100 Treasure Chest Challenge

7:24 PM, Saturday November 26th 2022

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It took me 4 months to finish this, i hope that's not too long. I mixed digital and traditional.

Here's my submissions for the 100 treasure chest challenge. There's a treasure chest (or 2), which have "boxy" lid, i dont know how construct it using the method given in the video, so i kinda just mirror the bottom part of that chest,i don't know if that's correct though.

Also, i hope you don't mind me asking something that's out of the topic for this challenge,

Do you know any other courses, that teach color/value/shading/lighting or paintings, that have same or similar approach the way Drawabox does ?

I can't explain it quite well, but your courses have a very interesting way of making certain part of my brain click,, and the way it doesn't happen instantly, but quite a while after i finish the lessons. I never experienced something like this before, not only in drawing, but on my general educations too.

To be honest, the way that i have to keep moving forward, even though i'm not 100% sure i understand the material given make me a little bit suspicious when i first started DAB, since i was taught that it's best to make sure you understand something completely before moving on to the next subject.

So that got me curious, how did you came up with this method of teaching? did you study neuroscience ? Is drawabox the "vygotsky concept of zone of proximal development" of drawing ? I wonder if i can apply this sort of teaching method to another field as well.

i'm sorry if i'm rambling too much, i'm not good with words.

Anyway thank you so much for your time, i'm looking forward to the critiques.

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8:41 PM, Monday November 28th 2022

In terms of tackling the chests with boxy lids, the process is the same, except there's no need to complete that last step of actually rounding out the lid. As you've likely noticed in drawing all of these chests, we start with the lid being boxy, and then we build a half cylinder within that box.

As a whole, your work throughout this challenge is looking really solid. I'm seeing a lot of variety in the designs, and you've generally tackled each and every one with a clear eye for form, thinking not only about decorating your structures but actually thinking about how each new form you'd introduce exists in 3D space. We can see this especially in how every little band of metal you add as structural reinforcement comes with both an outward facing plane as well as its side planes, helping to establish each piece as having its own thickness and depth. This is something many students miss, and it can cause their designs to appear less interesting, and more flat (although we can see examples of this too in just a few places - like in 82 where the wrapping around from one plane to another on the side edges were definitely drawn more quickly and sloppily).

As you've handled these aspects of construction and spatial reasoning quite well, I'm going to focus my time here on discussing matters relating specifically to design. Design is at its core an act of problem solving. Students may be prone to thinking purely about how the thing they draw can be made to look cool or interesting, but it is in asking ourselves questions about the thing we're constructing that we're able to identify problems to solve - and it's in the solutions we provide to those problems that our design comes to life.

So for example, here I've noted down a couple quick questions. The first would be looking at the underlying structure of the lid - is it made up of a single shaped, warped piece of wood (which while doable would be very labour intensive and somewhat more technologically advanced at least in terms of woodworking skill), or is it made up of a series of straight/flat wooden slats which are much easier to produce? The second question would be in regards to the iron bands - are they attached using some kind of invisible adhesive like glue (another one of those more advanced building techniques) or are they secured using nails or rivets?

These questions inherently ask us to consider the people making the chest. Are they working with simple means, or with more complex tools at their disposal? Who are they making it for - is it someone who could afford more time consuming and expensive approaches, or are they just focusing on getting something quick and dirty?

We can also ask ourselves questions relating to how old this object might be, and how heavily used. Is it freshly made, or has it been around for decades or even centuries? Metal gets scratched, and wood itself rots if not cared for. These are things that can help convey more about the object - although it all depends on whether or not conveying that information is relevant to the purpose of the design. It may be, or it may not really be necessary.

This is something I get into more in this video - it's technically an advertisement for a course I sell through Proko, but as far as the whole "asking questions" thing, that video pretty much covers it all. The rest of the course delves into other elements of design, and explores the application of these concepts a bit further, but is not required for what I've explained here.

Once you start asking those questions - who made this, who's it for, how's it been used, etc. you start finding that the answers to those questions beget yet more questions, allowing us to open up our designs in a variety of directions, and you can really end up in a situation where you're bogged down with so many questions - some relevant, some not - and have to pick and choose what it is you wish your design to directly address. But having more fodder for your designs rather than less isn't so much of a problem, as long as you always remember that the decision on what is addressed in the design falls squarely in your lap.

As to your question about other resources/courses that approach things the way I do, I don't really have any recommendations on that front. I myself have fairly limited experience with the resources out there on the internet. I spent my first decade of drawing (from ages 12-22 or so) not really indulging in many structured courses, mainly just looking at tutorials that didn't really help much. My progress was slow as a result, having been somewhat brute-forced.

When I did decide to take my art more seriously, I did so first by setting myself to a challenge of doing at least one 3-hour photo study each day for 31 days (the results of which you'll find here) to help me take what I knew about digital painting already (the results of that haphazard, slow, brute-force form of experience) and exploring how it could apply to a variety of subject matter. This resulted in many really pretty studies, and many others that came out looking all wrong due to the fundamental skills they demanded of me.

From there, I indulged in more structured environment sketching/drawing (similarly applying my understanding of perspective to blocking out scenes and exploring their set dressing - something that leaned heavily on the kind of design knowledge I've explained here). This eventually transitioned into tackling larger illustration projects where I would allow a single illustration to stretch over many weeks, allowing me to experiment with pushing the limits on my patience, and also helped me explore approaches that involved more prep work, studies of the things involved in the illustration I wanted to produce, that sort of thing. You can see these in the middle of this album of my own progress over the years.

This was all done while working full-time as I got my affairs in order to move to southern california. That's where the bulk of my more effective learning was done, but being that these were in-person courses, it's not always been easy to recommend online resources, since they all inherently differ from what I've experienced.

There are some things that I do recommend however, based on their similarity to what I studied and how I was taught:

  • There's Dynamic Sketching - the course that contributed most as the foundation of what I teach on Drawabox. Keep in mind that I've taken Drawabox in a very different direction however, focusing more on what I felt my classmates would have benefitted from knowing prior to taking it. Dynamic Sketching itself does help develop spatial reasoning to an extent, but that is not its focus - rather, it's something it relies heavily upon already being present, taking it farther to help the student learn how to approach making their drawings more stylistically interesting, and, well... cool. It gets into elements of shape language and rendering, jumping back and forth between 2D and 3D to create interesting imagery and communicate information, whereas Drawabox focuses strictly on the 3D as you well know. I point students to a couple places where this course can be taken online here at the beginning of Lesson 0. I believe CGMA also offers it, and while I'm unsure if Concept Design Academy is still offering online courses (they were during the pandemic but I'm unsure of whether that's still ongoing), it's taught there as well.

  • One thing I was desperately searching for, but for a long time was unable to find, was an online course that taught figure drawing similarly to how I learned it from Kevin Chen. I was kind of surprised to find exactly what I was looking for while I was going through the courses New Masters Academy offers - something I was doing to evaluate whether or not we should explore a partnership with NMA. There I found Art Anatomy for Beginners with Steve Huston, which tackles it very similarly to how Kevin Chen explained it, and pairs quite well with what we learn here in Drawabox.

  • The only other thing that I really confidently recommend to students out of my own personal experience is James Gurney's Color & Light - it's a book, but a very valuable one that has a lot to offer in terms of how light works and how to think of it in the context of illustration.

While I don't have much to offer to what you were specifically asking about, I will say that the 31 days of photo studies helped me a great deal in getting a sense for how to approach painting a wider variety of scenes. It was of course building on the many years of sloppy training up until that point, so I didn't do it as a beginner - but photo studies are an extremely valuable exercise.

As to how I came up with the method of teaching - well, I certainly haven't studied teaching, or how learning works. I've just spent a lot of time reflecting upon exactly what it is I do when I'm drawing, trying to break down the decisions I make and why, which are otherwise left up to instinct or reflex. It's something I've developed over years of writing thousands of critiques, explaining the same concepts over and over, and it's something that I'm still working to reintegrate into the lesson material.

In all fairness though, teaching isn't really something that interests me that much. I kind of fell into this, and ever since have been trying to figure out a way to let Drawabox stand more on its own, so I can go back to doing the things I am actually passionate about (game development, mostly). That means that it's unlikely that I'll explore teaching other concepts.

Anyway - I hope all this helped in some capacity. I'll happily mark this challenge as complete - I think that means you're done with everything the course has to offer! Congratulations.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
4:31 AM, Wednesday November 30th 2022

Thank you so much for the detailed information and feedbacks !

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