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11:49 PM, Saturday April 13th 2024

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


Starting with your arrows your lines are looking fairly confident and smooth, which helps communicate a nice sense of fluidity in your arrows as they move through the world. You're keeping foreshortening in mind while constructing your arrows which allows you to make really good use of perspective and 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 also good that you're making use of added line weight on top of the overlaps in order to reinforce their depth.

In general you're doing well, so keep tackling this exercise during your warm ups in order to take your understanding of arrows and 3D space further, experiment with the different ways arrows can twist and bend and move across space, try different rates of foreshortening and experiment with the negative space between overlaps, all of these will help you challenge yourself and develop your skills further.


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.

It's good to see that you're also experimenting with some more complex types of leaf structures, and doing so by following the instructions, which allows you to create a much tighter and more solid looking structure that still feels flexible and energetic.

Your addition of edge detail is generally looking good, as you don't usually attempt to capture more than one piece of edge detail at a time, but remember keep the line thickness between your phases of construction roughly consistent so as to not encourage yourself to redraw more than your strictly need to, remember that edge detail must also be draw confidently, with a single mark for each piece of edge detail, you must also prioritize constructing it additively as much as possible instead of cutting back into your forms.


Moving on to your branches they are coming along really decently made as you're generally following the instructions for the exercise, but they can still be improved. While it's good to see that you're drawing your edges in segments you're not always extending said segment completely up to the halfway point between ellipses, which partially removes the healthy overlaps we seek to achieve in these structures.

This is in part caused by the fact that there are too many ellipses in close proximity to one another in your branches, which leaves you less space to extend your marks, it also makes it harder for you to fully engage your arm when drawing. As a general rule of thumb, treat ellipses as indicators for when the form shifts noticeably and so the degrees of your ellipses should also shift noticeably, that way you don't end up with too many ellipses that communicate the same information to the viewer.

You must also remember how branches should be approached and that you must extend your marks past the second ellipse and fully up to the halfway point to the third ellipse, afterwards you'll start a new segment, making sure to place your pen at the second ellipse and repeat this pattern until your entire branch is complete.

For your 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, but there are still several places where you did not draw through them, so don't forget to keep an eye out for this.

When it comes to your application of the ellipse degree shift to your branches it's good to see that you're aware of it, but as I've mentioned above some of your degrees are too consistent and hardly change which is a mistake that flattens your structures, in this case I just recommend paying closer attention to the degree shift and to keep your ellipses further apart.

Plant Construction Section

And lastly let's take a look at your plant constructions, which are coming along quite nicely made. You're generally 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 not only trying to capture what these structures look like, but you also focus on how they work, how they exist fully in tridimensional space by drawing through your forms and thinking about the way each piece of your construction exists in relation to one another.

This is all very good and it's helping you develop a strong sense of spatial reasoning, there are only a couple of small things that if kept in mind will help you take your work to the next level.

Your attempts at the demos are coming along really nicely made but I think it's important to mention one small thing, because we're drawing on a flat piece of paper, we have a lot of freedom to make whatever marks we choose - it just so happens that the majority of those marks will contradict the illusion you're trying to create and remind the viewer that they're just looking at a series of lines on a flat piece of paper. In order to avoid this and stick only to the marks that reinforce the illusion we're creating, we can force ourselves to adhere to certain rules as we build up our constructions.

  • For example - once you've put a form down on the page, do not attempt to alter its silhouette. Its silhouette is just a shape on the page which represents the form we're drawing, but its connection to that form is entirely based on its current shape. If you change that shape, you won't alter the form it represents - you'll just break the connection, leaving yourself with a flat shape. We can see this most easily in this example of what happens when we cut back into the silhouette of a form.

While this is something that you generally respect there is one instance in this bunny cactus construction where you cut back into the silhouette of your forms, although this isn't your fault as this mistake is also present in the demo itself, but it's something to look out for since due to the nature of the ever updating lesson material some techniques or approaches may become outdated.

You can find here more information that talks about how to make use of organic forms to construct plants that aren't simple branches with leaf structures attached to them, and you can see here how you can construct on top of your preexisting structures with new organic forms.

First things first remember that we must draw our marks with confidence, remember that part of the reason why we draw with ink is to instill in us a respect for each and every mark we make, so that every stroke we put down is carefully thought through and planned, executed to the best of our ability, if we start to draw over our marks this respect for every mark we make will be lost and we are more likely to be careless with our marks, as such only draw your lines once, not several times.

You must only draw over a mark if you're making use of additional lineweight, but it must be subtle, used only to clarify the overlaps between the forms that are being built up, as explained here.

When working on any construction make sure to maintain the relationships between your stages of construction tight and specific, don't leave gaps in between a leaf's flow line and it's outer edges, they must connect.

Final Thoughts

In general you are doing well, I believe that in these pages you have demonstrated that you do understand the way these construction methods and techniques should be used and why they're important for your work even if it can be improved upon, as such I'm going to be marking this submission as complete. Good luck in Lesson 4.

Next Steps:

Don't forget to add this exercise to your list of warm ups.

Move on to Lesson 4.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
7:11 PM, Wednesday April 17th 2024

I am sorry, I don't see any unnatural bends in those leaves. They are going into the page, away from the viewer. Similar to the ribbon exercise. Should every leaf be drawn as if they are flowing along a flat surface perpendicular to the viewer's eyes? If so then I missed that from the material.

Everything else I understand and can see.

Thank you for the critique!

12:32 AM, Monday April 22nd 2024

Hello RiggityRenekt, you can find here a more in depth explanation for why the different leaves you've drawn look flatter than they should.

While it is clear your intention is to draw them as if they were moving away from the viewer that is not what the constructions actually communicate.

Think of leaf structures as you would a piece of paper or arrow, in these cases your leaves look like they bend unnaturally because the bends are contained to their width, not their length. Take a piece of paper and bend it in your hands, you can bend it in several different ways, but if you try to bend a sheet of paper to look like the first image it will rip apart, that's because the length of a piece of paper will always be the same, it can bend and fold but it cannot compress or stretch, in order for the red sheet to be possible it would require one side of the piece of paper to be longer than the other, while a piece of rubber may be able to achieve this state paper doesn't possess these same characteristics and so only the green sheet comes across as bending naturally for a piece of paper or in this case, a leaf.

The same is true for the other leaf constructions, sometimes there are also size inconsistency problems, that is, the part of the leaf that should be further away from the viewer and thus look smaller actually looks bigger, this is most noticeable in the first leaf of the second page.

The second leaf, while not as noticeable as the others looks unnatural due to the contours, which are all evenly spaced with the same exact degrees in between them, which communicates that the tilt of the leaf would be consistent throughout and thus the leaf is not actually moving backwards in space. There's also no perspective in it, both ends of the leaf if you were to draw it on a piece of paper look the same size, as such it's important to remember the rules of perspective and apply it thoroughly, even a simple leaf still abides by the rules of perspective.

The last leaf, while still not very noticeable, still has no overlaps in it.

I hope that this has been useful.

1:03 AM, Monday April 22nd 2024

I hope that this has been useful.

Immensely! I really appreciate the time you've put into this. Thank you!

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