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


Starting with your arrows your lines are looking fairly confident and smooth, which helps communicate a nice sense of fluidity in them as they move through the world.

You're making good usage of the depth of the page by experimenting with the rates of foreshortening in your arrows, but your arrows do sometimes look a bit unnatural as it seems to me you become a bit unsure of how their edges should overlap. So don't be afraid of letting edges overlap and to ensure that you're constructing a solid structure, try to construct your arrow in segments with the ghosting method, in this manner you can gauge whether your lines would look right and overlap the way they should before committing to a mark.

Your usage of hatching helps you establish how your arrows twist and turn in space and further your own understanding of the tridimensional space these objects occupy. As a finishing touch to your arrows don't forget to make use of added line weight on top of the overlaps to reinforce their depth.


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 these more intricate structures.

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

Moving on to your addition of edge detail it can be improved, you're often approaching it subtractively, that is, cutting back into the forms you've already drawn, ideally you should focus on drawing edge detail additively as much as possible as cutting back into the forms we've already drawn can cause us to focus too much on manipulating 2 dimensional shapes on a page, rather than the 3 dimensional edges they are meant to represent.

You also need to spend more time with the execution of each mark - because there are so many and they seem individually unimportant, you're putting less time into each one. For example in these structures your marks do not properly rise off and return to the existing stroke - there are often gaps, overshoots, and zigzagging marks which is a mistake that could be avoided by putting more time into the work. No mark you draw is unimportant - if you decided it was worth adding, it's worth giving as much time as it needs to be done to the best of your current ability.

Moving on to your application of texture it's starting to move in the right direction as you're following the instructions for texture in these structures, however you can definitely push your application of it further. There's a lot more that we can do in order to more accurately communicate leaf texture and we can also make use of focal points of detail to direct our viewer's eyes to where we want it. 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.


Moving on to your branches they are coming along really decently made as you're following the instructions for the exercise, you're drawing your edges in segments which allows you to maintain higher control over your marks which allows you to create some solid but still organic looking structures.

There are a lot of visible tails present in these branch structures, while this is a very common mistake we can attempt to mitigate it by limiting the amount of ellipses in our branches, by spacing them further apart we'll allow for a bigger length of runway between ellipses, and ensure a smoother, more seamless transition between marks.

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. It's also good to see that you're aware of the ellipse degree shift and making use of it in your constructions, which helps these structures feel more solid and believably tridimensional.

Plant Construction Section

And lastly let's take a look at your plant constructions, which are coming along nicely. You're generally making use of the construction methods and techniques introduced in this Lesson which helps you create the illusion of tridimensionality in your work, you're not only trying to capture what these structures look like, but you also focusing on how they work, how they exist fully in tridimensional space by drawing through your forms and thinking about the way each piece of your construction exists in relation to one another.

This is all very good and it's helping you develop a strong sense of spatial reasoning, there are only a couple of small things that if kept in mind will help you take your work to the next level.

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.

For example this construction looks pretty messy, and you didn't draw through all of your forms, nor did you draw through all of your ellipses and because there are so many structures crammed together in a tiny spot you weren't able to map out all of the shadows clearly, all of this contributes to a less solid construction, it would have been more beneficial to you to focus on only one of those bunch of grapes and do your best to fully construct it.

For your Venus fly trap there are a couple of changes that you could have made which would have allowed you to create a tighter and more specific structure. Currently you approached the "body" or the "stem" of the venus fly trap as a sort of leaf shape, while this is a valid way to approach this structure it leans too heavily on the side of oversimplification for this part of the plant structure and makes the structure feel fragile, flimsy and flat.

This part of the Venus Fly Trap is actually cylindrical in nature, but it's hidden underneath the more leafy part of the stem, it's helpful to understand this because you can then simplify the forms by capturing this part of the structure as a branch ( which makes it much clearer how the "trap" of the venus flytrap connects to the rest of the structure ) and afterwards build the rest of the structure with the leaf construction method, which will allow for a structure that feels less flimsy and much more solid.

Because we're drawing on a flat piece of paper, we have a lot of freedom to make whatever marks we choose - it just so happens that the majority of those marks will contradict the illusion you're trying to create and remind the viewer that they're just looking at a series of lines on a flat piece of paper. In order to avoid this and stick only to the marks that reinforce the illusion we're creating, we can force ourselves to adhere to certain rules as we build up our constructions.

  • For example - once you've put a form down on the page, do not attempt to alter its silhouette. Its silhouette is just a shape on the page which represents the form we're drawing, but its connection to that form is entirely based on its current shape. If you change that shape, you won't alter the form it represents - you'll just break the connection, leaving yourself with a flat shape. We can see this most easily in this example of what happens when we cut back into the silhouette of a form.

You can see here in this cactus construction spots where you cut back into the form you had already established. Cutting back into the forms you've already drawn is something that only works for already flat structures such as leaves, but when it comes to structures with actual volume to them we must ensure that we're always working on them additionally, always constructing new and full forms on top of what we've already drawn, as shown in here.

Your lineweight is another point that should be focused on, while it's good that you're focusing on adding it to areas of overlap it's still patchy, with several marks being drawn over the same area and very thick. Lineweight should be subtly added to your work, your new mark should integrate seamlessly into the preexisting one as the ends of it taper into the underlying stroke.

Final Thoughts

You're applying the concepts taught in this lesson to great effect. Your constructions are looking solid and tridimensional. I'm going to be marking this lesson as complete as I believe you're ready to tackle the challenges present in the next lesson, just don't forget to keep the points I've mentioned here in mind and apply it to your work. Good luck in Lesson 4.