9:39 PM, Wednesday August 3rd 2022
Starting with your arrows, you're doing a great job of executing these with a good deal of confidence, which helps immensely in pushing the sense of fluidity with which they move through the world. This carries over nicely onto your leaves, where you're capturing not only how they sit statically in 3D space, but also how they move through the space they occupy. In addition to this, you're building up your edge detail well, adding each little bit as a separate stroke onto the existing structure, rising off and returning to the existing edge.
One little bit of advice I wanted to offer is in regards to the attempt at adding veins to your leaves here. Ultimately how much detail we go into with our texture depends on what we're trying to convey to the viewer - it isn't always strictly necessary to go into full detail (in fact it isn't necessary in most cases), but there are a few points I wanted to call out that might help with this going forward:
Firstly, try to avoid working in really cramped spaces especially when you intend to delve into more detail. It limits both your brain's capacity for spatial reasoning within that space, while also making it harder to engage your whole arm while drawing. It'll get easier as you get more experience, but right now it will be detrimental to your efforts.
Secondly, remember that the marks we put down for our texture are cast shadow shapes - it does make a notable difference to draw these as actual shapes (outlining them first, then filling them in) as opposed to simply putting marks down one at a time to try and build up our shadows. It helps us capture more nuance and taper those shadows more appropriately. Of course, having more room to work with in the first place helps in this regard aas well.
All that said, I can see that you've tried to focus your shadows on the areas where those vein structures branch out, which is correct, so good on you for that. The fact that you are working with cast shadows does make a big difference.
Continuing onto your branches, very nice work! You're generally extending your edge segments roughly halfway to the next ellipse, which allows for a healthy overlap between the edges and allows you to achieve a smoother, more seamless transition between them. You're also considering the shift in your ellipses' degrees as the branch moves through space, although I do think this is something that can be pushed farther, allowing the degree of your ellipses to get even wider as we move farther away from the viewer.
And finally, you've held to the trend with your plant constructions as well. I can see a lot of attention being paid to the instructions, and the general processes of construction - working from simple to complex - and avoiding skipping steps as that complexity is built up in the vast majority of cases.
I just have a few quick points to call out:
On your potato plant demo drawing (which admittedly you didn't follow through all the way - it's easy to miss potentially important information if you don't pursue your demos to completion), I noticed a tendency to make one side of your leaves thicker. There are a couple of possibilities of what you're doing here - either you're trying to add line weight, in which case that line weight should, as explained here, be limited to the localized areas where overlaps occur between forms, to clarify those overlaps. Alternatively, this could be an attempt at having those forms cast shadows - unfortunately cast shadows do not cling to the silhouette of a given form in the manner that line weight does. It has to actually be projected onto another surface - in this case, the other leaves, or the ground itself. The farther the surface, the more offset the shadow shape itself would be from the form casting it.
On this page, I noticed that some of your leaves - like this one which has a bit of extra complexity on its left side - were drawn such that the complexity was established in the same step as the initial silhouette. Your silhouette should be kept as simple as possible, only adding complexity in a later stage, built off that simple structure. It's easy to neglect this when it seems like so little (and I've seen you do it correctly elsewhere through the majority of your work, as I noted above) but it is important to always keep this in mind.
And with that, I'll go ahead and mark this lesson as complete.
Feel free to move onto lesson 4.
The Art of Blizzard Entertainment
While I have a massive library of non-instructional art books I've collected over the years, there's only a handful that are actually important to me. This is one of them - so much so that I jammed my copy into my overstuffed backpack when flying back from my parents' house just so I could have it at my apartment. My back's been sore for a week.
The reason I hold this book in such high esteem is because of how it puts the relatively new field of game art into perspective, showing how concept art really just started off as crude sketches intended to communicate ideas to storytellers, designers and 3D modelers. How all of this focus on beautiful illustrations is really secondary to the core of a concept artist's job. A real eye-opener.