Lesson 2: Contour Lines, Texture and Construction

10:48 AM, Sunday January 22nd 2023

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Should I only use the liner for the warm-up? Or can I use a regular pen? And which exercises can I do for warm-up (the ones I already did in the current lesson) or just the exercises from Lesson 1?

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10:41 PM, Tuesday February 28th 2023

Hi 37Champion, and good job making it through lesson 2! First of all, let me answer your questions: since our warmups consist in exercises from the course, while it wouldn't be strictly necessary I advise you to use your fine liner for them too. Second, all exercises that we do can be incorporated in the warmup routine, so by all means feel free to incorporate exercises from lesson 2. That being said, I will handle your critique by dividing it into sections where I will give you my thoughts on each exercise.

Organic arrows

Your arrows look quite wobbly and unconfident in places where you use line weight, probably due to trying to use the technique to correct unsatisfactory marks rather than to enhance the solidity of your form, since in places where you didn't apply line-weight your form is otherwise solid and fluent. Remember that in this course we always privilege confidence over accuracy, and that tools like line-weight are not supposed to be used as a way to correct ourselves. Moreover, being overtly concerned with a precise mark can in fact lead us in the opposite direction, as you drawing shows: a slow long mark will more often than not produce a wobbly, unconfident line. The ghosting method serves precisely as a tool to aid our precision without sacrificing accuracy too much, and it applies to all our lines, including line-weight. Moreover, we should apply line-weight with parsimony, picking carefully where and when to apply it. In the case of our arrows, a good rule of thumb for when to apply it is to look at the points where the ribbons curves, and apply it on the side that is obstructing part of the ribbon. Regarding your perspective, it looks generally believable, with ribbons growing in width as they approach the viewer.

Organic forms

Your sausage forms look nice and simple and consistent in form. However, you have used repeated lines to draw through them like we usually do with ellipses. I'd discourage you to do so since our sausage forms will often serve as the base for constructing more complex shapes in later lessons, and repeated lines that don't make up line-weight can end up hurting the solidity of the construction. Your ellipses and contour lines also show visible wobbling, and here I'd encourage you again to privilege confidence over accuracy, since these contour lines are a tool that we use to communicate the curving shape of our objects, and a wobbly and precise line does the job less well than a smooth but a little less precise one. Otherwise, the orientation of the spine and the alignment of the contour curves looks fairly good aside from a couple of cases, so not much to comment on that aspect.

Texture analysis

It's hard to judge the specific types of texture you have chosen here without some reference image to compare them to, so I will limit myself to a few simple observations. I think you did a fair enough job with your crumpled paper and facial mask textures, making your cast shadows thinner and thinner proceeding from left to right in a believable way. However, the apparent lack of finer detail in your textures, while not hurting your first two too much, ends up being detrimental in your paper decor texture, where the presence of finer detail like rough spots and small creases and other eventual "fine structure" elements of the texture could help a lot in making our gradients more smooth and the image less flat, as it is often the case with textures formed by simple repeating patterns, the crescent moon shapes in this case. Also, note that the transition from light to dark is very flat in your third image due to the fact that you initial black bar is not fully incorporated in the cast shadows.


First of all, a mistake that jumps immediately to the eye is the presence of forms that do not constitute texture, specifically the jelly and lettuce. Broadly speaking, the marks that form a drawing can be roughly divided in two categories: construction+form outlines and texture. Lines that belong to the first category are what makes the large scale geometry of a drawing, what makes the shapes. Once we have all figured out, texture is added to the shape to give a better idea of what kind of material the shape is made of, what is the small scale geometry of our object, etc. The important thing is, under no circumstance the small scale geometry of the texture modifies the underlying large scale geometry of the shape. If we look at the lettuce, it is clearly evident that this is not a texture that is wrapping around a sausage form but an entirely different shape, whose underlying form resembles more a ribbon (you will learn more about this in lesson 3). Similarly, the jelly is in its large scale structure is basically a truncated cone. What you should have done with these textures was instead identifying the small scale detail (like the creases in the lettuce leaf and the bumps in the jelly) and imagine them wrapping around a sausage shape (like we were wrapping a lettuce leaf around it or making a sausage shaped jelly). In some forms you also don't break much the silhouette (see the leaf, sea shell and strawberry) or don't properly wrap the texture around the shape making it look flat (see the silk hair ring and corn). Finally, especially in your cross sections you tend to explicitly outline details instead of using cast shadows (see peas and mangosteen): remember, our goal here is to use cast shadows and cast shadows only, and unfortunately some textures cannot be communicated well with this tool alone, so if you ever find yourself in this situation in this course it's better to drop the texture entirely and do another instead. Ending on a positive note this section, your eye for fine structure and use of implied texturing seems to have improved from the texture analysis. I particularly like the use of implied texture in your corn, tree bark and broccoli, where the dark to light gradient is very well done in my opinion.

Form intersections

I will probably be brief here since this exercise at this level is thought to be more of an exercise in building a consistent-looking composition of 3d objects more than the actual intersection themselves. You manage to do this decently in your last 3 pages, less so in your boxes-only page, where many boxes have a quite accentuated foreshortening compared to the others, making the illusion harder to sell. A thing to I would advise you to do the next times you try this exercise is to try to vary more the orientation of your various shapes, especially the boxes. Regarding your intersections, I will briefly say that while many of them are fine, I'd encourage you to think a bit more about certain aspects of this, especially how flat and curved objects intersect, since for instance intersection 8 in page 3 is geometrically impossible (a cylinder with its axis parallel to the sides of a box like the one you did should have either a portion completely contained in the box or be sliced by the corner of the box).

Organic intersections

Aside from what I've said above about your sausage forms, there are a few things to look out for here: first of all, in your first page the sausages in the middle are laying almost parallel on top of your bottom sausage. Since, among other things, we are trying to convey a sense of stability in our composition, parallel sausages don't do the job too well, since from our own daily experience we know that piling objects like that leads to a very unstable configuration. For this reason, all sausages we pile on top of another should lay parallel to the cross section of the underlying form, allowing for the weight on both ends to balance out. This leads to my second observation, that unless the sausage is very small compared to the size of the one it stands on top of, part of its rear end, and possibly up to even almost half of it depending on the case, should be obstructed by the curvature of the sausage beneath. By contrast, look at the top sausage in your first page, which is completely visible despite its quite accentuated curving, making it look like it's floating. Lastly, I'd say that the shadows look mostly okay, but I'd probably make them stick a bit less to the figure that is casting the shadow and a bit more to the underlying figure.


Overall, despite the mistakes and imprecisions I pointed out I think yours is a good submission, but there are a few things I'd like you to do before moving on to lesson 3. First of all, since as you will see they will play a central role in plant construction, I will assign you an additional page of organic arrows. Second, I'd like you to do a page of organic forms, half with contour ellipses and half with contour curves, and then on the ones with ellipses do some texture dissections (I encourage you to try and redo some textures you already did, keeping in mind what you should correct). Take all the time you need and when you are done, reply here with your revisions. Good luck and good work!

Next Steps:

1 page of organic arrows

1 page of organic forms, half with contour ellipses and half with contour lines

Do some dissections on the forms with ellipses from the previous page

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
2:03 PM, Monday March 6th 2023


Here's some extra homework)


I can't do it, maybe I need to look at more detailed tutorials outside of this course on textures.

I try to draw only shadows, and it turns out to be some crap)

I didn't expect anyone to analyze the homework for lesson 2. Because there is more work than in lesson 1.

Thank you so much for taking on this. Helping newbies to progress.

5:52 PM, Monday March 6th 2023

Nice job, the confidence in your arrows and organic forms has definitely improved. Only thing I'd point out is that in arrow 3 the hatching is on the wrong sides of the ribbon, making it seem that your arrow is not in perspective but diverging (here's a concrete example of what I mean: https://imgur.com/uclExCh). You textures are mostly ok, but I will point out again that one of them, specifically the tulip, is not really a texture but a geometric component of the flower (you will see more on this point in lesson 3). Regarding your difficulty with texture I'd say don't be discouraged by unsatisfactory results. This may be an unfamiliar problem to you and there's no guarantee that we will be good at new problems from the get go (in fact, that's almost never the case). Don't worry if you make mistakes or you results don't look good to you, making mistakes is part of our learning experience and in the long run ends up actually enriching you. You should think about your mistakes the same spirit of this famous quote attributed to Edison: "I didn't fail 10000 times to create a lightbulb, I simply found 10000 ways it doesn't work". You will surely benefit from looking at external sources, but in the end I think it's all a matter of training your eye at identifying detail, and that will come with practice and careful study of what you are trying to reproduce. For this reason, you may want to try and slowly tackle the 25 texture challenge along with the main course work (if you do, don't try and complete it in one go, it's meant to be a companion content for the other lessons).

I will go on and mark your lesson as complete. Hope lesson 3 will be as enjoyable to you as it was to me. Good luck and good work!

Next Steps:

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Lesson 3

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10:16 AM, Tuesday March 7th 2023
edited at 11:21 AM, Mar 7th 2023

Maybe I need to look more closely at the assignments for the lessons. because I drew that tulip as a flower in a section. maybe I needed to show the texture of the section of something, not just a cut,

and not just something in a section.

Do I need to practice a little before doing the test homework?

I mean, I do my homework right after watching the video (warm-up and then the assignment).

For example, the task of organic arrows, maybe I need to do 3 pages first to understand how it all works.

And then only do it on other sheets to check.

It's so uncomfortable to say that we are not drawing to hang it on the fridge. But if I need to make more attempts to understand. Maybe there will be fewer mistakes and less work for those who give criticism if I make at least 3 attempts and analyze what I have done before sending it for criticism.

Once again, I want to thank you for helping beginners for free.

edited at 11:21 AM, Mar 7th 2023
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