Lesson 3: Applying Construction to Plants

8:56 PM, Friday July 2nd 2021

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As always don't be afraid to go all out on the critiques, I'm good at taking hits.

Also I've got a question regarding the 250 box challange that I'd like to discuss despite having finished it.

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2:13 AM, Sunday July 4th 2021

You probably should have included your question about the 250 box challenge in your post, just to save us both some time, but I guess you can go ahead and drop it in a response to this critique.

Starting with your arrows, these are looking good. They're drawn farily confidently (a little hesitant, so the edges are just a little short of entirely smooth, but they're still coming along fairly well), so they convey a good sense of motion and force. I did feel that the use of the space on this page was a little strange though - there was definitely enough room to fit a few more and get more out of what was assigned.

Your leaves carry over both of those elements - there's a nice sense of motion to how they flow through space, as well as a somewhat odd abundance of empty space along the sides. In this case though, you did draw plenty of leaves so I'd recommend that you draw them bigger in the future to make better use of the page as a whole. Drawing bigger tends to help give us more room to think through spatial problems, and also further encourages us to use our whole arm.

Now there's a bigger issue here than just empty space - it seems you stopped your work on this exercise at step 2 of the instructions, and did not experiment at all with more complex edge detail or more complex leaf structures. I'm not sure if you just didn't read the instructions as carefully as you should have or what, but I would not consider this to be finished.

Your work on the branches are similarly sparse, but what you have drawn here is coming along pretty well, save for a couple things:

  • Make sure you're drawing from your shoulder and employing the ghosting method for those ellipses - some of them are looking a little hesitant and uneven.

  • Be sure to extend each edge segment fully halfway to the next ellipse, as explained here in the instructions.

Now while those initial 3 exercises have some notable issues, your actual plant constructions are for the most part looking pretty good. You're working from simple to complex with proper respect for the principles of construction in most cases, you're drawing each petal and leaf in its entirety so as to fully understand how they exist in 3D space and how they relate to one another within that space, and your linework is generally looking pretty good. I have just a few points I want to raise:

  • When you add more complex edge detail to a leaf or petal, do not attempt to redraw the entirety of the leaf and replace the previous phase of construction with the new one. Construction is about building things up one step at a time, carrying the solidity that comes from the simplicity of the earlier phases on through as you build up complexity. We do that by maintaining as much of those initial phases as part of the object itself as possible. The more completely you replace that structure, the less of that solidity you'll retain. While you are doing a good job of maintaining tight relationships (ensuring that you're touching that earlier construction) in drawings like this flower you were definitely trying to replace the earlier construction, most notably because you drew the later phases with a visibly heavier line. In general, keep the thickness of different stages of construction's linework as consistent as you can. Only add line weight towards the end, and only in specific, localized areas to clarify particular overlaps between forms as shown here.

  • Also, on that same flower, don't forget the textural principles from lesson 2. We imply the presence of textural forms - like the very subtle ridges along the length of those petals - using cast shadow shapes. Most of those cast shadows would be blasted out because they're so subtle already, but if you try to capture them through line alone, you end up drawing way more of them than you should, and you lose the ability to transition from sparse to dense.

  • With this drawing, you ended up filling the negative space behind the object with solid black. In this course, refrain from using areas of solid black for anything other than cast shadow shapes. I get the impression that you may have done this because of the potato plant demo - but if you look more closely at it, in that demo the area I fill in between a certain section of leaves is actually the shadow of those dense leaves being cast upon the dirt, and we have other leaves casting more specific, separate shadow shapes to help make that clearer.

  • In this pitcher plant, your linework gets quite hesitant. This is understandable because you're drawing a particularly difficult curve while training to maintain a specific width, but at the end of the day, achieving a confident, smooth stroke is more important than accuracy. Using the ghosting method with every mark will help you achieve both, but will still prioritize the confidence of the execution above all else.

Now, before I mark this lesson as complete, I would like to see one more page of leaves, since the one you submitted was not complete.

Next Steps:

Please submit 1 more page of leaves.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
8:11 AM, Sunday July 4th 2021
edited at 8:13 AM, Jul 4th 2021

Looks like I finally got to meet the legend! As of time writing this I am at work and unable to read the critique given but I'll promise to do it later, l'll just ask the question regarding boxes now and post additional leaf homework sometime after.

So to the problem that has been bothering me for awhile is Am I supposed to be able to rotate any box to any direction I want with the knowledge provided from lesson 1 and 250 box challange? Ever since completing the challange I have no problem drawing Y shapes boxes, but when I imagine how I should draw them if I tilted them back my mind just goes blank as of time writing this.

Sorry for my bad English.

edited at 8:13 AM, Jul 4th 2021
3:08 PM, Sunday July 4th 2021

This course isn't something that promises to have you develop a certain amount of skill after a specific point, lesson, or exercise. Instead, it introduces you to concepts, and at specific points (like the box challenge) provides you with a bit more of a focused amount of work to help push you more solidly in a particular direction.

So that is to say, there's no expected "level" a student is going to be at once they finish Lesson 1 and the box challenge.

When it comes to developing a grasp of 3D space - that is, the ability to better understand how to manipulate forms in 3D space, and then draw them on the page, that is the main goal of this entire course - not just the first part. We go on to explore this through all of the constructional drawing lessons, from 3 to 7, as these have us continually thinking about how the forms we draw exist in space, and how they relate to one another within that space.

Long story short, no. You're not expected to suddenly be able to rotate boxes perfectly by the end of the box challenge. It's one step in a long journey, and this course as a whole is more about teaching students how to train and practice that stuff - it doesn't promise that you'll be at any particular stage at the end, and the expectation is that you'll still be practicing these exercises continually as you go forwards.

Lastly, don't forget - in Lesson 0 I mention that you should continue to practice the exercises you encounter as part of a regular warmup routine. That includes drawing freely rotated boxes and checking their line extensions.

4:53 PM, Sunday July 4th 2021
edited at 4:54 PM, Jul 4th 2021

Just read the critique and finished the additional leaf homework and thanks for the amazing critique and the reply to my question.

Not overly satisfied with the results but heres the homework.


edited at 4:54 PM, Jul 4th 2021
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