250 Cylinder Challenge

12:15 AM, Tuesday May 31st 2022

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Let me how they look. I'm ready for revisions if necessary.

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1:25 AM, Thursday June 2nd 2022

Starting with your cylinders around arbitrary minor axes, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there are a few major issues here:

  • You've drawn all of your cylinders with no convergence to the side edges, and therefore no foreshortening. I'll explain in a moment why this is incorrect, but it also neglects the point in bold here from the assignment section, to vary the rate of foreshortening across the cylinders.

  • Your ellipses are very wobbly and hesitant, suggesting that you're not employing the ghosting method to break your markmaking into distinct planning/preparation stages, followed by a confident execution. You also may not be consistently using your whole arm from the shoulder, which can also contribute to wobbling.

  • Your side edges also show signs that you're not using the ghosting method - they're not terrible but they could definitely be smoother and straighter. My main concern is that you may not be using the ghosting method here either. If you aren't, then remember that technique should be applied to all of your freehanded structural marks throughout this course. If you are, then try to execute the marks with a more confidence, accepting that the moment your pen touches the page, any opportunity to avoid a mistake has passed, and that all you can do is push through. Of the three, this concern is fairly minor.

So, in essence you've drawn all of these cylinders for the first section of the challenge with side edges that remain entirely parallel on the page, effectively forcing that vanishing point that governs them to "infinity" in the manner discussed back in Lesson 1. This is not something we actually have direct control over, however. We can decide how we want a given form to be oriented, which in turn controls how the sets of edges that make it up are oriented in space, and that determines where the vanishing points need to go - but we cannot simply state that "I'm going to put my vanishing point at infinity to simplify the challenge" and still have the cylinders rotating arbitrarily as is inherently part of the exercise.

The vanishing point only goes to infinity in a limited set of circumstances - specifically those where the set of edges it governs run perpendicularly to the viewer's angle of sight, not slanting towards or away from the viewer through the depth of the scene. Given that we're rotating these cylinders randomly and freely, the chances of having one align so perfectly to the viewer in a sample size of 150 is slim enough that we may as well just ignore it altogether, instead choosing to always incorporate a concrete vanishing point.

Moving onto your cylinders in boxes, these are definitely much better. While their foreshortening tends to be quite shallow, they do have concrete convergences (at least in most cases), so the issue from the previous section does not come up here. 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.

In being as fastidious with your line extensions as you have been, you've given yourself the opportunity to identify the behaviour of those lines, which in turn gives you the information you would need to adjust your approach from page to page. While there is certainly continued room for growth (which is normal), you have demonstrated that you understand how to employ this exercise, and your judgment for those proportions has come along fairly well.

I have just one recommendation - don't cut the minor axis line extensions so short. They should be extended as far back as everything else, so you can get a complete grasp of how far off from the vanishing point they are.

While the cylinders in boxes are largely well done, unfortunately you will need revisions for the first section. You'll find them assigned below.

Next Steps:

Please submit 60 cylinders around arbitrarily minor axes, taking care to address the points I raised. Be sure to include plenty of variation in foreshortening, from shallow to dramatic, but always with some convergence, even if only very slight.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
1:09 AM, Thursday June 23rd 2022


Here is the link to the 60 cylinders requested. I had started the original batch back in December and I hope that I am doing better now. I tried to focus on ghosting my lines more carefully. I still feel my cylinders get wobbly when I am drawing them. I tried to push the foreshortening more, especially on the last 15 cylinders. As always, I appreciate the feedback.

12:04 AM, Friday June 24th 2022

So you definitely have demonstrated the ability work with lots of foreshortening, especially towards the end there - but you still do have quite a few cylinders here where your side edges are basically running totally parallel to one another. That's something I specifically explained as being incorrect in my previous critique, so I'm not really sure why you continued doing that here, in cases like 1, 11, 24, 45, and so on.

I highly recommend that you go back over my previous feedback and come to an answer for yourself. I will be marking this challenge as complete, but if my previous explanation as to why this is incorrect was unclear, you should ask questions to receive clarification. If however you were just careless, then you need to reflect on how you're approaching the way in which you apply feedback.

Regardless, I am going to mark this challenge as complete. Just be sure to also continue practicing the use of the ghosting method to achieve a confident execution of your ellipses - the wobbling/hesitation is invariably a sign of not executing as confidently as you should, and prioritizing accuracy over that confidence, in the manner Lesson 1 stated would be incorrect. So, the second your pen touches the page, commit to your stroke regardless of your fears that you're going to make a mistake.

Next Steps:

Move onto lesson 6.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
12:51 AM, Friday June 24th 2022

Well the good news is that drawing cylinders is part of my regular practice, so I will keep at it. There seems to be a particular speed that seems to be the best combination of confident and accurate for me. Unfortunately I don't always hit it. Too slow and it gets wobbly and too fast and it's all over the place. I did make an effort to ghost and improve the side line quality.

Not to be contentious, but you did say to vary the foreshortening. I freely admit that I didn't have enough variation in my first batch, so I made an effort to increase the range on the second one. The word vary suggested to me a wider range, which would include the parallel sided ones too. When I look across the room at my paper towel roll, it looks a lot like the strait sided ones. I can see plenty of uses for greater foreshortening too, but I thought I should practice the full range. I wasn't trying to ignore instructions. Sorry if it came across that way.

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