0 users agree
2:57 AM, Tuesday July 18th 2023

Hello Zaverose, 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 gives your arrows a great feeling of fluidity. You're making really good use of the depth of the page and it's good to see that you're experimenting with segments overlapping one another, all of this helps create a convincing illusion of tridimensionality in your arrows.

It's great that you're making use of really well applied hatching to your overlaps, as that helps separate them from one another, the only I can recommend that you do going forward is to make use of added lineweight on top of the overlaps as a finishing touch in order to reinforce the depth of your arrows.


Moving on to your leaves the fluidity present in your arrows is translating quite nicely into these new structures, they have a great sense of flow and energy applied to them.

Your attempts at the complex leaf construction method are all very good, it would have been nice to see you exoloring some more with it and attempting different types of complex structures.

Your usage of edge detail is coming along really well made as you make sure to only capture individual pieces of details with each stroke, which allows you to create a much tighter and more solid looking structure. It's also good that you're applying your edge detail with the same line thickness as the previous construction, as that helps you respect the solidity of the previous structures.

Your application of texture is moving in the right direction, but it seems that in certain points you're a bit timid with the marks that you make, such as in the leaf structures in this construction Take a look at this informal demo on how to think when approaching leaf texture and notice how there's a lot more going on than just a couple lines implying veins in the surface of the leaf - there's a lot more you can explore to more convincingly communicate texture.


Onto your branches they're looking very solid and organic as you're applying the instructions to this exercise to great effect. You're making good use of the methodology for how the edges are to be laid out and although you have visible tails in your compound strokes this isn't a big deal as your accuracy will naturally improve with time.

Moving on to your ellipses it's good to see that you're making the effort to always draw through them twice, although you do sometimes falter at this when it comes to your smaller ellipses, so try to draw through them two times as well, or avoid drawing small ellipses altogether. You're varying the degrees of your ellipses throughout the length of your branches which is great as that helps with the believability of the form, although make sure to revisit the rules for how ellipse's degree work as sometimes the changes in your degrees are inconsistent with one another.

Plant Construction Section

And now let's take a look at your plant constructions. Your plants are coming across as very organic, energetic and above all they look very tridimensional as you're making good use of the methods and techniques introduced in this lesson.

Moving forward, here are a couple of things you can keep in mind which will help you take your work to the next level, and get even more out of these exercises.

Perhaps the biggest thing you can do in order to start getting the most out of these exercises is to make sure that you don't preplan how many drawings you want to fit on a given page. Many of your pages would have greatly benefitted if you were to focus on making the best use of the space of the page by first drawing your initial construction as big as it needed to be, and only after that, gauging whether your page had enough space left. Drawing bigger will not only allow you to work through the spatial reasoning problems that arise when tackling these exercises more easily, but it will also give you enough space to fully engage your entire arm when drawing.

There are some places where it seems you're redrawing certain lines, such as in this plant where the leaf structures circled in red have more than 3 lines for their structure which suggests some were redrawn.

There is a reason why we draw these exercises in ink, it's so that we can develop a deep respect behind each and every mark we make, in order to do this we must direct our energies to the planning section of making a mark, we must place as many dots as necessary and ghost as many times as needed - and only then must be execute our mark. If we were unsuccessful, then all we can do is accept it and move on to the next line. Do not redo any mark that turned out unsuccessful.

In this mushroom the cap cuts into the bottom ellipse, when constructing anything make sure to stick closely to the original construction, do not cut into forms, and always treat ellipse's outer perimeter as the defining edge of the form.

Don't fill in big areas of black such as in this page. Big areas of black should be reserved for cast shadows only, and these areas also go against the concepts of drawing texture implicitly.

Texture in the context of this course is an extension of the concepts of construction, with construction being focused on the big and primitive forms that make up different objects, essentially construction focuses on the structure of a subject while texture focuses on communicating the small forms that run along the surface of said subject. While construction tells the viewer what it'd feel like to manipulate that object with their hands, texture visually communicates what it would feel like to run their hands across the surface of that object.

All of this means that both sections essentially focus on the same concept - just in different scales, and neither of them have anything to do with aesthetics or making a drawing visually interesting, what we draw here is based on what's physically present in our construction. As mentioned here we should focus how each individual form present on a surface casts a shadow onto that same surface, and analyzing all of this information present in our reference so that we can better translate that to our page.

This means that the shape of this shadow is very important as it'll define the relationships between the form casting it and the surface it's being cast on, as such you should design your shadow shape in a way that feels dynamic, as shown here.

This approach is of course much harder than basing our understanding of texture on other methods that may seem more intuitive, but in the long run this method of texture is the one who enforces the ideals of spatial reasoning taught in this course. By following them, you'll find yourself asking how to convey texture in the most efficient way possible, with less lines and ink, focusing more on the implicit mark-making techniques introduced in Lesson 2. Going forward here are a couple of final reminders of how texture in Drawabox should be approached.

Final Thoughts

In general you're doing well, you're following the instructions to the exercises and your plants are coming along quite tridimensional as a result, you're clearly demonstrating a strong sense of spatial reasoning in these pages and as such I'll be marking this submission as complete.

If I may - a last nitpick is that the shadows make it a bit distracting and difficult to critique your work, make sure to take photos in a well lit room, preferably with as much natural sunlight as possible.

Good luck in Lesson 4.

Next Steps:

Don't forget to add these exercises to your list of warm ups.

Move on to Lesson 4.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
10:27 PM, Friday July 28th 2023

Thank you so much for the critique! You pointed out a lot of things that I thought seemed off, but I just wasn't quite sure what and how to address it, so thank you!

As far as avoiding the large areas in black, that's useful to know. I think I was defaulting to that because of mixing up color with texture on an image, so I'll try my best to consciously avoid that from now on.

The recommendation below is an advertisement. Most of the links here are part of Amazon's affiliate program (unless otherwise stated), which helps support this website. It's also more than that - it's a hand-picked recommendation of something I've used myself. If you're interested, here is a full list.
Color and Light by James Gurney

Color and Light by James Gurney

Some of you may remember James Gurney's breathtaking work in the Dinotopia series. This is easily my favourite book on the topic of colour and light, and comes highly recommended by any artist worth their salt. While it speaks from the perspective of a traditional painter, the information in this book is invaluable for work in any medium.

This website uses cookies. You can read more about what we do with them, read our privacy policy.