Lesson 1: Lines, Ellipses and Boxes

10:43 AM, Tuesday November 7th 2023

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Just finished the first lesson and honestly I'm pleasantly surprised - I did better than I expected at first (also not looking at other submissions helped I think :) ). Even though the last exercises where quite difficult I found myself quite enjoying the process. Thank you for making this course and thanks to anyone taking their time to critique my work!

Have fun drawing everyone!

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6:36 AM, Thursday November 23rd 2023

Hi Indecisive Lad!

I'll be doing your critique today! :) I'll divide it into 3 parts to make it easier for you to follow.


  • Super Imposed Lines - Your superimposed lines are looking good! You've managed to start at the same starting point with only a bit of fraying towards the end as well. You've also drawn confident strokes with no real wobbling. Good job here.

  • Ghosted Lines - You've done well here too! You've ghosted enough that you've accurately started at the starting point and even reached very close to the endpoint as well. Very nice! I see slight wobbling on some of the lines but that will improve with a little more ghosting and practise. Nicely done!

  • Ghosted Planes - Good job here as well. As in the previous exercise, you've drawn confident strokes and ghosted enough to ensure that most lines start at the starting point and end on or close to the endpoint. Once again I see a little wobbling here but it's not too bad so again, more ghosting and practise will help. Remember that the focus is confidence in your line and not accuracy. There is a bit of curving to some of your lines, especially in the boxes of the edges of your pages. To counter this, you can consciously arch the opposite way to maintain a straight line when ghosting, this can help lessen the arching problem. Again this comes with practise so keep practising and these issues will be minimal over time.


  • Tables of Ellipses - Your table looks good with most of the ellipses touching the borders with little or no overlap. You've correctly maintained the 2-stroke ellipse and ghosted enough to keep the ellipses 'tight'. Nicely done!

  • Ellipses in Planes - Your ellipses in planes are quite good too. One thing I want to add is that you have a slight issue of overshooting the end point in some of the planes. This issue is also present in your Ghosted Planes but I thought I'd address it here as it's more obvious in these pages. A way to counteract this is to lift your hand up once you reach the end point to prevent the pen from overshooting that point. These issues will be fixed with practise so keep practising and they will be minimal over time.

  • Funnels - Good job on your funnels. You're ellipses look good though there is a little wobble to some of them as you lose confidence in your line. Keep ghosting over and over until you're ready to mark the paper and the ellipses will be much smoother. There is a relative symmetry with the minor axis cutting the ellipses too so good job overall!


  • Plotted Perspective - Everything looks good here, no issues!

  • Rough Perspective - Good job on keeping the lines either perpendicular or horizontal to the horizon! Also, you've accurately used the line correction method and drawn through your boxes. Some students go past the horizon or don't line up the correction lines to the corner 'dots' when they draw their correction lines. However, there's a little wobble/curving to your lines as I mentioned before. It's a little more obvious here as your eye recognises that the edges of a box must be straight. One thing I'd like you to remember is to use your shoulder more to mark the paper as using your wrist greatly increases your chances of curved lines. Keep practising from the shoulder and arching in the opposite direction than which you tend to draw and your lines will be straighter! Also, I see you've tried to correct some edges of your boxes e.g. first page, first row, bottom-left box. You've drawn over your lines multiple times. This is not allowed. This is stressed a lot during the whole course so ensure you adhere to this rule. The initial line you drew should be handled as correct and you should continue drawing the rest of your box. This is why ghosting matters as you minimise the chances of this happening. Remember that, we are not allowed to redo lines over and over to make it 'look correct' so ghost more and then I'm sure you will be confident enough in your stroke that you won't need to redo anything. :)

  • Rotated Boxes - Good job here! Some students really struggle with this exercise. It is clear that your spatial awareness is good as you've rotated your boxes quite accurately while maintaining quite a close distance with each corner of the boxes. A little bit of curving and wobble can be seen here too in your line work but I'm sure this will improve over time. I can't tell if you've redone certain lines as you've done this exercise in a smaller area but if you have, just keep the previous advice in mind.

  • Organic Perspective - The organic boxes are good. You've kept a good sense of rotation as well as perspective here too so good job! I see repeated edges on multiple boxes as well as the curving and overshooting of lines. I've already addressed these issues so keep the previous advice in mind. I feel like you may have been rushing this exercise to get the homework done. While I understand the want to finish it all, note that this just makes your work a little sloppy. You had done well up to this point.

All in all, this is a good submission and I'm confident you'll improve over time. Keep in mind to ghost more and work on that wobbling/curvature of your lines. I would like you to work on 2 exercises before I mark this lesson as complete.

Also, you may want to work on a smoother surface or keep a few sheets of paper under the paper you're working on as it can be seen up until the Boxes section, you're working on a rough surface. Just something to help you. :)

Next Steps:

  • 1 page of Ellipses in Planes

  • 1 page of Organic Perspective

Please take note of the issues and solutions that have been mentioned and get back to me with the above pages.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
11:33 PM, Thursday December 28th 2023


Hello Bun!

First of all let me thank you for taking your time to write such a thorough critique! Since it is my first time posting here (or anywhere public at all) I was not expecting to get such detailed reply.

Regarding my first submission for some reason I thought that the repeated lines were not so apparent when I drew them but it seems I was seen through immediately XD. Same thing with the organic perspective - since it was the last exercise of lesson I was so eager to finish it I forgot to take my time during the exercise. Thank you again for making me calm down a bit and for reminding me what was the point of those exercises.

Now when talking about exercises given by you I ran into a few issues. I think (but don't know if it's true) that part of why I kept overshooting was because when drawing my fingers where really close to the tip so when ghosting i had to lift my hand a little bit. As a result when I put my pen down it was such a different feeling - it felt like as if I haven't ghosted at all. So during this submission I tried holding the pen further from the tip which felt a little bit more comfortable and natural however I think it resulted in a bit more confident but much more curvy lines (at least in ghosted planes).

I also ran into a few problems when doing the organic perspectives exercise. Firstly I really struggle drawing smaller boxes. It's really hard for me to engage my shoulder when drawing them for some reason, it feels like my arm gets caught on something on the table (even though it's perfectly flat) and stops my arm movement abruptly. Secondly it seems like I can't draw different boxes. At the beginning of each panel all boxes have the same angle even though I was trying to draw them differently... Thirdly when looking at my work I still get the feeling of "rushiness". I tried slowing myself down but I guess I failed at that. If you have some advice regarding these problems I would really appreciate it :).

This might sound like a dumb question and I realised it just now as I'm writing this but was I supposed to do some kind of "warm up" exercises before doing each of my homework submissions? Something along these lines was mentioned in a video I was watching to "freshen up" my memory for the exercises given by you but I missed it at the time. So did I have to randomly choose some exercises from previous homeworks or for now I just had to draw immediately and do warm ups when I reach lesson 2?

Again thank you very much for critiquing my work, helping me and giving some directions! :)

7:22 AM, Thursday January 18th 2024

Hiya Indecisive Lad!

Haha the ability to see the repeated lines is why this specific pen is required to be used for most of the course. Much easier to see it than if you used pencil or digital tools. :)

Anyways, regarding your question about the way you hold your pen. It's recommended that you hold it in a more comfortable/natural manner. Seems like before you were holding it quite tight which may have also meant you were pressing down on the paper quite hard which may be why ghosting and actually drawing on the paper felt so different. It's fine that your lines are a little curvy now. You have noticed that's the case and can work to improve upon it. Like I mentioned in the critique before, we mainly focus on confidence in your line more than the accuracy. Try holding your pen in the more comfortable way and practise, you might find it easier in the end even to get more accurate lines. It's basically all muscle memory after all.

About drawing smaller boxes, this is normal. It is harder to draw smaller shapes with your shoulder and is why the wrist helps with doing the smaller details. Don't worry or focus on it too much. The main take from this lesson is the confidence so even if you use your wrist more than your shoulder for much smaller objects, it will inevitably happen since the drawing area is so small. But this is not an excuse to use your wrist all the time! It's more about how much surface area are you drawing over. Use your shoulder as much as possible and only if it seems like you're drawing really small, then you may find that you're using your wrist more. That's okay. :)

Don't worry about the angle of the boxes, you will have TONS of practise for this when you do the 250 Box Challenge. Figuring out how to draw different angled boxes is part of that challenge.

About the 'rushiness', I think this is something you may find that taking the time with your lessons can help. I had the same problem but I just forced myself to not get distracted by making sure I had a 'reward' to look forward to if I finished it properly (some tv or youtube to watch or maybe a nice meal even). If I didn't, well no reward for me AND I have rework to do because clearly I didn't pay enough attention to the lesson. That was punishment enough lol. The lessons do say not to rework but I could tell when I'd been paying attention and when I rushed and there's no point doing a lesson if I had rushed it without taking in what I was learning. Almost like cramming for an exam. You always forget a few days later lol.

I'd suggest maybe concentrating on each stroke a little more as well. Almost like a meditation of sorts. Really think about how you're going to mark the paper. Easier said than done I know specially when the brain is like 'omg let's finish this quick!'. Maybe set aside like an hour or 2 a day to just work on DaB work. Don't think about how you want to finish something but rather think along the lines of 'I'll get what I can done within this timeframe and I'll do it properly'. Maybe not having an 'end goal' may help so you aren't really looking forward to finishing it. Or maybe its a opposite; choose only a small part to finish but give yourself 2 hours to do it. You can't do anything else within those two hours. No distractions. I'd say experiment and see. It's hard to give you advice here on this as I feel its a very individual thing. If you're on discord, you can maybe even join the DaB discord and ask around. I'm sure you're not the only individual who's struggled with this issue too. I feel it's very common.

For your warm ups, lesson one doesn't really have warm ups as it's still the basics. But from lesson 2 onwards, you can randomly select exercises from lesson 1. These will be your warm up exercises. So spend about 15mins doing them before you start on any future lesson work.

Sorry for the long essay but I hope I covered your questions. I'm happy with your revisions and I think you're definitely ready to move on to the 250 Box Challenge. Good luck! And remember, perseverance is key with this challenge and don't forget your warm ups. I'm sure you'll do well! :)

This community member feels the lesson should be marked as complete. In order for the student to receive their completion badge, this critique will need 2 agreements from other members of the community.
7:57 PM, Thursday January 18th 2024

Hi Bun!

Thank you for the reply! It's reassuring to hear that what I'm doing is not completely wrong XD. Drawing requires a lot more patience than I was expecting at first. I'm hoping to get better but the progress feels very slow... But I guess it's time to tackle the next challenge - the 250 boxes, I wonder how that'l turn out!

I also want to wish you the best of luck in your creative endevours - have a nice day! :)

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