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10:36 PM, Wednesday February 22nd 2023

Hi Elvenstar207, and good job completing lesson 2! I will handle your critique by dividing my thoughts on each exercise in corresponding sections.

Organic arrows

First, the good news: your arrows show a nice fluidity in their shapes, with generally confident curves flowing quite smoothly through the page. Fluidity is an important feature of all objects whose construction starts from a ribbon, so it's a good thing that yours start already with a fairly good sense for it. As a minor note, some ribbons tend to get a bit "fat" on their curves, likely resulting from your mark getting a bit too deviated from your first curved line. One way you could improve this is by, instead of ghosting the second line in its entirety, dividing your work in smaller portions by ghosting the individual curved "segments" between each turn, paying of course attention to making your segments overlap. This way, following the profile of your initial line becomes generally easier. On the other hand, there are important aspects of this exercise which I feel you should work on more. First off, the perspective: for curved ribbons like these, perspective makes their far end look smaller and their near end look bigger, with the width more or less increasing uniformly from near to far, and the more the difference in width is stark, the more the ribbon will seem long. Some of your arrows do show this effect, the top 3 in the first page for instance. However, some others do show the opposite effect, starting shorter on the near side and getting wider on the far side, as it is happening in the top 2 arrows at the bottom of the first page. I suspect that, more than to an incomprehension happening during construction, this is due to an incorrect placement of hatching lines. Since the hatching is a tool that we use here to clarify which face is behind, placing it incorrectly can make the difference between a convincing arrow in perspective and an arrow that is diverging. Here's a concrete example of what I mean: https://imgur.com/a/QgMx88o

Another important thing to note here is that many of your arrows do not simply go towards or away from the viewer, but twist and spiral like a helix (see for instance the bottom left arrow in the first page and the two at the top of the second page). While drawing spiraling and twisted ribbon may be a good exercise to test one's sense of geometric intuition once they have an advanced enough understanding, it's a good idea at an early stage to stick to simple forms: when we are learning we should always try to operate on the simple, straightforward cases and only then start to add complexity.

Organic forms

Your forms look for the most part good. You have kept your sausage shape nice and simple. The axis of the sausage is placed quite precisely, pointing well the direction of the flow of the "spine" of the shape. Both the silhouette of the sausages and the axis are smooth and very confident, resulting overall in mostly nice and clean shapes. You also aligned quite well the ellipses and contour lines to the spine, and changed the foreshortening of each curve/ellipse along the length of the spine, enhancing the feeling of depth. A thing that I'd critique here is the presence of some subtle but noticeable wobbling in the ellipses and in some of the contour lines, which clashes with the clean curves of the sausages. Remember that here we will always try to privilege confidence over accuracy: even if you may be less precise at first, always try to draw your curves with (moderately) rapid marks and, if you are struggling with precision, ghosting longer will help.

Texture analysis

You did a quite nice job here. You picked some textures that could be conveyed effectively through the use of cast shadows. I particularly like what you did in your mushroom texture, where you picked and reproduced a subject that clearly showcases two different scales of details, a greater one formed by the lamellae (the "gills" of the shroom) and a smaller one given by the granular and fuzzy contour structure. Your shadow gradients are also quite smooth. The only thing I'd criticize is your corn texture, where you tended to simplify the shape of the kernels into rectangles, as opposed to your observation that shows a richer, less regular structure.


I want to preface that, in my opinion, your textures here are for the most part looking great. I like the way you handle detail with a thought out use of shadow and irregular marks that convey the bumps, creases, pores and dents of your surfaces, such as in your brick texture. You also break well the form your sausage, conveying better the feeling that we are looking at a shape made from a specific material. That being said, our main aim here is not to necessarily make pleasing-looking drawings, but to study and acquire specific skills, and on this matter, I think that there are some aspects of this exercise you should have handled in a different way. One problem in some of your sausage cuts, such as in the same brick one, the bark and the honeycomb, is that the texture doesn't follow the geometry of the shape, i.e. the detail doesn't wrap around the sausage. It's especially evident in the brick texture, where the brick outlines look like they are laying flat on a bean shaped cut of a wall. The effect we should be looking for is instead that of a curved wall that is wrapping around the sausage shape, so that while each individual brick is flat, the way they are disposed follows imaginary contour lines on the shape. Other textures however do have detail that actually follows the curving of the surface. Another critical aspect in many of your shapes is that you often use explicit outlining of the texture instead of implicit (I'll point back to the lesson 2 material for the detailed explanation of the difference: https://drawabox.com/lesson/2/2/homework). The key point is that, while most your textures usually don't suffer from this, overtly relying on explicit textures can cause visual cluttering and confusion, which in my opinion does indeed happen in 2 of your textures (the strawberry and honeycomb specifically). Implicit textures are a tool that is both pleasing and useful for saving time, so while your ability to make explicit texture seems already quite solid I think it will be worth to train your ability to use implicit. The way you'd want your sausages to come out in this exercise is not unlike a panel form the texture analysis, with your texture forming a smooth gradient from silhouette to center. I'd also note that in some cases you incorporated elements that constitute part of the broader geometry of a shape instead of the "fine structure" that makes the texture, such as in the mangosteen, which is a bit the opposite of the purpose of the exercise, since texture is broadly speaking part of what we add once we have defined through construction the geometry of our objects. Lastly, I will point out that in some texture you have used form shading and hatching to convey shadows and shadow gradients. While these are techniques that are perfectly valid and can be used to achieve stunning visuals, they fall outside the purpose of our exercise, since we should use cast shadows only and refrain from adding marks that do not communicate either contour or irregularities of the surface. While you are absolutely free to use such techniques in your 50% rule work (and I encourage you to do so, since you seem to have quite the eye for it), you should refrain from using them as you did in the tentacle, jeans and sprayed water textures since, again, our goal here is furthering our understanding of 3d objects, not necessarily making pleasing drawings.

Form intersections

Aside from the fact that the boxes could have probably been done with a bit more care, the exercise looks for the most part well done. The shapes look indeed like they belong into the same picture by having a consistent degree foreshortening, giving the composition a nice sense of harmony. You also definitely did not pick the lazy route and instead packed your page with as many shapes as you could, which is good. Your intersections also do look quite believable, showing that you already may have a good eye for how shapes interact with each other. Not much else to say here, you did well.

Organic intersections

Your sausage forms remain confident and smooth, and the confidence of your contour lines seems to have improved as well. Your shadows more often than not wrap around the underlying shapes in a believable way, giving your composition a more solid feeling. However, there are a couple of things to note: first, your forms, while feeling solid also feel quite stiff like a rigid bean shape, while the feeling we are trying to convey is that of a fluid shape that's sagging under its weight, like a balloon filled with water. This is particularly evident in the top left form in the second page, where the sausage is even arching upwards instead of downwards. Another thing to look out for is the relative placement of the sausages, which sometimes makes it rather seem like some sausages are frozen in an unstable position or even floating on top of each other, instead of looking balanced on top of each other under the pressure of their own weight. Here I'm talking about shapes like the right bean at the center of the composition in page 1 and the central bean in page 2: in both cases the beans are not completely stacked on top of the lower ones, but instead their rear end is kind of floating. These are 2 things to keep in mind in the future.


You did a mostly good lesson, but before moving on there are a couple of things I'd like you to work on a little more. First, I will assign you another page of organic arrows, where I'd like you to keep your forms nice and simple, without twisting and spiraling, just simples ribbons with multiple curves, and also I'd like you to try and push your perspective a little bit further, with more accentuated feeling of depth. Second, I'd like you to do another page of organic forms, half of them with ellipses and half of them with contour curves: draw your ellipses and contour lines with the same confidence as your sausage outlines. When you are done, pick a sausage with ellipses, possibly a big one, and do a dissection. You should try to use only cast shadows and implicit texturing. You can (and in fact I'd encourage you to) pick some of the textures from your original exercise and redo them according to these instructions. Take all the time you need and when you are done reply here with your homework. Good luck and good work!

Next Steps:

1 page of organic arrows

1 page of organic forms, half with contour ellipses and half with contour lines. Pick one of the forms with contour ellipses and do a dissection on it

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
1:48 PM, Friday March 3rd 2023

Hi Dr_Scrapjack,

First of all, thank you so much for the in-depth review!!! Means a lot to me that you took the time to analyse my work so thoroughly! I took your improvements into consideration and did the requested rework.

You can view them at https://imgur.com/a/Uvnp8ri (please excuse the white out/tipexx in the arrows page, I know I should remain confident in my strokes but i was almost done with the page and couldn't re-do the whole thing for that one mistake. >.

7:33 PM, Saturday March 4th 2023
edited at 7:34 PM, Mar 4th 2023

Very well done! I can see you definitely put a lot of thought and effort in your revisions, and your results show this clearly. I will proceed to mark your lesson as complete. Hope you will have fun with lesson 3!

Next Steps:

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Lesson 3

This community member feels the lesson should be marked as complete, and 4 others agree. The student has earned their completion badge for this lesson and should feel confident in moving onto the next lesson.
edited at 7:34 PM, Mar 4th 2023
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