Lesson 1: Lines, Ellipses and Boxes

7:29 PM, Tuesday February 23rd 2021

I especially had trouble with the rotated boxes, also hope it's OK that I just posted the ellipses in planes for that and the ghosted planes since I was supposed to reuse the latter to create the former (I saw other submissions do that).

1 users agree
8:12 PM, Tuesday February 23rd 2021

In regards to your question, that’s perfectly fine, yeah. Hi, and welcome to drawabox. I’ll be looking through your lesson 1 submission today.

Starting off, your superimposed lines are unfortunately a little wobbly. Remember that our lines need to be confident, first and foremost. In pursuit of that, it’s perfectly fine for them to be inaccurate (that is to say, they may miss the guideline, even by a lot.) If the issue isn’t a focus in accuracy, it can be a number of things. One, you may be lingering over the starting point too long, in an effort to line it up perfectly. Instead, be quick, so as to maintain the built-up rhythm. Two, you could be drawing too slowly. To find your ideal drawing speed, try out a bunch of them, each faster than the previous one, and go for the one that gives you the most accurate, thought still smooth, lines. Try to fill the page a little less, too. It could be because you’ve got such little room to fail that you’re stiffening up. The ghosted lines/planes look a little better in comparison, though they’re still lacking in that respect. Be sure to ghost until comfortable, then commit. Any earlier, and your insecurities will be reflected in your linework. Also, I notice that you’re not plotting start/end points for the non-diagonal center lines of the planes. Please do.

The table of ellipses exercise suffers from a similar issue. Here, too, it’s far more important for our marks to be smooth, and rounded, than accurate. To put it another way, a smooth/rounded ellipse is correct, regardless of how inaccurate, whereas a wobbly one is incorrect, regardless of how accurate. The ellipses in planes are mostly rounded, so you’ve not fallen into that all-too-common trap of making them pointy, but they are, still, a little wobbly. The reason we discourage this is because a wobbly mark will never be able to convey an illusion of solidity. A confident mark can, however inaccurate it may be. The funnels are more of the same, though, thankfully, save for this issue, all else is looking good: they’re properly cut in half by their respective axes, and snug.

The plotted perspective exercise looks clean.

The rough perspective exercise suffers from the same confidence issues that have plagued this submission thus far, and has a lot of automatic reinforcing present, too. You’ll remember from the ghosted lines section that each line is to be drawn once, and only once, regardless of how it turns out. You’re resisting the pull of the vanishing point, a little, too. Students will sometimes try to draw a box as they think it should like, with 3 sets of 4 parallel lines, but in 1-point perspective, one of those sets needs to converge. Rather than your preconceptions, see if you can trust your points. And, by the way, since I don’t see too many of them on the page, it’s perfectly fine to adjust a point that you find to be incorrect (check it by ghosting its line all the way to the horizon), as many times as is necessary.

Solid attempt at the rotated boxes exercise. You’ve seen it through to the end, to the best of your ability. To pass, that’s all that’s needed. For next time, however, consider spending a little longer on each line, so as to not get overwhelmed, as you have the further you’ve moved from the center (especially diagonally.) Nothing complicated is happening here, really. Each line has a number of neighboring lines that tell it how to behave. If you find yourself not knowing how it should, don’t guess; just take a step back, and look at the big picture. As you progress through the box challenge, you’ll gain a deeper level of understanding of why boxes behave the way they do, but for now, it’s perfectly fine to observe their neighbors, and draw conclusions based on that.

Finally, the organic perspective exercise looks good. The increase in size is a little too subtle, but the foreshortening has been kept shallow. As a result, your boxes flow well.

There’s some fundamental misunderstandings here, that we’ll need to address, but you’ll be free to move on soon enough.

Next Steps:

For now, I’d like to see 1 page of the superimposed lines exercise, 1 page of the ghosted planes exercise, 1 page of the table of ellipses exercise, and 1 page of the ellipses in planes exercise. Remember to experiment with a bunch of speeds to figure out what’s best suited to you, and keep our priorities in mind, always.

12:53 AM, Thursday February 25th 2021

Here are my reattempts: https://imgur.com/gallery/qthiIDW

I tried loosening up on my ellipses to get them more property rounded (at the expense of generous overlapping), but I'm not sure it worked so well; I'm gonna prioritize these in warmups going forward. I feel like my overlapping lines are a little less wavy, though it's still absolutely there unfortunately.

3:39 PM, Thursday February 25th 2021

Solid improvement, in all respects. You’ll need to continue pushing yourself in this direction (particularly: avoid altering the trajectory of your superimposed lines, and ghost a bunch before you commit to an ellipse, so it doesn’t start off stiff), but, as I’ve seen an attempt to follow the instructions here, I’ll move you on to the box challenge, and let you work on this in your own time. Best of luck!

Next Steps:

250 box challenge

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
ComicAd Network is an advertising platform built for comics and other creative projects to affordably get the word out about what they're making. We use them for our webcomic, and while they don't pay much, we wanted to put one of their ad slots here to help support other creatives.
The recommendation below is an advertisement. Most of the links here are part of Amazon's affiliate program (unless otherwise stated), which helps support this website. It's also more than that - it's a hand-picked recommendation of something I've used myself. If you're interested, here is a full list.

How to Draw by Scott Robertson

When it comes to technical drawing, there's no one better than Scott Robertson. I regularly use this book as a reference when eyeballing my perspective just won't cut it anymore. Need to figure out exactly how to rotate an object in 3D space? How to project a shape in perspective? Look no further.