View Full Submission View Parent Comment
0 users agree
9:49 AM, Wednesday August 23rd 2023

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


Starting with your arrows your linework is fairly confident and smooth which helps sell the feeling of fluidity that arrows have as they move through the world.

Your hatching is neat and tidy and placed at the correct side of the arrow's bends which helps solidify the way your arrows turn in space. As a finishing touch, don't forget to make use of added lineweight on op of the overlaps to reinforce their depth.

The way you can continue to improve next time you attempt this exercise is to start getting out of your comfort zone more, while your arrows clearly look tridimensional, they have similar rates of foreshortening and look a bit similar, push the size difference between your arrow segments further, make it more drastic and noticeable, and consider that since arrows are very flexible objects they can move freely across the world in all sorts of manners, so push yourself and explore the different possibilities of bends, twists and overlaps in order to challenge yourself and develop your sense of spatial reasoning further.


Onto your leaves they have a nice sense of fluidity and energy applied to them, you're not only capturing how these structures exist statically within the world, but also how they move through it from moment to moment.

Just be careful of unnatural bends as they show up in your work in here and here and greatly flatten your work, don't be afraid of letting your edges overlap, leaves are flexible, but not stretchy, they must maintain their size consistent as they move through space.

This structure is looser than it could be, due to the flow lines for the individual "arms" of the complex structure not reaching the boundary laid out by the previous phase of construction (the one where you established the simple overall footprint for the structure). The bigger shape establishes a decision being made - this is how far out the general structure will extend - and so the flow lines for the later leaf structures should abide by that.

Your addition of edge detail is looking good, you're generally putting it down with the same line thickness as the rest of your construction, and not trying to capture more than one piece of element of detail at a time, which allows you to maintain higher control over your marks.

Just don't forget that edge detail should be added additively to your work, instead of subtractively, avoid cutting back into the forms you've already drawn as much as possible, as that can cause us to focus too much on the 2d shapes on the page, instead of the 3d edges they represent.


Moving on to your branches it seems you haven't completely followed the instructions for this exercise to the letter, more specifically in how your edges are to be laid out, while it's good that you're extending your marks up to the halfway point between ellipses, you're not starting a new segment back at the previous ellipse point and superimposing your new lines on top of the previous one, which effectively removes the healthy overlaps between marks we want to achieve.

So make sure to revisit the instructions foe 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 and so on until your branch is complete. This helps us maintain control of our lines and allows for a healthier overlap between them, which helps to achieve a smoother, more seamless transition between marks.

Onto your ellipses it's good that you're putting in the effort to always draw through them twice. When it comes to the ellipse degree shift the degrees of your ellipses barely change across the length of the branch structures when they should 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 are coming along nicely, you're generally drawing your different phases of construction all in the same line thickness which is good, and you're making use of the techniques and methods introduced in the lesson which help you create more tridimensional looking structures, you're certainly demonstrating a strong, developing sense of spatial reasoning in these pages, and showing that you understand the concepts this lesson seeks to teach, but it's important that you make sure to acquaintance yourself with the instructions for how to draw branches as you're committing the same mistakes in your plant constructions.

Overall, there's not a lot to say about your plant constructions as you're doing a good job with them, but here are some things you should pay attention to next time you tackle these exercises, so you can keep improving your skills.

Keep the relationships between your phases of construction tight and specific, as such don't leave gaps in between your leaf's outer edges and your flow line, they must connect seamlessly.

Your Venus Fly Trap is really well constructed, as it demonstrates that you're not only trying to draw what you see, but considering the different levels of forms that make up the structure you're drawing and the ways you can tackle it in order to solve the tridimensional puzzle present in your reference, and communicate to your viewer how this object exists in 3d space.

But do not forget that when approaching the "teeth" of the Venus Fly Trap as edge detail, to still abide by edge detail rules, as you sometimes zigzag your edge detail which is a mistake that goes against the third principle of mark making from Lesson 1. You also leave your teeth open ended in here which disrupts some of the solidity of your forms, make sure that you're always enclosing them.

For your Calla Lilly you're committing a small, but still very important mistake in your flower, which is the fact that you drew the flower with a cylinder but then still tried to add edge detail to it, because a cylinder is not a flat form in the same way a leaf structure is, we cannot make use of the same technique. Because we're drawing on a flat piece of paper, we have a lot of freedom to make whatever marks we choose - it just so happens that the majority of those marks will contradict the illusion you're trying to create and remind the viewer that they're just looking at a series of lines on a flat piece of paper. In order to avoid this and stick only to the marks that reinforce the illusion we're creating, we can force ourselves to adhere to certain rules as we build up our constructions. Rules that respect the solidity of our construction.

  • For example - once you've put a form down on the page, do not attempt to alter its silhouette. Its silhouette is just a shape on the page which represents the form we're drawing, but its connection to that form is entirely based on its current shape. If you change that shape, you won't alter the form it represents - you'll just break the connection, leaving yourself with a flat shape. We can see this most easily in this example of what happens when we cut back into the silhouette of a form.

Instead we can approach these kinds of more odd shaped flowers in a way that respects both their forms, as well as their energy. You can find an example of this in here, a demonstration I put together for a different student where a narcissus, a similarly shaped flower, is constructed. I believe you'll find it helpful.

Final Thoughts

In general your work is really well done, for the most part you're following the instructions to the exercises as well as applying them to your work in order to construction some pretty tridimensional looking structures. I believe you are ready for the construction challenges present in following lesson, as such I'll be marking this submission as complete. Good luck in Lesson 4.

Next Steps:

Don't forget to add these exercises to your list of warm ups.

Move on to Lesson 4.

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
9:27 PM, Wednesday August 23rd 2023

Thank you for the critique! I have a dumb question regarding the pool of warm ups though. I know that I add the leaves and branches exercises to the pool, but does drawing a plant from reference(s) also count as a warm up exercise?

6:13 PM, Thursday August 24th 2023

So this is one of those areas where we keep things a little vague so the expectations we place on our students aren't excessive, while also leaving the door open for the student to venture into that territory of their own volition.

Basically, every single drawing we do throughout this course is technically an exercise - including the constructional drawings, which are less about drawing a particular thing, and more about the 3D spatial puzzle we're forced to solve in the process. When it comes to the warmups, we definitely want students doing regular rotations of the exercises they encountered throughout Lessons 1 and 2, the challenges, as well as the exercises we encounter here for the leaves and branches.

In terms of the actual constructional drawing exercises that involve actually constructing something based on one or more reference images, we certainly are open to students including that kind of thing into their regular workflow, but because the warmups are generally framed as two or three exercises chosen at random to do for 10-15 minutes, there's definitely a time aspect to it. It is of course fine for students to allocate additional time if the particular task demands it, but we also encourage students to look at spreading an exercise across multiple sittings, or in the case of the rotated boxes, doing just one quadrant instead of all four.

Warmups serve two purposes - they're to help us loosen up and get in the right frame of mind to embark on the next step in the course itself, and they're there to help us continue refining and developing our skills. The 10-15 minute aspect leans towards the former priority, and makes it more difficult to also include the constructional drawing exercises as part of that.

So instead, I leave it vague. Students certainly can continue exploring the kinds of constructions they've tackled in previous lessons, but doing so as part of the 10-15 minute warmups probably isn't the best spot to do it. Rather, you may want to set aside a session here and there to do a constructional drawing of a random type - but ultimately how you go about it is up to you.

12:53 AM, Friday August 25th 2023

I see, thanks for the reply

The recommendation below is an advertisement. Most of the links here are part of Amazon's affiliate program (unless otherwise stated), which helps support this website. It's also more than that - it's a hand-picked recommendation of something I've used myself. If you're interested, here is a full list.
The Science of Deciding What You Should Draw

The Science of Deciding What You Should Draw

Right from when students hit the 50% rule early on in Lesson 0, they ask the same question - "What am I supposed to draw?"

It's not magic. We're made to think that when someone just whips off interesting things to draw, that they're gifted in a way that we are not. The problem isn't that we don't have ideas - it's that the ideas we have are so vague, they feel like nothing at all. In this course, we're going to look at how we can explore, pursue, and develop those fuzzy notions into something more concrete.

This website uses cookies. You can read more about what we do with them, read our privacy policy.