Lesson 3: Applying Construction to Plants

3:54 PM, Thursday October 22nd 2020

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Looking forward to your critique! ;)

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7:09 PM, Thursday October 22nd 2020

Starting with your arrows, these are certainly flowing quite nicely through space. As your arrows get farther away from the viewer though, don't be afraid to let the zigzagging sections of ribbon overlap one another as shown here, as you apply more and more foreshortening to that negative space.

Moving onto your leaves, you generally do a pretty good job of capturing that same sense of confidence and fluidity here, capturing not only how the leaves sit in space, but also how they move through the space they occupy. I'm glad to see that you tackled both more complex edge detail and some more complex structures, though I do have a couple notes on those points:

  • I noticed that you did have a tendency to zigzag your edge detail back and forth across the previous phase of construction instead of adhering very closely to it. Remember that every phase builds upon the one before it, and as shown here we don't want to just redraw the whole edge at every step. We only draw the parts that change.

  • Similarly to the point above, in this more complex leaf you both cut into the previous phase of construction and extended out from it. Well, that's actually not true - you drew on top of it and only loosely kept the previous phase in mind as a sort of general plan. Following it like the scaffolding of a building, and adhering to it directly is important, as shown here, as this helps our drawings feel solid and believable. Every phase of construction is about solving a specific problem or answering a specific question - once such a question has been answered, we don't want to go answering it again and again in subsequent phases. We simply adhere to the structure that is already in place.

Moving on, your work with the branches exercise is mostly coming along quite well. I noticed though in a number oif places that you didn't extend your segments fully halfway to the next ellipse, resulting in a more limited overlap between the segments. As shown here, that overlap is important because it allows us to transition from one segment to the next smoothly and seamlessly. Be sure to take more care in following the instructions for each exercise as carefully as you can.

Continuing onto your plant constructions, as a whole you're doing a pretty good job in the use of simple forms to create more complex objects that still read as being solid and three dimensional. While I see some instances of the same zigzagging issues in your leaves that I mentioned earlier, otherwise you handle the principles of construction quite well. I do have a few minor points to mention however, for you to keep in mind:

  • When drawing a flower pot/container or anything that is part of something you're drawing, even though it's not the focus of what you're studying it should still be drawn in its entirety. In this example for instance, a simple cylinder is not quite enough to capture the thickness of the pot's rim - constructing a secondary ellipse within the top one to capture that thickness, and even another a bit further down to establish the level of the soil would have helped a great deal.

  • Related to the point above, it helps considerably to draw any cylindrical form around a central minor axis line. This will make it easier to align your ellipses to one another - especially when adding several.

  • You're playing with ample use of filled shapes in your drawings, which is good, but I do want to remind you that those filled shapes should be reserved only for shadows cast by forms - be they larger constructed forms, or implied textural forms. I noticed several situations where you added shadow shapes with nothing to cast them, where you were either using them more to capture form shading (which as mentioned in lesson 2 should be left out of this course), or perhaps as a misuse of line weight. While cast shadows are free to be as big as they need to, they do need to be cast upon another surface. Line weight on the other hand can cling around the silhouette of a given form, but must be kept very subtle and light, just enough for the subconscious to pick up on a minor relative increase in thickness, rather than a very blatant one. Sometimes students end up in this situation when they try to cover up a mistake (draw the wrong line, then draw the right line, then fill in the space between it) - that's definitely a bad idea though, because it draws an inordinate amount of attention to the problematic area. In general, mistakes should be left alone.

So! I'll go ahead and mark this lesson as complete, so be sure to remember what I've listed here for the next lesson.

Next Steps:

Feel free to move onto lesson 4.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
8:14 PM, Thursday October 22nd 2020

Hey, thanks a lot for you thorough critique.

So much helpful information!

I have one question though: You said, that I should either cut in or out of my construction. Does this apply to the whole construction or just one specific line/trajectory/place? And I know that I, if possible, should try to always work additively.

About these cast shadows, which they were supposed to be, now that you mentioned it: Some of them look so wired to me and make absolutely no sense. I think I was getting distracted by the light conditions in my reference, rather than thinking about how the light falls on the forms I build up.

I will work on that and try to keep all that you said in mind for the lessons and warmups to come.

3:08 PM, Friday October 23rd 2020

The point about either cutting in or building on applies in general - basically don't zigzag across that earlier edge. Think of it as though, in the case of leaves/petals, like you have a physical flat material in front of you. Whatever you do is going to either attach to the existing structure, or you're going to cut back into it - but the previous phase of construction is still going to have considerable influence on the result. It's not a suggestion you can choose to follow where it suits you - it's a solid part of the construction that you're working with.

3:30 PM, Friday October 23rd 2020

Ah alright, so I theoretically can do both but not combine it in a wired mix by zigzagging across my previous construction.


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