Lesson 3: Applying Construction to Plants

6:25 PM, Sunday September 24th 2023

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My apologies for taking so long to complete lessons. I don't have a lot of free time, and I have taken your suggestion to draw stuff that isn't drawabox lessons as much if not more than I do drawabox lessons.

I had to do my constructed plants in a sketchbook rather than on computer paper as during the time I drew them, I was on the move constantly. I used a fineliner and brush pen as required, the only deviation was doing them in the sketchbook. In the future, I will try to find a better spot to draw so I can use computer paper.

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11:13 PM, Monday October 2nd 2023

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


Starting with your arrows your linework is looking smooth and confident which helps sell the illusion that arrows are very flexible and fluid objects moving freely through space. I can see that you're making an effort to explore the depth of the page, but many of your arrows don't have enough foreshortening applied to them which causes them to look pretty contained to the depth of the page. Make sure to experiment with more drastic rates of foreshortening and more noticeable differences between each arrow segment.

You are generally moving in the right direction with your application of hatching, just don't forget that all marks you make must follow the principles of mark-making and ghosting introduced in the previous lessons, so make sure your hatching lines have a clear start and end point, running from one end of your arrow's width to the next, without floating in the middle of your arrow or ending arbitrarily.

Still speaking of your hatching, you often add it to the incorrect side of the arrow's bend, which makes it seem like the bigger part of the arrow is moving away from us - the viewer - and that the smaller part is much closer, which contradicts the illusion of depth we wish to achieve in this exercise.

  • Perspective works in the following manner: things that are further away from the viewer look smaller, and as they get closer to the viewer they seem much bigger. The way this affects an object of consistent size and width that stretches across space is that certain segments of that object will look bigger and others smaller, either gradually or dramatically depending on the perspective of the scene, as such the bigger part of the arrow will always be the one that's closest to the viewer so the segment that's behind it should be the one that you apply the hatching to, in order to signify that it's behind the bigger segment and thus, further away.

As a finishing touch to your arrows, don't forget to make use of extra lineweight on top of the overlaps to reinforce their depth.


Moving on to your leaves the fluidity present in your arrows is translating decently into these new structures, although you often run into unnatural folds in your leaf structures which somewhat flatten your constructions, be sure to plan out your structure carefully with the ghosting method, remember that leaf structures work in the same way a piece of paper does, they're flexible, not stretchy, if you try to bend it a certain way it will simply rip apart.

You're not making use of edge detail in your pages, and this is a mistake as edge detail have greatly helped you further communicate the form of your structures and how they move through space, but by not adding it they're left very basic, so make sure to add edge detail whenever possible, and remember that only the last step of leaf construction - texture - is optional.


Moving on to your branches it seems you haven't completely followed the instructions for this exercise, more specifically in how your edges are to be laid out, while it's good that you're drawing your edges in segments, you're not starting your new segment at the ellipse point, instead you're starting it where your last line ended. This effectively removes the overlaps between lines that we wish to achieve in this exercise.

So make sure to revisit the instructions for the exercise, remember that you must start a segment at the first ellipse point, extending it past the second ellipse and fully to the halfway point between the third and second ellipses, with a new segment repeating this pattern from the 2nd ellipse, in order to ensure a smooth, seamless transition between overlaps.

For your ellipses you often do not draw through them at least twice, which is a mistake, don't forget that you must draw through all of the ellipses you make in this course. Make sure to also limit the amount of ellipses in your branches, there are too many, which don't allow you enough of a length of runway between ellipses to allow you to use your shoulder when making your marks.

And lastly, something you should keep in mind is that many of your ellipses degrees barely change when they should due to how the ellipse degree shift works, as shown here. Remember that as a cylindrical form shifts towards or away from the viewer, the degree of the ellipses within that structure will also shift.

Plant Construction Section

And lastly let's take a look at your plant constructions, which can certainly be improved, as while you're putting in the effort to make use of the construction methods and techniques introduced in the lesson - which is great as you're starting to develop your spatial reasoning skills - but you're still coming across a couple of important issues which affect the quality of your work and stop you from getting the most out of these lessons, because you're not sticking to the instructions and construction concepts introduced in the material as closely as you should.

So here are some of the problems present in your work and how to address them.

One of the issues that severely impacts the quality of your work without you even realizing it is the fact that you're pre-planning how many constructions you wish to fit on a given page before committing to any of them. There are generally two things we must allow ourselves when tackling these exercises in order to get the most out of them. They are time and space, in this case, you're not allowing yourself enough space when approaching these exercises because you're preplanning how many drawings you wish to fit on a given page, which artificially limits your ability to apply the proper construction methods introduced in the lesson.

So draw bigger, make sure that your first construction is as big as it needs to be, only afterwards should you gauge whether there is enough space on the page to add another construction, if not, it's completely okay to have a single drawing in your page.

Another issue which holds your work back from it's full potential is that you're not always drawing through your forms such as the leaf structures in here and in here.

Drawabox is a course designed to help you develop your sense of spatial reasoning, and one of the ways this is achieved is by making use of a couple of different tools and by abiding by a certain set of rules, by drawing through all of your forms you ensure that you're not only trying to draw what you see, but you're forcing your brain to fully work through the spatial reasoning challenges and truly understand how your structure exists in 3d space. So always construct your forms entirely and draw through your forms.

In this page you're tackling some incredibly complex structures. This is not necessarily a mistake, but it's important to remember that Drawabox is a course that focuses on improving your skills, as such the most important part of the homework is the action of deconstructing your reference, trying to understand how it exists in 3d space and then constructing it yourself. Due to the nature of this process, it means that sometimes you'll encounter certain structures which cannot be effectively tackled with the construction methods and techniques introduced in the lesson material, such as trees or incredibly leafy plant structures. In this case, it's best to stick with simpler structures so that you can actually make use of the methods and techniques introduced in the lesson to their full extent, rather than try something complex for complexity's sake, but be unable to actually work on the core fundamentals the course seeks to teach.

There are a couple of moments where you construct certain structures without making use of the construction methods introduced in the lesson, such as drawing branch structures as single lines, instead of making use of the branch construction method, or drawing leaf structures as their silhouettes, thus stiffering them, rather than constructing them with the leaf construction method.

One example of this can be found in your foxgloves where you end up drawing the representation of these foxgloves, attempting to capture their silhouette, which leaves the structure flat, stiff and awkward. Despite this structure's more peculiar shape, it is still very leaf-like in it's nature. There are two ways you can generally approach it - either by drawing different sections of this structure with the leaf construction method, and afterwards connecting the different leaves together in order to build the complex shape, which is a valid and less time consuming approach, but that leaves a lot of room for mistakes or for the different phases of your construction to be less tight and specific than they could be.

The other way you can approach these types of structures is by using a slightly tapered cylinder in order to construct the main body of the flower, then afterwards make use of a boundary which will establish how far out your petals structures will extent. Going forward, make use of the leaf construction method, constructing the petal structures on top of the cylinder in order to capture the flow of the different sections of the leaf structure, and lastly connect them together, making use of edge detail in order to finish the complex structure. I actually put together a quick demonstration of how this would look like in the context of a Daffodil flower for a different student once, but I believe you will find it helpful.

Final Thoughts

In general you demonstrate that you're starting to understand the way the concepts introduced in this lesson work, as well as how to apply them, but you're facing a couple of issues which hold you back from your full potential, as such I'll be asking you for some revisions. Please reply once you've revisited the relevant lesson material with:

1 page, half of leaves, half of branches.

4 plant construction pages.

Next Steps:

1 page, half of leaves, half of branches.

4 plant construction pages.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
12:43 AM, Tuesday October 3rd 2023

I have some stuff going on rn in my life, I will begin on this in maybe a week or two. Thank you for the critique.

12:10 AM, Monday October 30th 2023

I am sorry this took so long to complete, work is busy and partner was sick.


1:33 PM, Monday October 30th 2023

Hello Purplebunz, thank you for getting back to me with your revisions. I'm sorry to hear you've had a rough time, I hope things are getting better for you.

Your leaf structures are generally looking better and flow more naturally, but you're not making use of edge detail in your pages, edge detail would have greatly helped you further communicate the form of your structures and how they move through space, but by not adding it they're left very simple, so make sure to add edge detail whenever possible, and remember that only the last step of leaf construction - texture - is optional.

For your branches unfortunately it seems you have not applied my feedback as thoroughly as you should have, as you're still facing the same mistakes and not constructing your branches as outlined in the instructions for the exercise. You're also not drawing through your ellipses twice which is another mistake.

For your plant constructions while it's good to see that they're turning out better as you focus more on simple structures in order to apply the methods and techniques more easily, the same can be said, as you're not constructing your branches with the correct methodology, and you often deviate from the instructions for drawing leaf structures as well, by trying to capture the complexity of some of the structures right away, and capturing the edges with marks that aren't simply curves, which stiffens and flattens the form.

You're also still pre-planning the amount of constructions in your page before committing to any of them. As such I believe you'll benefit more from revisiting these exercises again before moving on to the next lesson, please revisit the relevant lesson material and then reply with:

1 page, half of leaves, half of branches.

2 plant construction pages, 1 plant per page.

Next Steps:

1 page, half of leaves, half of branches.

2 plant construction pages, 1 plant per page.

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
3:04 AM, Monday November 6th 2023
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