Lesson 1: Lines, Ellipses and Boxes

5:25 PM, Wednesday October 13th 2021

Draw a box, Lesson 1 - Album on Imgur

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Post with 37 views. Draw a box, Lesson 1

This is my lesson 1 homework that has been critiqued since 2019, but back then I wasn't able to post them here like the site now allows, so I might aswell do that while I can, plus I'd like the badge for it teehee

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9:34 AM, Monday November 1st 2021

Hello, Allipses:

Welcome to drawabox! Let's see how you can improve.


At first, they were wobbly but you gained confidence through the lesson. I would say that you are not confident enough though. There are a lot of lines that form an arc or curve at the middle of the trajectory. This happens when you are trying to correct the line when you are executing the stroke. That's a bad habit and you should fix that before continuing further.

Superimposed lines were good, starting on one point and showing fraying just on the other end. Don't worry too much about it but keep in mind that this exercise train a skill that will be handy in future lessons (line weight) so warm up with this exercise from time to time.

Ghosted lines were a bit wobbly, arching sometimes and with too many scratches. This is again the misconception about the exercise goal. Your priority should be the smoothness and straightness of each line, being able to join both dots is a secondary goal to improve accuracy but it's expected that you fail on the last one as you are building accuracy on the earlier lessons.

Try to draw from the shoulder to avoid arching your lines. Just rise your elbow from the table and separate from the table a bit if possible. Some recommend practicing with the arm completely extended but I just recommend practicing the motion. Stand up and put your palm against a wall, separate a bit and explore some of the motions you already did for the exercises. Note in the back of your mind how it feels, which muscles you use, how those muscles change as you bend your arm towards the wall, how your elbow feels when you leave it floating mid-air... After that, you should get a clue about how your body works and maybe help you to improve your fundamentals.


You marked all points for each line that you drew that's a good sign. Keep doing that for the rest of the exercise, even when you arrive at future lessons. Marking is very important, both for the student and the reviewer because is the only way we can differentiate your planning phase and your execution.

Your lines were better when building planes so I imagine that maybe you are rushing a bit while drawing lines depending on the exercise or what figure you draw. Speed will come with time, rushing things come at a price and you will regret it.

Try to ghost each line approximately 8 times and you must execute the stroke following the flow of each ghosting motion. While ghosting you are trying to fool yourself, you shouldn't know exactly when you are doing the real stroke to avoid doing corrections. It's the same concept people use to learn how to ride a bike, you have a person that helps you to not fall while you practice the motion (ghosting) and that person leaves you alone randomly without notice to let you practice while you are doing the practice motion. The key here is that you should not stop between the ghosting of the line and the stroke. It should feel like if someone presses your pen down while you are starting another ghosting motion.


Seeing some of your ellipses I think you can improve them a lot by playing around with the pace and rhythm you use to draw them. Also, you avoid half of the exercise by doing just one loop. In this exercise you combine practicing the motion of the ellipse by doing it 2-3 times per stroke, you are doing it just once. This slows you down because you don't get as much practice as you could per ellipse.

Talking on the pace thing, speed is a tool we use to mimic confidence when we lack practice. You have to find your sweet spot between being fast to gain smoothness and being slow to having enough muscle memory to draw an ellipse and avoid deforming it.


You didn't draw through boxes on the organic boxes exercise. Even if it is optional, it helps you show how you did wrong and how to improve on the mistakes. Avoiding it result in repeating the same mistakes over and over.

In rough perspective, you didn't follow some of the instructions or you rushed over it. That caused some of the back faces don't align correctly with their neighbors. Looking at the central box, you can see that its back face has vertical lines tilted to the right. That makes the box twisted and makes the exercise unnecessarily harder for you. That mistake was even present when you put the marks on the paper and that moment was when you should have fixed it, checking that it wasn't aligned well and doing another mark with the correct spot. I know it sounds messy to have multiple marks for each vertex, but these exercises are just practice and as with every training method it is messy.

To construct better the rotated boxes exercise, you can work by sectors, first the top right corner, then the top left, and so on. This lets you room for mistakes as you can experience how errors on the vertical and horizontal main lines can affect the inner corners. Also, make the back faces being near each other, you did well by putting the front faces close but the back ones were too separated or diverging from each other.


You should work on the confidence of your lines. Ghosting as much as needed (around 8 times, maybe a bit more if you need it) and transitioning to the real stroke as if someone push your hand down while ghosting.

You have to work on your ellipses and find the rhythm that works for you. The sweet spot between fast and slow. Also drawing clockwise or anti-clockwise is a thing you should try.

The boxes you build should have each line as perfect as if you were drawing it with the sole purpose of making a line as smooth as possible. And the marks you make should reflect your knowledge of the perspective rules. Adjusting marks is better than adjusting entire lines, don't be afraid to use multiple marks for one single vertex if you misplace one.

I'm going to request a revision so you can practice the parts that you have avoided:

1 page of table of ellipses. Play around with your pacing and speed both while drawing and ghosting. Don't forget to draw through each ellipse 2-3 times (there should be at least 2 complete ellipses per attempt).

1 page of ghosted planes with ellipses. Focus on the smoothness and straight lines, joining both marks is secondary.

1 page of rotated boxes. Take your time to mark each face of the box and make them a bit bigger. Take your time, reread the instructions and the review so you can improve on your mistakes.

Next Steps:

1 page of table of ellipses. Play around with your pacing and speed both while drawing and ghosting. Don't forget to draw through each ellipse 2-3 times (there should be at least 2 complete ellipses per attempt).

1 page of ghosted planes with ellipses. Focus on the smoothness and straight lines, joining both marks is secondary.

1 page of rotated boxes. Take your time to mark each face of the box and make them a bit bigger. Take your time, reread the instructions and the review so you can improve on your mistakes.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
1:57 PM, Monday November 1st 2021
2:23 PM, Monday November 1st 2021

I have checked it and it's great progress! The results are smoother, especially on the ellipses is where I can see the awesome improvement. Although is not perfect and you need more practice, I think you got the point.

Your rotated boxes are better now. They still have errors to point out like the corners being too visible. They should be almost covered because of the rotation they should have to give the illusion of a 3D sphere. Also, there are boxes whose back faces are not wrapping the imaginary ball that is in the inside of the structure.

You still have to work on your lines because they feel not as smooth and straight as they should. Maybe increasing the speed could help but you have time to find out in the 250 box challenge.

I think you are ready now to move on. I think you have not mastered the fundamentals enough but the 250 boxes are a long challenge to finish and you will have time to practice. I recommend you to make only a couple pages of the challenge each day to let your brain sink the experience slowly. The majority of the progress happens while we sleep, take that in mind.

Also, warm up with the exercise you had trouble with. Practice the smoothness of your lines and remember to prioritize line quality over accuracy.

I wish you luck in your journey. Don't let that boxes defeat you ;) !

Next Steps:

Continue to the 250 box challenge

This community member feels the lesson should be marked as complete, and 2 others agree. The student has earned their completion badge for this lesson and should feel confident in moving onto the next lesson.
6:51 PM, Monday November 1st 2021

Thank you, but I think I have to mention I JUST finished my 250 Box Challenge + Lesson 2, this was just me reposting the inital L1 work I've done since it was initally critiqued in the Discord back in 2019, not here since this system wasn't in there then. Regardless, I thank you for looking at where I'm at and where I need to go since then. I'll keep this in mind during my warmups and try to do better!

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5:42 PM, Wednesday October 13th 2021

Do you still want critique? that was nearly 3 years ago :D I would be interested in how good you are now compared to back then.

8:34 PM, Wednesday October 13th 2021

That would be great, thank you so much! I'm very glad you've taken interest in the difference, it means alot to me!

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