram will help you as well. When you are looking at your sets of lines you want to be focusing only on the lines that share a vanishing point. This does not include lines that share a corner or a plane, only lines that converge towards the same vanishing point. Now when you think of those lines, including those that have not been drawn, you can think about the angles from which they leave the vanishing point. Usually the middle lines have a small angle between them, and this angle will become negligible by the time they reach the box. This can serve as a useful hint.

Before moving onto lesson 2, I am going to have you draw 15 additional boxes.

For these boxes you will do the following:

  • Use the ghosting method for every mark you make, including hatching and extra line weight

  • Draw all of your boxes in 3pt Perspective

  • 5 boxes per page maximum

  • Check all of your convergences as per the instructions

I will mainly be looking at the quality of your mark making to see if you are employing the ghosting method correctly for all of your marks, including extra line weight and hatching. I will also be looking at your boxes to make sure your sets of lines are not being kept purposefully parallel.

Make sure you visit every link I have left for you and reread the challenge instructions in their entirety before beginning your revisions.

Next Steps:

15 additional boxes as described in the critique.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
10:08 PM, Thursday May 13th 2021
edited at 10:11 PM, May 13th 2021

Thanks for being so cool, ScyllaStew! Okay, in the future I’ll just let the work the speak for itself, and wait to commiserate until after the grading. Your encouragement really meant a lot, and I appreciate your substantial critique and respect your veteran wisdom. Also, I’ll definitely implement your method of plotting all the points first, as I always ran into the situation you describe of getting to the invisible corner and having two sets of lines working alright and one way off, but because I had already drawn all the other lines, I just had to go with it.

Please before I begin your follow up assignment could I ask you about three things?

  1. About the line weight, I read somewhere Uncomfortable talking about adding line weight to only “localized” parts of a line, and the example you provided showed the weight not extending the full length of the line. For the silhouette of a box, do we want the extra weight lines to just match the original silhouette lines as much as possible though? And please, am I correct that this procedure of adding weight is similar to the first exercise of Superimposed Lines, but with ghosting of course, and as for the tapering and seamless blending, if I’ve already frayed by the end of the weight line I should just leave it right?

  2. For the hatching, I think I was trying to make it too tight and ghosting that many lines seemed daunting—I think it was in your fineliner review videos where I saw you ghost the first line of hatching and then just continue on after that, but I know I’m not advanced enough to do that. If I have to ghost every single shading line could I make the hatching less dense?

  3. And as for the convergences, I really cherish your hint you gave me about the middle lines appearing close to parallel, and I’ll work to make the other parallel lines not appear parallel but really converge in real 3-point perspective; however, is there any relationship you could describe about where to chart the vanishing points relative to each other? Should they all be at roughly the same distance? I just noticed when I mapped one significantly further or closer than the others, that box appeared more distorted, but I don’t know if an object would actually ever appear like this in reality.

Thank you so much again and I hope I didn’t overwhelm you with my requests and I look forward to getting more practice before moving on to Lesson 2.

P.s. I really love you and Uncomfortable and I feel honored to be one of your students.


edited at 10:11 PM, May 13th 2021
11:58 PM, Thursday May 13th 2021
  1. For this one you should lean more towards tapering so that you can blend it back more seamlessly into your original line work. The main point about applying that extra line weight to the silhouette is that you do not want to apply it to the inner corners of your box. If your extra line weight ends up frying, just leave it and move on. Your accuracy will improve with practice.

  2. I probably forgot to ghost. It happens to everyone and it wouldn't be the first time I've been called out for forgetting to follow the steps myself. I think the thing to take away here is that everyone, even TAs will make mistakes from time to time. To the second part of your question, given time and practice you may find that you are capable of making the desired mark without all of the steps of the ghosting method. That is for many people the goal. You are welcome to experiment as part of the 50% rule to discover for yourself which steps you may or may not always need. But when you are doing the lesson homework be sure that you abide by the written material above all else. Even TAs make mistakes and it's perfectly acceptable for you to point those out and ask questions.

  3. For the purposes of this exercise your vanishing points are arbitrary. You can reference this section which talks more about distortion and placing vanishing points. But again, for this lesson your vanishing points are arbitrary.

4:40 PM, Wednesday July 7th 2021
edited at 4:41 PM, Jul 7th 2021

"15 Box Revision"

Hi, good ScyllaStew,

I reviewed all your material, practiced, and tried to increase the size of the boxes, push the convergences, make the silhouette weight lines taper more, and ghosted every single line including shade hatching.

Thank you very much for your attention and wisdom.


edited at 4:41 PM, Jul 7th 2021
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