Lesson 3: Applying Construction to Plants

1:07 AM, Saturday August 13th 2022

Draw a Box. Lesson 3 - Plants. [Kami Ash] - Album on Imgur

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Another lesson down. I'm so happy with myself for keeping at it. Yay! :)

I completed this last tuesday, might be a bit early but the fortnight should be up in an hour or two. Ok, now only 30 mins.

Wondered if I should have done a few more plant sketches as I did one plant per page, while other people seem to have done a few plants per page. I went with what Tofu said in another lesson - "Draw bigger".

All plants drawn I have grown myself from seed. Might be difficult to photograph exact angle of said plants, but happy to try if it's needed. (Some pics are quite blurry at the top, may need to try taking them again.)

Included all six demos and some warm ups since they were related to this lesson.

Thank you once again for your time.

Have a wonderful day!

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7:19 PM, Monday August 15th 2022

The advice Tofu provided is right - although more accurately, it's about making good use of the space available to you on the page, and allowing yourself to give each construction as much room as it individually requires. Only when that drawing is done should we assess whether there is enough room for another. If there is, we should certainly add it, and reassess once again. If there isn't, it's perfectly okay to have just one drawing on a given page as long as it is making full use of the space available to it.

So! Jumping right in with your arrows, you're doing a great job of drawing these with a great deal of confidence, which really helps to sell the sense of force with which they move through the world. You're generally doing well to add line weight only at the areas with overlaps, although I do see some spots where you add line weight more liberally, across longer sections of line. Always stick to those overlaps, so you can reduce just how much line weight you have to add.

Continuing onto your leaves, you've done a great job of carrying the confidence forward from the previous exercise, which has in turn helped you to achieve a sense of not only how these leaves sit statically in 3D space, but also how they move through the space they occupy. I'm pleased to see that you've tackled both various kinds of edge detail, as well as some more complex leaf structures. You handled the latter quite well, although with the former, I want to warn you against attempting to draw many different protrusions/features/additions in a single stroke. Each one should be drawn individually, such that it rises off and returns to the existing edge in as seamless a manner you can achieve. Don't try to redraw the entire thing or replace one step of construction with the next, and avoid zigzagging back and forth as explained here.

Moving onto your branches, it appears that you may not have followed the instructions for this one too carefully. As explained here, the edges need to be drawn in a very specific manner. Each one starts from one ellipse, continues past the second and stops halfway to the third. The next then starts at the second ellipse, repeating the pattern. This allows for a healthy overlap between them, which in turn helps us achieve a smoother, more seamless transition from one to the next.

Onto your plant constructions, there's a lot you're doing well here, although there are definitely some points I want to offer that'll help you continue to make the most out of these constructional drawing exercises going forward:

  • One really important aspect of construction as a process is that it requires us to maintain a tight, specific relationship from one constructional step to the next. This is what allows the solidity from the simpler stages to transfer forwards as we build up more complexity. There are definitely places that stand out where you're ending up with much more vague or loose relationships, where the linework is either a little too loose on its own, or where there are gaps left. We can see a fair bit of this here. Since you're using the ellipses (similarly to in the hibiscus demo) to establish how far out each petal should reach, you should be sure to have every flow line then end at the perimeter of its given ellipse. Then each leaf stops at the furthest extent of the flow line, and no farther. Keep those relationships much tighter than you have been.

  • When constructing cylindrical flower pots, be sure to do so around a central minor axis line to help in aligning the various ellipses.

  • Furthermore, be sure to included as many ellipses as are required to flesh out the entirety of the structure - at minimum that's going to include another ellipse inset within the opening to establish the thickness of the rim, rather than leaving it paper thin. Another to establish the level of the soil and provide the stem something to intersect with in order to make it feel more grounded would also generally be beneficial.

  • Also, remember that as explained in the Lesson 1 ellipses video, the farther we slide along a structure, the wider its cross-sectional slices will be. On this one you have the top ellipse as the wider one, and the base as the narrower. This should be reversed.

  • Last point about flower pots - if such a form gets cut off along the edge of a page, be sure not to leave it open ended. Cap it off - if it's cylindrical, do so with an ellipse, but generally it's about ensuring that it's a closed off 3D form. Leaving it open will cause the viewer to interpret it as a flat shape.

Now, before I mark this lesson as complete, I am going to need you to do one more page of branches, as that exercise was not done correctly.

Next Steps:

Please submit 1 page of branches.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
11:20 PM, Monday August 15th 2022

Hi Uncomfortable,

I was bound to be asked for extra pages eventually. I'm actually glad, as weird as those sounds!

I was having trouble with the branches, or eclipses in general. I've been doodling branches and eclipses ever since I came across them. Just a few each day, so hopefully with the new page there will be some improvement, or at least what I should be doing will finally "click".

I'll go over the branch lesson again and upload a new page. Thank you.

Liberal adding of extra super imposed lines. Yeh, I'm trying hard not to do this. I'm looking at things from a "finished" perspective which I need to stop doing for these lessons.

Leaves, zig zagging - I was so conscious of what you said in the lesson. I didn't think I did, but it looks like I have in a few places. Noted, thank you. I'm keep an eye on that in the future.

Yeh, that strawberry seedling was horrible. I wanted to do it again, but the lesson say to upload your first attempt, so that's exactly what I did. As pretty as strawberry leaves are, maybe it wasn't the best choice. (Ahh not to worry, it's all a learning experience. One wonkie drawing at a time! And I've got more strawberry seedlings than I can poke a stick at if I want to try again.)

Ok, don't be scared of adding as many eclipses as needed. I was wondering if I was doing too many in some cases, but not enough in others.

If something goes off the page, be sure to cap it.

Okies, I'll go over what you've written a few more times, go through the branches again and we'll see how we go.

Thank you for your time. :)

Have a great day!

3:15 AM, Tuesday August 16th 2022
edited at 6:42 AM, Aug 16th 2022


I think I get it.

Still wonkie, but it finally clicked. I think that overshooting could take years to master, and even then, you'd never get it completely perfect. (Those tails are infuriating to see. It's going to drive me nuts in the future. Something I'll definitely have to practice with.)

I probably went a bit overboard. I just wasn't getting the overshoot. The video said don't overshoot too much, or too little. But what was too much, or too little. After reading what you wrote in my critique for the umpteenth time. Out loud to myself so I wasn't missing anything. I finally saw it. "Overshoot halfway between eclipses". (And I just noticed that in bold in the written material too. I guess no matter how many times you might read something, you'll always miss a vital piece of information when there is so much of it to take in.)

First page was a warm up, second page was going to be my submission, alas I still wasn't getting it right. Re-read, re-watch everything. Then three - eureka! (I don't normally do page after page of the same drawing. At least not unless I don't quite understand, otherwise it's one or two of something as a warm up, or while doodling.)

I'm also having trouble getting all the eclipses the same width. I guess that will come with practice. (And for some reason I thought it was July, that's neither here, or there.)

Thanks again.

Have a wonderful day!


4.31pm 16 Aug 22.


While you didn't ask for this, I thought I'd draw it anyway. And it gives me another plant practice. The same strawberry plant a week later, with a photo at a slightly different angle.

The first drawing turned out wrong, so I didn't finish it. It remained a "sketch". It was also an overhead angle, so the foreshortening of the plant I didn't quite grasp.

I wasn't sure about the leaves, I'm still not sure. Do we do these kind of leaves like a complete flower? Or do we do the leaves separately? In some case I can see doing them like we did the hibiscus, while in others they appear to three separate entities. (A humble strawberry plant through me for a loop.)

How does one do these small stems? If it was a drawing/study of one single leaf, I can see using the eclipses however I'm unsure for the whole plant with the stems so small.

OKies, I'm gone again.

edited at 6:42 AM, Aug 16th 2022
5:44 PM, Wednesday August 17th 2022

Unfortunately I think when it comes to the branches, you fell into the trap of overthinking and min-maxing that I address in this video from Lesson 0 (which you should certainly review, as it also touches on the importance of keeping your messages brief and avoiding going into unnecessary information which only makes responding more time consuming on my end). That is, you appear to have gotten so into finding the solution to the problem that you looked right past the information that was provided to you in my past critique.

In my last feedback, I mentioned:

Each one starts from one ellipse, continues past the second and stops halfway to the third. The next then starts at the second ellipse, repeating the pattern.

This is also demonstrated in this diagram from the instructions which I linked you to along with the statement above.

Looking at your work, there are definitely places where you're doing it correctly, to varying degrees, but these tend to be scattered amongst instances of you not extending fully halfway to the next ellipse (like here - of course this is one example of many, just to illustrate the point), and instances of you not starting your next segment at the previous ellipse, but rather doing so further ahead as shown here.

Furthermore, it seems you very much misunderstood the point that I raised about your ellipses' widths/degrees. In your response, you stated:

I'm also having trouble getting all the eclipses the same width.

What I stated was that your ellipses should not be maintaining the same width, but rather they should get wider as we slide further away from the viewer. This is demonstrated with props in the Lesson 1 ellipses video I linked you to in the previous feedback - your misunderstanding here makes me question whether you took the time to go back and review it.

While I understand you have other questions amidst your response, I'm going to ask you to do one more page of branches. When you submit it, you can feel free to list your questions there - preferably without additional commentary, so I can identify them easily and answer them quickly.

Next Steps:

Another page of branches.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
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