100 Treasure Chest Challenge

2:57 PM, Monday October 25th 2021

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Hey Boss!

It's been a while huh? Hope you're doing well.

This isn't exactly what you asked for and I won't blame you if you return to sender with a capital Nope. But the deed is done. Hopefully you'll feel generous enough to sprinkle some wisdom in my direction.

Thank you for your time, as always.

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6:47 PM, Wednesday October 27th 2021

So unfortunately for me, your work throughout this challenge is (as many people have probably told you already), fantastic. This puts me in a tricky position, because I can certainly go on for paragraphs lauding things like the solidity of your constructions and your incredible grasp of space (as shown through how you've nailed the rotation of those open lids). Fortunately, however, I found for main points to talk about. Some of them are a bit small, nitpicky, and even a little subjective, while others are issues that should help you as you move forwards with your own work. So, let's get to it.

First off, more of a design opinion thing - as I've marked out here, most of this chest is pretty fancy and ornate. It does however have the ends of all the planks visible, which results in a stylistic conflict. It's one thing to say that the once-ornate box has been falling apart after years, but then we'd at least see traces of something attempting to sure up those rough edges, even if it had rusted away, or pieces of it had fallen apart. So what I would do in this case is to put bars similar to those along the vertical edges, across the horizontal ones, applying that existing design choice more consistently across the board.

As I was explaining the last point, another one caught my eye - for the spikes themselves, they're pretty much coming out of nowhere, with no clear sense of how they're being mounted. While simply having spikes sticking right out isn't unfeasible (you could have a screw or nail going through the board and into the bottom of the spike), but often showing the way things are secured to one another in a more obvious manner helps achieve a stronger overall design. As shown here, I would probably add a disc underneath with rivets securing it to the board.

This leads nicely into my next point - it's important to always think about the actual manufacturing process behind the things you design. A lot of these chests feature semi-cylindrical lids that appear to be made up of a single contiguous board of wood, despite its deformation. Is that achievable? Certainly - through the arduous process of boiling wood to soften it and applying pressure in the right places over a long period of time, you can have it take a shape like that (or at least I think you can, I'm no fancy carpenter man). It is however important to consider what that additional difficulty would entail, and whether it is really something you want to include in your design. It should be intentional.

Alternatively, as shown here, you might simply break it up into boards, gradually building up that curved surface piece by piece, requiring far less dramatic warping of wood - though some may still be required to achieve a smooth surface, it's far more achievable for the craftsman building this.

I also included some quick notes on how to approach a wood grain pattern. Here we're really not getting into the whole texture thing from the Drawabox course itself, but rather just a quick and dirty way I convey wood grain, focusing on the "knots" first, then gradually piece together individual marks that taper towards their ends, building layers around the knots and echoing their curvature. The further out from the knots you get, the straighter they can become.

Moving onto the next one, another fairly minor point. You've got this box with a chain wrapping tightly around it - you've done a great job with the top section where it wraps around the lid, but it seems to go off at some arbitrary angle, which adds some looseness and kind of undermines the previous sense of squeezing on the chest. I do get that you leaned towards getting it to fall in that groove, but the chain itself seems to be trying to achieve a sense of making its own path. Having it go straight down, and even dig more deeply into the metal and wood, will help accentuate that.

So the last thing I wanted to call out actually comes up in that drawing you did right at the end - trying to use Comfy as a therapist was your greatest mistake! But also, something we didn't really talk too much about in Drawabox (since we're mainly looking at individual objects rather than whole scenes), is how we actually make the objects fit together in a cohesive manner.

In this drawing, you have a lot of different objects, and they all have their own sets of vanishing points. While this is great - you're not locking yourself into a specific grid, and are free to rotate your objects in a more natural fashion - there is one rule we must adhere to: if you want a line to run parallel to the ground plane (which is the case for any object that's going to be sitting on that ground plane, at least for the lines that make up such an object's base), the vanishing point for that line must sit on the horizon line.

So, that's just something to keep in mind when eyeballing the perspective for your scenes.

Anyway, that about covers it! You've clearly shown an excellent sense of space, construction, and design throughout these chests, and these are definitely among some of the best I've seen. I'll go ahead and mark this challenge as complete, so keep up the great work!

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
1:23 PM, Saturday October 30th 2021

Thank you so much for your insight! Plenty to think about moving forward. Really appreciate your time and patience.

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