Lesson 3: Applying Construction to Plants

10:05 PM, Saturday March 2nd 2024

Chapter 3 Applying Construction to Plants - Album on Imgur

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8:33 PM, Tuesday March 5th 2024

Hello Kendal53, 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 foreshorting 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.

Moving on to your addition of hatching it is well executed as it follows the general principles of mark-making, but keep in mind that hatching as a tool pushes things back in space, it flattens them out. This is good when we need to show the face of a box, or when we need to differentiate between overlaps or push a certain section of construction back in space, but if you add it to the entire structure it will flatten out the whole thing, and that's not what we want. Instead hatching for arrows should be added at bends as a means of clarifying how your object sits in space.

For lineweight a similar point needs to be considered, while it is great that you're making use of it in your work keep in mind that lineweight must be subtle, with a single mark superimposed on top of the preexisting one in order to clarify an overlap, not added to the entirety of the section.

In general you're doing well, so keep the points I've mentioned in mind and continue to tackle this exercise during your warm ups in order 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 fluidity present in your arrows is translating quite nicely into your leaves, your linework is looking smooth and confident which helps communicate their sense of energy, but something to note is the majority of your leaf structures don't fold or bend in any way, this is something to keep an eye on whenever you tackle this exercise again, as leaves are organic structures that are affected by all sorts of forces, from the wind to gravity to their own weight pulling them down, as such you'll find that in plant structures leaves will actually be oriented in a variety of different ways, and you'll improve much more by thinking about the way these objects look when they move through the world from moment to moment, instead of just trying to capture how they sit statically in space.

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, and you generally construct your edge detail additively. You're also keeping the line thickness between your phases of construction roughly consistent, all of which is very good and helps you create a tighter, more solid construction that still feels fluid and energetic.


Moving on to your branches it's good to see that you're attempting to follow the instructions for the exercise, but I believe you're drawing way too small and that hurts your ability to lay out your edges the way they should be drawn. While it's good to see that you're drawing your edges in segments you're not always extending your marks fully up to the halfway point between ellipses, which partially removes the overlaps between marks that we hope to achieve in this exercise.

So draw bigger until you can execute your marks from your shoulder and remember how branches should be approached, by having your segment start at the first ellipse point, extending it 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.

There are a lot of visible tails present in these branch structures, while this is a very common mistake we can attempt to mitigate it by limiting the amount of ellipses in our branches, by spacing them further apart we'll allow for a bigger length of runway between ellipses, and ensure a smoother, more seamless transition between marks.

For your ellipses you are not drawing through each and every one of them at least two times, which is a mistake that leaves your ellipses way too loose. When it comes to your application of the ellipse degree shift the degrees in your ellipses are too consistent and hardly change which is a mistake that flattens your structures. Remember that as a form shifts in relation to the viewer, so will the degree of the ellipses within that structure also shift.

Plant Construction Section

First things first, an issue that hurts your work without you even realizing is the fact that you're pre-planning the amount of constructions you want to fit on a given page before you've even committed to any of them. As it stands you have chosen some very complex structures and you always start your constructions by drawing them off to the side, since you usually intend to add at least two constructions on each page, but this essentially cuts the space available to you from a full A4 page to a A5 page.

In this course there are two things we must allow ourselves as we go through these exercises, they are time and space. By artificially limiting the amount of space you allow yourself you have limited your ability to make full use of the construction methods and techniques as they're introduced. Instead, by drawing as big as you need to first, without worrying about fitting any extra constructions onto the page you'll allow yourself not only more room to work through the spatial reasoning challenges that arise when tackling these exercises, but also give you enough space to fully engage your whole arm.

This issue also leads into the next problem, which is that at points you deviate from the instructions for the exercise. Always keep in mind that the construction methods and techniques introduced in this course must always be applied to your work, as they're tools which will help you construct much tighter and solid looking structures, examples where you deviate from the construction methods can be found here where you skip construction steps by not constructing these stems and branches, you skip construction steps and even draw them as single lines at points, foregoing the method entirely.

Technically, another example can be found in this bonsai tree construction, where you haven't constructed each individual leaf structure with the leaf construction method - however this is not really a mistake because due to the nature of this course and how it teaches certain skills through exercises which are essentially drills, it's fundamental that we're always making use of the construction techniques and methods we learn to our constructions.

But certain structures are just way too complicated and it's not feasible to draw them with the methods introduced, it is simply impossible to fully draw each individual leaf structure or branch structure in a plant such as this one while still following the instructions for this exercise, as such avoid picking trees and similar structures as a subject to study in this lesson.

Make sure that you're always drawing through your forms and constructing them fully, I've noticed that in several of your constructions you don't draw through some of your forms, such as leaves or branch like structures, this limits your ability to work through these tridimensional puzzles and limits how much you're getting out of the exercise as not drawing throug your forms means you're relying on your observation skills and trying to copy what these structures look like, instead of engaging your sense of spatial reasoning and truly trying to understand how the object you're drawing works, where each form comes from and how each forms relates to one another in space, so don't forget to always construct everything to it's full extent.

  • When approaching cylindrical structures such as plant pots make sure to start with a minor axis in order to keep your several ellipses aligned to each other more easily. Going further don't forget to construct the outer rim that's present in most types of plant pots. It's good to see that you're making use of a ground plane/defining where the soil starts, this helps ground your structure and makes the relationships between your different forms much clearer and well defined.

And lastly let's take a look at your addition of texture to these structures, which needs some work as it currently does not follow the principles of texture as it's taught in Drawabox, you make use of hatching both with straight lines and dots, as well as add large areas of filled in black to your work, which go against the idea of drawing texture implicitly and can obscure the underlying construction, making your work harder to evaluate.

So let's revisit how texture in Drawabox is approached, by looking back on this page we can refresh our memory on texture through the lens of Drawabox and see that it is not used to make our work aesthetic or good looking, instead every textural form we draw is based on what's physically present in our reference.

Our focus should be on understanding how each individual form sits in 3D space and how that form then creates a shadow that is cast onto that same surface. Only after analyzing all of this information present in our reference will we be able to translate it to our construction. This means that the shape of our shadow is important as it's the shape that defines the relationships between the form casting it and the surface it's being cast on, which is why we need to consider carefully how to design a shadow shape that feels dynamic and communicates this tridimensional information.

This approach is of course much harder than basing our understanding of texture on other methods that may seem more intuitive or basing it on the idea that texture = making our work look good, but in the long run this method of applying texture is the one that enforces the ideals of spatial reasoning taught in this course. By following these ideals, you'll find yourself asking how to convey texture in the most efficient way possible, with less lines and ink, focusing on the implicit mark-making techniques introduced in Lesson 2. Make sure to go over these reminders in order to solidify your understanding of texture further.

Final Thoughts

In general you're starting to move in the right direction but you're still struggling on a couple of points and applying these methods consistently to your work, as such I believe you would benefit from tackling these exercises again before moving on to more complex tridimensional challenges.

Please reply with:

1 page, half of leaves, half of branches.

2 plant constructions.

Next Steps:

Please reply with:

1 page, half of leaves, half of branches.

2 plant constructions.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
9:54 PM, Sunday March 17th 2024


Hi ThatOneMushroomGuy

Here is the homework for review.


6:53 PM, Monday March 18th 2024

Hello Kendal53, thank you for getting back to me with your revisions.

While your leaf structures in here are much more fluid and have a greater range of ways that they move through 3d space ( which is great ) make sure not to neglect edge detail, it's still an important step of construction that greatly helps you further communicate how your structures sit and move through space.

For your branches you are actually deviating from the instructions for this exercise more than your original page, because you're not following the instructions for how to draw the edges as shown in the exercise instructions, while it's good to see that you're drawing your edges in segments you only take them up to the next ellipse point, you don't extend them fully to the halfway point between ellipses and you still leave ellipses too closely together, which removes the healthy overlaps between marks we seek to achieve in this exercise.

So don't forget how branches should be approached, by having your segment start at the first ellipse point, extending it 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.

Your plant constructions are generally looking more solid and they follow the instructions for the exercises much more closely.

Ease up on your lineweight, it's thick, with several passes going over the same marks and jump from one form's silhouette to another, which smooths everything out too much. Almost as if you pulled a sock over a vase, it softens the distinctions between the forms and flattens the structures out somewhat.

Instead lineweight must be subtle, used only to clarify the overlaps between the forms that are being built up, as explained here.

In general I believe you have shown noticeable improvement and that you've shown that you're ready to tackle the construction challenges present in the following lesson, as such I'm going to be marking this submission as complete.

Next Steps:

Don't forget to add these exercises to your list of warm ups.

Move on to Lesson 4.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
3:34 AM, Tuesday March 19th 2024

Thanks man : )

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