Lesson 3: Applying Construction to Plants
8:22 PM, Monday September 13th 2021
Here are my assignments for lesson 3. As always, thanks in advance.
Starting with your arrows, when putting down your initial linework here, you're doing so with a good deal of confidence and fluidity behind those strokes, which helps to establish the way in which those lines move through space. Your addition of line weight does tend to be a bit sloppier, but I am glad to see that you are striving to achieve as confident a stroke, even if it doesn't fall precisely where you want it to. In order to increase your accuracy there, just be sure to keep investing your time into the planning and preparation phases of the ghosting method.
That sense of confidence and fluidity carries over quite nicely into your leaves, where you're not only establishing how they sit statically in the world, but also how they move through the space they occupy. I can also see that you've paid a good bit of attention to the explanation of construction itself - as you build up that edge detail, you're doing so right on the existing structure, building upon it one piece at a time, and gradually working towards something more complex while maintaining the solidity of what was there previously. Nicely done.
The last point I want to call out about your leaves has to do with how you're approaching texture. Right now it does appear as though when you get into the detail phase, you end up putting down marks to capture an impression of something more general. While this is a common thing used in drawings, for the purposes of this course, when we look at texture itself, what we're really looking at are specifics - that is, which actual three dimensional forms are present along the surface of an object, and what specific shadows would those particular forms cast? Each textural mark we put down is itself a cast shadow which directly conveys the specific nature of the form that casts it, rather than one-off individual marks. It inevitably means that texture is much more time consuming, but in learning how to approach it this way, you'll become far more effective at implying texture quickly and easily in the future.
One thing that can help is to specifically approach all your textural marks in a two step process - first outlining the shadow shape you intend to draw, then filling it in, as shown here. When we draw them one stroke at a time instead, they tend to come out too uniform and lack dynamism.
Continuing onto your branches, you're approaching the steps well enough, though there are a few things that I feel can help your execution here:
Firstly, draw bigger. Drawing smaller can impede our brain's capacity to think through spatial problems, while also making it harder to engage our whole arm while drawing. The more comfortable we get drawing things at a larger scale, the easier it'll get to apply those same principles at a smaller size.
Be sure to consciously apply all three phases of the ghosting method for every single mark you draw. This comes back to encouraging you to engage your whole arm while drawing, to execute your marks with confidence, but more than anything, to invest in the planning phase so you're more consciously aware of the specific nature of the mark you wish to produce.
Remember that as discussed in the Lesson 1 ellipses video, as we slide along the length of a cylindrical structure, the width of the cross-sectional ellipses will get wider and narrower, rather than remaining the same. A good rule of thumb is that as you slide away from the viewer, the contour ellipses will get wider.
When doing this exercise in the future, try to use the last chunk of the previous edge segment as a runway, overlapping it directly with the next stroke before shooting off towards the next target. Right now you end up ignoring where the previous segment ended up going, and draw the next one where the previous one ought to have been. Overlapping it directly will force you to take that previous mistake into account, so you'll learn from it more effectively.
Continuing onto your plant constructions, as a whole you're doing a pretty good job here. There are a few little hiccups here and there, but all in all you're applying the principles from the lesson effectively.
One thing I always look for in students is how tight and specific they're keeping the relationships between the various phases of construction. For example, sometimes they'll draw the initial flow line for a leaf or petal, but then they'll end up with a gap between the end of that flow line and the end of the petal/leaf itself. For the most part, I can see that you appear to be consciously working towards having them end at the same point, with no arbitrary gaps. There are some areas where you get a little loose, like towards the bottom right of this page, but as a whole I feel you're keeping these specific relationships in mind.
There are definitely places where drawing bigger, as I explained in regards to your branches, would have helped a lot. The middle drawing of this page got so compressed that the linework was pretty haphazard. There was definitely plenty of space on the page, so you could have given it more. For every page, give that initial drawing as much room as it really demands from you - don't worry about purposely keeping things small so you can pack more in. Once you're done that first drawing, you can then assess whether there's enough space to add another. If there is, you should certainly go ahead and add it. If there isn't enough space for another, then it's perfectly okay to leave it just as one drawing to a page. Drawing bigger will definitely help you gain much more out of these exercises, as it will continue to push your brain's spatial reasoning skills, while encouraging you to use your whole arm to execute more fluid, confident strokes.
All in all, you're moving in the right direction, so I'll leave you to apply the points I've shared with you here as you move into the next one. You may consider this lesson complete.
Move onto lesson 4.