Lesson 3: Applying Construction to Plants

8:06 PM, Wednesday June 7th 2023

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Not totally happy with the plants, but will keep practicing. Thank you in advance.

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8:59 PM, Saturday June 10th 2023

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


Starting with your arrows your linework is looking confident and smooth, which helps sell the illusion of fluidity that arrows have as they move across the world.

It's good to see that you're making use of hatching in order to push the feeling of depth in your arrows, you should also make use of extra lineweight added at the top of overlaps in order to push this even further. Speaking of hatching, make sure to carefully think through it's placement, as sometimes you've added it to the incorrect side of the overlap, which contradicts the illusion of depth you wish to achieve with your arrows.

  • Due to how perspective works, objects that are closer to the viewer appear bigger and those that are further away will appear smaller, if two objects of equal size are placed in a scene at different distances in relation to the viewer, this effect will be clear. Following this logic, an object of consistent size moving across space must gradually change it's size according to the perspective of the scene. As such, the bigger part of the arrow is always going to be the one closest to the viewer, therefore the smaller part of the segment should be the one getting the hatching instead.

And lastly your arrows are clearly looking tridimensional, but a bit too contained to the 2d space offered by your page because you don't fully push the use of foreshortening in your work. Make sure to experiment with your use of foreshortening and different kinds of perspective so that you can push your understanding of 3d space even further.


Onto your leaves the fluidity present in your arrows translates nicely into these new objects, giving them a good sense of flow, but this is held back from it's full potential because none of your leaves have any kind of fold or bend applied to it. This is unnatural and makes your leaves look like they're flat stickers pressed against the page, instead of the tridimensional forms they are that move freely across their own 3D world.

Make sure to get out of your comfort zone and keep in mind the concepts taught in the arrow's exercise on how to make a flat object feel tridimensional. Leaves are an extension of this concept, so they should have folds and perspective applied to them as well, you should also attempt to draw different orientations of leaves because for actual plants, leaves will rarely face only the viewer, with no kind of overlaps or folds to them.

For this leaf structure you could have created a much tighter and more specific construction by making use of additional construction steps as can be seen here, where you can make use of more leaf structures contained inside a boundary and after, connect all of them together in order to create you more complex leaf structure. You can also see this concept explained more clearly in this informal demo.

Your use of edge detail is decent as you're generally adding it in with the same line thickness as the rest of your construction, but a couple of times you zigzag your edge detail, which is a mistake as it goes against the third principle of mark-making found in Lesson 1. You should also keep in mind that edge detail must ne drawn additively whenever possible, don't cut back into the forms you've already drawn, as that can make you focus too much on the shapes on the page, instead of the tridimensional forms they represent.


Onto your branches they're looking really good, you're making use of the correct methodology for the outer edges and building them around a minor axis, all of this allows you to create a really solid looking structure. You still have some visible tails in your compound strokes, but your accuracy is already quite good, as you keep practicing this exercise your accuracy will naturally improve even more. You're also making use of the method for drawing forked branches correctly.

What you can improve in this exercise is that you're not always taking the time to draw through your ellipses twice and it takes away the potential confidence and smooth look that your ellipses should have. So don't forget this seemingly small step, it's really important that you draw through all of your ellipses in this course.

Plant Construction Section

And finally let's move on to your plant constructions. There isn't a lot to talk about here, you're making use of the construction methods and techniques when applicable and your structures are looking tridimensional as a result, you're clearly starting to develop a good sense of spatial reasoning through the use of these exercises.

Of course there are a couple of things that if addressed will help you get even more out of these exercise, so I hope that by pointing them out you'll be able to take your work to the next level.

When dealing with more complex structures (or really construction in general), be sure to maintain tight, specific relationships between your phases of construction. So for example in this page your leaf structures are left flat and stiff because the smaller arms of this leaf structure aren't individually drawn with the leaf construction method which causes them to look stiff, have inconsistent sizes and generally look pretty awkward. So again, don't forget to make use of the complex leaf construction method when approaching these kinds of structures.

Your usage of edge detail in your plant constructions is pretty much inexistent, despite it's prominence in your page of leaves. In one of the only instances where it seems like you did attempt to add edge detail for this plant construction it's haphhazardly made, because there are so many marks and they seem individually unimportant you're putting less time into each one, so they do not proper rise off and return to the existing outer edge mark - there are often gaps and overshoots that could be avoided by putting more time into your lines. No mark you draw is unimportant - if you decided it was worth adding, it's worth giving as much time as it needs to be done to the best of your current ability.

Another thing to keep in mind is that edge detail is actually another step of the construction process and a very important one in communicating the small intricacies of the structures you're drawing, so make sure to always add it in, only the last step of construction, texture, is optional.

It seems that at times you were unsure of the mark that you wanted to make and didn't take the time to properly ghost your line, which caused hesitation and wobble in your marks. Remember that above all else we're striving for confidence in this course, so make sure to ghost your lines as many times as you need until you feel confident in your ability to execute that mark.

There are a couple of points where you were unsure of the form that you wanted to represent such as in here, where the relationships between the fruit and the rest of the plant are left a bit vague as it's unclear what the form at the top of the fruit is, how it attaches to it, and how said form attaches to the rest of the plant because the only connection is a single line, but single lines do not communicate any sense of form or tridimensionality, they don't help you understand how your object exists fully in tridimensional space.

Make sure that you're always carefully thinking through each form that you draw, and that you always put in the effort to break down your reference into it's primitive, tridimensional forms, in order to ensure that you'll draw a structure that's completely solid and specific.

Final Thoughts

In general a submission that can be strengthened at a couple points by thinking about your forms more carefully and making sure to apply the instructions more thoroughly. I believe you are ready for the challenges present in Lesson 4 and as such I'll be marking this submission as complete. Good luck in the next lesson.

Next Steps:

Make sure to add these exercises to your list of warm ups in order to keep practicing these skills.

Move on to Lesson 4.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
3:52 PM, Sunday June 11th 2023

Thank you so much for such thorough feedback, I definitely agree with your critique. I will keep practicing these exercises to improve further.

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