Lesson 3: Applying Construction to Plants

7:18 AM, Wednesday July 5th 2023

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The first three plants are from the demos.

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12:17 AM, Monday July 10th 2023
edited at 1:42 PM, Jul 11th 2023

Hello dayneb12, I'm ThatOneMushroomGuy and I'll be the TA handling your critique today.


Starting with your arrows your linework is looking smooth and confident which helps capture the feeling of fluidity that arrows have as they move across the world. You're generally making good use of the depth of the page, and your arrows look tridimensional, it's good to see that you're applying your hatching neatly, and go the correct side of the overlaps, which helps you reinforce the feeling of depth of your arrows. But don't forget to make use of added lineweight on top of overlaps as a finishing touch.

What you can do in order to improve your skills further when tackling this exercise again is to start getting out of your comfort zone more often, as your arrows are incredibly similar in terms of foreshortening and orientation, arrows are very flexible objects and as such there’s an infinite number of ways they can twist, bend and move through space. Exploring this in your pages will help you strengthen your sense of spatial reasoning.


Moving on to your leaves your initial linework is pretty confident, which helps sell the feeling of fluidity for these new structures, however something that stands out right away is that you're drawing most of your leaf structures completely straight on. This is not necessarily a mistake, but in actual plant structures you'll find that it's very rare for leaf structures to be assorted in this manner, instead they'll be found in all sorts of rotations and can be influenced by all sorts of external forces such as the wind or their own weight pulling them down. As such you'll develop your sense of spatial reasoning much more by focusing on drawing leaf structures that bend, twist and fold, making use of all of the tridimensional space available to them. Do not only capture how they sit statically within space, but also how they move across that space from moment to moment - otherwise your leaf structures can end up feeling like flat stickers, glued to a page.

Your application of edge detail is moving in the right direction, as you generally don't try to capture more than one piece of edge detail at a time, although there are some moments where you attempted to zigzag your edge detail which is a mistake, there are also some gaps and overshoots in your lines which slightly undermine the solidity of your forms, make sure that your lines run seamlessly into one another - additionally, make sure to avoid cutting back into the silhouette of your leaves, whenever possible, construct each new piece of edge detail additively, instead of subtractively.

You're already doing well in your approach to more complex types of leaf structures, but keep in mind that there shouldn't be any gaps in between phases of construction, as this will undermine the relationships between your forms. For example, [this structure]() is looser than it could be because there are gaps in between the flow lines for the individual "arms" of the complex structure and the boundary laid out by the previous phase of construction. The bigger shape establishes a decision being made - this is how far out the general structure will extend - and so the flow lines for the later leaf structures should abide by that, otherwise it may as well not exist.


Onto your branches it seems you haven't followed through with some of the instructions for this exercise, more specifically in how the edges are to be laid out.

It's good that you're approaching your edges in segments, but this is only half of the instructions, because even though you're extending them you're starting your new segment at the place your previous line ended - which is a mistake as that effectively removes the overlaps between lines we're aiming to achieve in this exercise and that's stressed in the instructions.

So remember to keep in mind the instructions for this exercise, branches should be approached by having each segment start at the first ellipse point, extending it past the second ellipse ppint and fully 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, making sure not to leave any gaps in between your edge and your ellipse, and not cut into your ellipse as it undermines the solidity of your forms. Once you're done, repeat this pattern until your entire branch is complete.

And lastly onto your ellipses it's good to see that you've drawn through them twice, which allows you to create smoother and tighter looking forms. Still on the topic of ellipses, don't forget to vary their degree shift across your ellipse's length, since currently your ellipses have no variation between them throughout your branch's length, this causes them to look too consistent which flattens your forms.

Plant Construction Section

And now let's take a look at your plant constructions in order to finish this critique.

You're generally making use of the construction methods and techniques introduced in the lesson, which aid you in deconstructing these structures and taking closer steps to understanding how they sit in 3d space. You're starting to develop your sense of spatial reasoning through the use of these exercises, however there are some things which, if done differently, would have allowed you to take your work into the next level, so here are some points you may like to keep in mind when tackling these exercises again.

As mentioned back in the leaves section of this exercise, you're not drawing your leaves folding or bending really often, but this issue is much more egregious in your plant constructions where basically none of your leaf structures fold or bend. This suggests that you're only thinking of the initial flow line as a 2d mark, and not as a 3d guide which establishes how the rest of the structure sits in space.

Realistically these structures should not be oriented in the way that they are in your drawings based on the rest of the structure, there should be more variation to them, but because there's not your drawings partially end up feeling like 2d representations of the side profile of these structures, instead of a complete representation of how structures such as these would sit in 3d space.

You're adding some ground planes to your work, but they are detrimental to the illusion of depth on your work, because they're single lines which don't capture or communicate any sense of form, or perspective. It's best to avoid adding a ground plane when going through this course, instead focus on capturing the form of your structure, as it's the most important aspect of your homework page, and is what will actually help you understand how different forms can come together in order to create a solid structure.

  • When approaching cylindrical structures such as plant pots and mushrooms, make sure to draw them around a minor axis in order to keep your several ellipses aligned. Going further, make sure to construct the outer rim found in most types of plant pots which extra ellipses.

  • You're not following the instructions for drawing branches.

  • You're not following the instructions for how to approach drawing edge detail either, which is an issue for two reasons: firstly, you added it much better in your page of leaves, which suggests you were aware of the fact that your edge detail should mostly be added additively, but decided not to add it in your plant construction pages.

The second issue is that you're skipping it entirely for most of your pages, but only the last step of leaf construction - texture - is optional, edge detail is an important step to constructing the more complex but smaller parts of the leaf structure.

Final Thoughts

In general it seems you are rushing through some of the instructions and techniques, and this harms the quality of your work because you're not putting in enough time into each individual page to make sure it's done to the best of your current ability, as such I'm going to be asking you for some revisions so that you can revisit these concepts and strengthen your understanding of them before moving on to more complex construction techniques and meethods.

Please reply with:

1 page, half of leaves, half of branches.

2 plant constructions.

Next Steps:

1 page, half of leaves, half of branches.

2 plant construction branches.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
edited at 1:42 PM, Jul 11th 2023
10:35 PM, Monday July 10th 2023

Thanks for the feedback. I'm a bit confused what you mean by plant construction branches. Do you want me to draw plants that contain branches using construction or is it more focusing on drawing branches?

1:42 PM, Tuesday July 11th 2023

Oops, I'm sorry about that, it's a typo, it's simply 2 pages of plant constructions.

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