Lesson 3: Applying Construction to Plants

7:45 PM, Saturday January 27th 2024

Lesson 3 Plants - Album on Imgur

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This is my submission for my 2nd attempt at the course.


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10:30 AM, Wednesday January 31st 2024

Hello JosieJoys, I'm ThatOneMushroomGuy and I'll be the TA handling your critique today.


Starting with your arrows you're drawing your marks with a good deal of confidence which helps solidify the feeling of fluidity that arrows posses as they move through all the three dimensions of the world they exist in. You're keeping foreshorting in mind while constructing your arrows which allows you to make good use of the depth of your page, this gives a nice extra layer of tridimensionality to your arrows.

Your usage of hatching helps you establish how your arrows twist and turn in space and further your own understanding of the tridimensional space these objects occupy. It's good that you're making use of added line weight on top of the overlaps in order to reinforce their depth, but remember that this lineweight must be added subtly, with a single mark being superimposed on top of your lines.

Generally you're doing a good job with this exercise, I'd like to encourage you to get out of your comfort zone more often the next time you tackle this exercise in order to keep pushing yourself. Try arrows with different kinds of twists and turns and different rates of foreshortening, keep in mind that arrows are very flexible objects and can move freely across the world in all sorts of manners, so you should push yourself and explore the different possibilities.


The linework for your leaves is looking smooth which helps communicate their fluidity and sense of energy, it's good that you're not only trying to capture how these structures sit statically within space, but also how they move across it from moment to moment.

However you also have some unnatural bends present in your leaves. Keep in mind that even though leaves are very flexible structures, that mostly applies to their length and not their width. They're like a piece of paper, not a piece of rubber, they can fold and bend in a lot of ways, but they can't stretch or compress, and if you try to force them to they'll simply rip apart.

Your edge detail is starting to move in the right direction, it's good to see that you don't attempt to capture more than one piece of edge detail at a time, but there are a couple of things that can be changed in order to make it better.

Firstly your marks often have gaps and aren't completely smooth, this suggests that you're not putting as much time into executing each individual mark as it requires. No mark we draw is unimportant, as such if we decide to add it in we must make sure that it's confident, smooth and carefully executed.

At points it seems that you favor working subtractively more than additively, so just keep in mind that it's best to build on top of what you've drawn previously and avoid cutting back into what you've already drawn, as that can cause us to focus too much on manipulating 2d shapes, rather than the tridimensional edges they represent in space.


Moving on to your branches they are coming along really decently made as you're following the instructions for the exercise, you're drawing your edges in segments which allows you to maintain higher control over your marks which allows you to create some solid but still organic looking structures.

For ellipses it's good to see that you're making an attempt to always draw through them twice, as that allows for a smoother mark overall. While it is good to see that you seem aware of the ellipse degree shift it can still be improved. At points your degrees hardly change which flattens your structures, so remember to look over the page explaining the degree shift again, and always keep in mind that as a form shifts in relation to the viewer, so will the degree of the ellipses within that structure also shift.

Plant Construction Section

And lastly let's take a look at your plant constructions, which are generally coming along nicely made. You're making use of the construction methods and techniques introduced in this Lesson which helps you create the illusion of tridimensionality in your work, you're starting to develop a strong sense of spatial reasoning.

You're not only trying to capture what these structures look like, but you also focus on how they work, how they exist fully in their tridimensional space by drawing through your forms and thinking about the way each piece of your construction exists in 3d space.

Of course, there are always things that can be improved upon so here are some points you should keep in mind when tackling these exercises again in order to keep honing your skills.

Avoid drawing on both sides of the page if your marks show through, it can encourage you to be sloppier with your linework. If you'd like to make the best use of your pages you can always keep them and use the other side for warm ups after you've taken a photo and submitted it for review.

It's good to see that you're making use of boundaries in your constructions as it can help you keep the size of different forms consistent with one another, however make sure that you're respecting the boundary, that your later abide closely by it and not just loosely, otherwise it might as well not exist.

Ease up on your lineweight, it's thick, with several passes going over the same marks and jump from one form's silhouette to another, which smooths everything out too much. Almost as if you pulled a sock over a vase, it softens the distinctions between the forms and flattens the structures out somewhat.

Instead lineweight must be subtle, used only to clarify the overlaps between the forms that are being built up, as explained here.

And lastly let's take a look at your usage of texture, which is starting to move in the right direction as you're focusing on conveying it more implicitly but it can still be improved upon, as your marks are sparse and timid, they seem a bit random and aren't carefully designed.

So let's revisit how texture in Drawabox is approached, by looking back at this page we can refresh our memory and see that texture through the lens of Drawabox is communicated through the use of cast shadows.

It is not used to make our work aesthetic or pretty, instead every textural form we draw is based on what's physically present in our reference. Our focus should be on understanding how each individual form sits in 3D space and how that form then creates a shadow that is cast onto that same surface. Only after analyzing all of this information present in our reference will we be able to translate it to our construction. This means that the shape of our shadow is important as it's the shape that defines the relationships between the form casting it and the surface it's being cast on, which is why we need to consider carefully how to design a shadow shape that feels dynamic.

This approach is of course much harder than basing our understanding of texture on other methods that may seem more intuitive or basing it on the idea that texture = making our work look good, but in the long run this method of applying texture is the one that enforces the ideals of spatial reasoning taught in this course. By following these ideals, you'll find yourself asking how to convey texture in the most efficient way possible, with less lines and ink, focusing on the implicit mark-making techniques introduced in Lesson 2. Make sure to go over these reminders in order to solidify your understanding of texture further.

Final Thoughts

In general your work is moving in the right direction, you're following the instructions to the exercises and your work is looking really tridimensional due to that.

I believe you're ready to tackle the spatial reasoning challenges found in the next lesson, as such I'm going to be marking this submission as complete. Good luck in Lesson 4.

Next Steps:

Don't forget to add these exercises to your list of warm ups.

Move on to Lesson 4.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
7:36 PM, Saturday February 3rd 2024

Thank you for your critique.

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