Lesson 3: Applying Construction to Plants

12:46 PM, Sunday July 3rd 2022

Drawabox Lesson 3 (Second Try) - Album on Imgur

Direct Link: https://i.imgur.com/hrzLny2.jpg

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For context, I submitted Lesson 3 a couple months ago, and Uncomfortable told me to repeat the lesson entirely for various reasons and told me to avoid doing detail and texture altogether, so that’s what I did in this lesson. Thank you for grading my assignment in advance!

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8:51 PM, Monday July 4th 2022

There is definitely improvement here overall, although there are things we'll continue to work on and address - though you won't need to worry about another full redo.

Starting with your arrows, this is actually an area where I'd say your last submission's was somewhat better, although the difference isn't that significant. The important point is that your original submission's page of arrows was a little less hesitant and uncertain, with your marks coming out really confidently, creating nice, flowing structures. Your latest attempt is still pretty decent, but I can see a bit more hesitation behind some of the marks, which makes them a little shaky or irregular at times.

Continuing onto your leaves, your work here is definitely vastly improved over before. Previously your approach was quite chaotic and lacked the kind of structure that comes from building on top of the previous stage, so that's definitely a big step in the right direction. I am however noticing that you are still prone to trying to add a bunch of edge detail in a single stroke (like here). This breaks this principle of markmaking from Lesson 1 and runs into the same kind of issues that make zigzagging edge detail something to avoid.

Lastly, this one definitely skips some steps, which you can read about here. You can also see a similar kind of leaf being constructed in this demonstration.

Continuing onto your branches, you've definitely improved on this front as well, although I do think you still run into issues at times in terms of ensuring that every edge segment extends fully halfway to the next, and that you get a healthy overlap between them. So for example, here your next segment started way too far down, instead of at the previous ellipse (resulting in a smaller overlap), and here your segments didn't extend beyond the individual ellipses. This is done better in other cylindrical structures however, so just be sure to follow the instructions here as closely as you can.

I have another two quick recommendations for this one:

  • Avoid just drawing all your branches as being super straight and rigid. Go more for ones like this, where they're actually bending and flowing.

  • On some of your branches you've got a shift in degree as we slide farther away from the viewer, though in others you don't. The tendency to draw very straight branches kind of messes with that impression as well, but I can see in cases like this that the degree of all the ellipses remains too consistent.

Moving onto your plant constructions, there are a number of things I want to call out, some of which I had addressed in my previous critique:

  • In my previous critique I talked about how it's important that we give each and every drawing as much room as it individually requires, and to avoid packing a ton of drawings onto a page just for the sake of having a bunch. I mentioned that: The best approach to use here is to ensure that the first drawing on a given page is given as much room as it requires. Only when that drawing is done should we assess whether there is enough room for another. If there is, we should certainly add it, and reassess once again. If there isn't, it's perfectly okay to have just one drawing on a given page as long as it is making full use of the space available to it. I think you applied this in some of your pages (although honestly I'm unsure because each of the photos are close crops - better to have the entire page be visible, from edge to edge), but on this page you got more caught up in packing the page.

  • It's important that even when you have a bunch of overlapping leaves, that you draw each and every form in its entirety, rather than having them get cut off by neighbouring structures. So for example, here each petal should have been drawn as a complete, self-enclosed structure, with a complete flow line. This helps us to better understand how they all sit together in 3D space, and how they relate to one another within that space, which is a major focus of this course. After all - an object does not cease to exist where it is blocked from view.

  • I'm also noticing that when you tackle something with a lot of separate elements (like a lot of separate petals) you become more likely to rush the linework for each individual petal, as we see here on this lotus. As explained here back in Lesson 1, it's common for students to decide how much time they're going to spend on a drawing or exercise ahead of time, and they try and fit everything into that timespan. Thus, if they have a lot of lines to draw, each one receives less time. This is of course wrong - you should be allowing the complexity of the thing you're tackling to dictate how long it's going to take, ultimately giving each form you construct, every shape you draw, and every mark you execute, as much time as it individually requires to be done to the best of your current ability. If this means you cannot finish a given construction in one sitting, that's fine - you can spread it across multiple sittings and days as needed.

  • Lastly, do not forget the principles of markmaking from Lesson 1, and the specific steps involved in the ghosting method. I can see some of your marks/forms being pieced together with a lot of separate, loosely related strokes, rather than singular, purposeful, planned marks. You're allowing yourself to forget about those techniques at times, and it severely undermines the solidity of some of your constructions - like this one.

I'm going to assign some revisions below.

Next Steps:

Please submit the following:

  • 1 page, half of leaves, half of branches

  • 3 pages of plant constructions

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
4:22 PM, Sunday July 10th 2022

Here are my revisions.


3:44 PM, Monday July 11th 2022

Your work here is definitely significantly better overall. Previously your drawings were very loose and lacked the kind of structure that passes solidity forward from one stage to the next (which is a critical aspect of construction). You have definitely improved in this regard, but there are two issues that I am still seeing that are present in your work:

  • You're still zigzagging your edge detail back and forth. We can see this quite prominently in the edge detail of this geranium, resulting in weaker relationships between the phases of construction. Not as weak as before, as your linework is less sketchy, but it's definitely still a concern. This was an issue that I have called out multiple times, so I can only imagine that there is some aspect of this that you are not certain of. In this case, you should absolutely be asking me questions to seek clarity on whatever it is that is unclear. If the issue is not a misunderstanding, then it is an issue in how you're using the feedback you receive.

  • Another issue I pointed out in my last critique was the tendency to skip steps when tackling more complex leaf structures - that is, those with the many different arms. In my previous critique, I called your attention to this leaf, where you skipped the step of defining each individual arm as its own complete leaf structure, as shown in this demonstration which I linked previously as well. You can also see this demonstrated in these notes. This time around, we see a similar issue in this leaf. I can see some extra lines along the left side where it seems like you may be trying to construct those arms as complete leaf forms, but on the right side you neglect to do this. Here I've drawn on top of the leaf to try and make it very clear what I mean.

The feedback is dense and there are often going to be lots of things to address - that means that you cannot merely read through it once and expect to remember everything you need to correct. You'll need to read through it multiple times as you work through your revisions. Take notes if you have to, but however you do it, it is something only you can do.

Ultimately while I should assign further revisions, I think I have pointed out these issues frequently enough for you to have several separate explanations on what needs to be addressed - though if anything is unclear, you should definitely ask. As you have the explanations you'll need to address this on your own, and you have generally shown plenty of improvement in other areas, I'm going to mark this lesson as complete.

That said, if you do run into further issues implementing the specific points I've raised without asking questions for clarification when they're needed, then we will need to revisit whether this course can continue to provide you the support you may require right now, as we do not have the resources to point out the same issues repeatedly.

Next Steps:

Move onto lesson 4.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
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A lot of my students use these. The last time I used them was when I was in high school, and at the time I felt that they dried out pretty quickly, though I may have simply been mishandling them. As with all pens, make sure you're capping them when they're not in use, and try not to apply too much pressure. You really only need to be touching the page, not mashing your pen into it.

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