250 Cylinder Challenge

2:26 PM, Tuesday November 30th 2021

250 cylinder challenge - Album on Imgur

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Here is my take on the cylinder challenge. I hope that I made enough progress with this so that I can re-use in in other


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7:48 PM, Thursday December 2nd 2021
edited at 8:04 PM, Dec 2nd 2021

This challenge is divided into two distinct parts, so we're going to be looking at these one at a time.

First, let's look at your 150 cylinders around arbitrary minor axes. There are two major concerns that I have in regards to this:

First off, from what I can see, you appear to be drawing the end closer to the viewer with an ellipse of a wider degree, and the end farther away from the viewer with a narrower degree. This is incorrect - the farther end should have the wider degree, becoming proportionally wider while continuing to shrink down in its overall scale. This is mentioned in a number of places:

So, I think it's fair to say the information is readily available on that point.

Secondly, when you applied the error checking where we mark out the "true" minor axis line for each ellipse, it looks like you are mostly assuming that your ellipses' alignment are fairly correct, so you end up drawing your minor axis line in green as running roughly parallel to the one you were trying to match, while offsetting the line so it passes through the ellipse's center. Unfortunately, as shown here on one of your later pages, your alignments are in fact off by quite a margin, and the minor axis lines you drew yourself weren't actually cutting the ellipses into two equal, symmetrical halves as they should have.

It is worth mentioning that the general looseness of your ellipses did make it hard to pin down what the "real" ellipse would be, but I did what I could to match them up as well as I could manage. This is actually one of the reasons we recommend that students tackle this challenge after Lesson 5 (as shown here), though students are allowed to tackle it after Lesson 2. Having a lot more mileage and experience with ellipses (as well as with the use of the ghosting method, and drawing from the shoulder), which we continue to develop through Lessons 3, 4, and 5, helps put us in a better position to draw them more tightly, accurately, and confidently when getting into this challenge.

So you haven't broken rules by jumping into the cylinder challenge here, and I assume you did so because you felt the extra practice would help you with your Lesson 3 work, but really it's kind of the opposite. And that's why my previous instructions to you were to tackle Lesson 3 again, rather than doing something entirely different.

Continuing onto your cylinders in boxes, in regards to the issue of your ellipses' degree and how they shift, that issue is no longer present here (largely because the boxes force you to shift the degree correctly), but the problem of you misidentifying the "true" minor axis line of each ellipse is still there, as I've marked out here on one of your last pages.

This exercise is really all about helping develop students' understanding of how to construct boxes which feature two opposite faces which are proportionally square, regardless of how the form is oriented in space. We do this not by memorizing every possible configuration, but rather by continuing to develop your subconscious understanding of space through repetition, and through analysis (by way of the line extensions).

Where the box challenge's line extensions helped to develop a stronger sense of how to achieve more consistent convergences in our lines, here we add three more lines for each ellipse: the minor axis, and the two contact point lines. In checking how far off these are from converging towards the box's own vanishing points, we can see how far off we were from having the ellipse represent a circle in 3D space, and in turn how far off we were from having the plane that encloses it from representing a square.

You're doing a decent job of checking your other line extensions (the contact points and the box's own lines), but the minor axis appears to always be drawn the same, whether or not your ellipses actually align to it. Furthermore, I also marked out in purple where you were struggling to actually have your ellipses touch all 4 edges of the plane they were being added to. These kinds of gaps are normal to some extent - it's normal to make little mistakes here and there - but you do happen to have a fair number of larger gaps. This sort of thing would throw off the usefulness of those contact point line extensions. Combine that with the minor axis line extension being unrelated to the ellipses/planes themselves, then the analysis being made of each box/cylinder doesn't really give us enough useful information to actually make much progress from one page to the next.

Unfortunately, we're running into the same kind of issue we've encountered previously, both in Lesson 2 and Lesson 3. In your Lesson 2 work, I pushed through with you a great deal, and eventually you seemed to grasp those concepts well enough for me to mark the lesson as complete. In Lesson 3, however, I continued to see a tendency to miss, disregard, or perhaps just misunderstand the material. Again - I don't know if that's the fault of a language barrier, but your English has always seemed quite adept when submitting your homework. That said, these lessons aren't exactly easy to understand, and the material is dense. There's also a big difference between being able to convey what you mean, and being able to understand what I'm conveying to you.

Ultimately we're running into this issue time and time again, and it's come to a point where I'm starting to feel that what I am able to offer in terms of feedback and one-on-one time is not sufficient to help you understand the material. It's required me to put many hours of additional time into your feedback, and unfortunately with the nature of this course (that is, being as cheap as it is and not being a more traditional tutorship/mentorship or classroom-based course), I simply do not have the resources to offer you.

I don't do this lightly, but I am going to have to ask that you cancel your patreon subscription. You are of course still welcome to continue doing Drawabox and trying to make use of the community feedback (our discord chat server for example, can be quite helpful), but I will not be able to continue providing you with paid feedback.

I of course don't want to leave you without alternatives, so another course you might try is Brent Eviston's "The Art and Science of Drawing", which you can find on SkillShare or on Udemy. While I haven't gone through it myself, I've heard nothing but good things about it from students on the Drawabox discord server.

I apologize that my skills as an instructor have been insufficient - we both put many hours into this, but ultimately there comes a time where it is no longer wise to keep applying the same solution to a problem when it is not yielding favourable results.

Edit: I should mention that I refunded you the charge that went through yesterday, since you wouldn't be able to use the credit from it.

edited at 8:04 PM, Dec 2nd 2021
7:08 AM, Saturday December 4th 2021


Thanks again for the critics. I was right into trying this challenge as there seems to be a lot of thinks for me to learn. I'll follow your advice and take (around) a year gap to focus on other courses.

Draw a Box is a drawing course for for intermediate to advance level students.

As you point you wich my current beginner level, If I keep on using a credit every month, it is very likely that either I'll have to re do everything or at least half of the exercice, which will make a lot of work for TA. I've found another course in my mother tongue and the website which host the formation includes a forum where I can post lots of questions, which is what I need to progress.

From time to time, I'll post new takes on the form intersections exercices, some texture analysis and some extract of the 250 cylinders challenges and ask other members about their opinions (without using credits).

I'll stop paying with patreon this week. Good luck in developing the website

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